ABC data is a recording of what is happening Before, During, and After the behavior. In a clinical setting, we are constantly taking ABC data on clients’ behaviors to determine the function of the behavior so we can appropriately determine the intervention strategy. The Antecedent is the events or actions that occur before a behavior, the behavior is the behavior the individual is engaging in as a result of the antecedent and the Consequence is the action or response that follows the behavior. In a home setting, it may be tricky to determine why your child is engaging in behavior and what steps you can do to improve and reduce the behavior.


Antecedent Function:

Mom tells Jill to pick up the toys


Jill starts crying


Mom lets Jill keep playing, jill stops crying



In this specific scenario, Mom reinforced Jill escaping by not following through with the instruction. The next time Mom asks Jill to clean, Jill will start crying to get out of cleaning up.

Next time Mom can prime Jill, (letting the individual know what comes next)

Example: “Showing Jill a visual timer and letting her know in 5 minutes it will be time to clean up”. “In 2 minutes, it will be time to clean up”

Taking ABC data can help parents identify the function and help prevent future behaviors. Parents can seek out free printable forms of ABC charts online or you can make the chart yourself.

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