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The ABC’s of Behavior

By Cheyanne Flournoy M.S., LABA, QASP-S

When first starting ABA therapy you may hear the term ‘ABC Data.’ But what really is ABC data and why is your child’s BCBA or RBT collecting this data?

Specifically, ABA data is a type of direct observation in which the observer collects data on the antecedent, the behavior, and the consequence all in temporal order (Cooper, et al., 2020). This type of observation allows the observer to better understand the potential behavior as well as functions of the behavior.

Now, let us break down what an antecedent, behavior, and consequence are. An antecedent is what occurs right before a behavior is exhibited. For example, you may ask your child to share a train which might result in them sharing with you. The antecedent in this scenario would be you asking your child to share with you. Then, the behavior would be that your child handed you the train or shared with you. The consequence would then be however you immediately reacted, such as by praising your child for praising you.

Ultimately, your child’s BCBA will use this information as well as other assessments to build a treatment plan that will work for your child and your family. If you have any other questions or would like to learn how to take ABC data, feel free to reach out to your child’s BCBA or program manager.


Cooper, J., Heron, T., Heward, W. (2020). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed). Pearson

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