Behavior is defined as the action of a person towards a certain stimulus. In order to measure an increase or a decrease of a certain kind of behavior it is necessary to view it as an action verb (play, push, yell, smile, scream) and not a thought verb (think, understand, dislikes). The difference between the two modes of description can be addressed with this example. For example, if the behavior trait that needs to be managed in a child is one of aggression (a thought verb), then it is quantifiable when translated into an action verb by describing the act of aggression down to the specifics (aggression described as screaming, hitting or pushing). When stating the act such as one in which the child throws a toy or punches a friend, the action can be measured and relative change in the behavior can be noted and assessed with precision, both by the therapist and parent. Just quoting a behavioral challenge such as one of aggression is not informative to the therapist when devising strategies to regulate it.
Parents can bear in mind the 5 W’s (why, what, when, with whom, where) when they are in need to describe their child’s behavior. The 5W’s can be used to specifically describe the quantifiable action that needs modification, and put to use when constructing an ABC behavior management chart.
To utilize the ABC chart for analysis of a behavioral action, it is best done by making one for each specific action verb/behavior. The chart must have 4 different categories placed sequentially as shown below – Time and action, Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence.
The first task is to write down the action verb for the behavior. Start by documenting the behavior that is high on the list of priorities on the behavior management list. Once the behavior action verb has been noted down, work backwards and find the antecedent i.e. the action that led to the behavior to begin with. Then by working forward document the consequence i.e. what culminated after the action.Thus, by recording the events on the chart the parents will have a bird’s eye view of the entire series of events starting from the details of what culminated before and after a given behavioral action. This will give parents an insight into why a particular behavior episode occurred and what they can do to prevent it from occurring in the future. This is described below with the help of an example, on the ABC chart –
|Time and date||Antecedent||Behavior action verb||Consequence|
|10am, 27th August||Child was forced to part with her toy||SCREAMING||The child’s attention was diverted|
|7pm, 27th August||Child was not allowed to eat chocolate||Child was scolded|
|9am, 29th August||Child was walking in the mall for many hours||Child was taken home|
|11am, 30th August||Child attended a party with new people||Child was left on her own to play with new playmates|
Please feel free to download and use the ABC chart template for your use.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this guide is for information purposes only. Please consult a qualified health practitioner for safe management.