Adding Context to Behaviour Observations

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Context matters. A lot.

If you have a child with autism, you probably know this all too well. It's one thing to be "managing a behavioural event" in the familiar confines of your own home; it's quite another if you're, say, out grocery shopping or at a restaurant. (We've all been there.)

It turns out that detailed context information is also really useful to the BCBA overseeing your ABA program. The familiar A-B-C (Antecedent - Behaviour - Consequence) data is a useful model but all too often it doesn't tell the whole story. An observation frequency chart tells you whether a specific behaviour is on the rise or decline but often more information is needed to provide a timely course correction.

For example, let's say your team has just implemented a new extinction protocol for a stubborn behaviour that normally occurs when you're getting ready to go outside. If the behaviour frequency doesn't start to decline, your BCBA may assume that the protocol is not working. But hidden from view may be critical information, for example that the protocol is helpful for that context - getting ready to go out - but now it's showing up in different places. Well that changes things! If only context data was available to the BCBA at a glance ...
Context can already be added to behaviour observations in ABAKiS if you're adding observations from the Behaviour Plan view (it's an optional field). You can either enter this data freeform or select from the list of Learning Modules / STOs if the behaviour occurred while working on one of those during a session.

You may have noticed that we've recently updated the Hotlist feature as well to incorporate Context. If you tap on the hotlist while working within a Learning Module, any observations you enter there will automatically set the Context to the current Learning Module. This provides valuable data to the BCBA without any extra steps for you, so you can keep your attention where it needs to be.

Of course you can still go to the Session Data and change it later. In fact it's good practice regardless to always review your data for correctness at the end of the session, when you're entering your Session Notes.

We are constantly adding new features like this to make ABAKiS easier to use and to make your ABA program more effective and simpler to manage. Most of these features come directly from feedback we receive from ABAKiS users. So send us your feature ideas! You are, after all, who we're building this for.

78 thoughts on “Adding Context to Behaviour Observations

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    1. David

      Thanks so very much. We try our best to come up with informative and fun content. Stay tuned for our latest blog entries!

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    Hi Dave,
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    Luk Yabe
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  4. Austin

    Hello Team Abakis and Dave!

    I found your blog when it was shared to our Autism group. I have read a few of your entries and so far they are pretty funny and well written. Its nice to get life from the point of view of a dad that has lived through this journey and has seen his child grow. I look forward to seeing many many more of your entries. You have a fan in me! All your info is good to know!


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  7. Katherina

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your
    weblog. You have shown me that my family can survive and thrive with Autism. We love our ABA home program amd can finally see the positive changes in our son. Can’t wait for more posts.

  8. Emilia Taggert

    Hi Abakis!

    I have read several of your blog posts and am enjoying this “slice of life” from other ASD parents. I toured the whole website as well as have sent a request for a free demo. Looking forward to seeing if Abakis is right for us. You guys need more blog posts! I am engaged and want to hear more from you.
    Thanks for the Dinosaurs!

  9. broderie

    Very informative but I think you need to go deeper explaining more about the behavior Observations. Your website is very helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  10. Felipa Pike

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    I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account. Looking forward to more stories about your family and life with ASD kids!

    Your fan,

  11. Kenny Wiley

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  12. Chris Jersey

    An impressive site and some great blog entries! I have just forwarded this onto
    a co-worker who has been doing a little research on how to make ABA easier.
    Thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your web page.

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  13. Sally

    Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast and looks great! I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol!
    Keep up the good works moving towards better ABA understanding!


  14. Torri

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    Great blog. New to the world of Autism and have bee exploring various blogs while trying to figure this all out. I have you book marked and I will be back!

  16. Daniel Sandridge

    Hi David!

    Your blog is great! Having a child on the Asd Spectrum is never easy. But your humor is going to get us all through. Love the blog. i have shared the link to our dads group. can’t wait for more!

  17. Autism Warrior

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly
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  18. Ashli Knagg

    Hi there, I discovered your web site by way of Google while searching
    for a comparable matter, your site came up, it seems great.
    I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks. We need more information like this in Australia. Not enough honest talk about Autism.

  19. nike presto

    Great blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing about kids and Autism like yours these
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  20. Allan Medagffney Autsim Dad

    From one Dad to another, Great Blog! We need more honest talk about ABA. Thanks so explaining more about behaviors!

  21. Joeann Becker

    This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something which helped me sort though autism life.
    Thank you!

  22. Young, drunk and ASD

    This is seriously a well made website. I know you guys are promoting your product but if you are going to do a blog maybe you should also consider adding information content. Let us, the reader know more about ABA and Autism. I have children on the spectrum and would love to see a section of your site be set aside for information and articles. Just a thought.

    1. Erik Post author

      That’s a nice idea. I try to mix up the content a little on the blog but I’ll bring that suggestion to the team. If you’re on Twitter, we do share more general information there as well – @theRealABAKiS

  23. Little Aspie

    Ok, so you have talked about adding the Behaviors but what about everything else? I was hoping to find a continued line of posts. Here is hoping for more!
    Thanks for the post.

    1. Erik Post author

      Great question – what’s really funny is that people for years kept telling us “you guys need to start a blog” and our reaction was “OK, but we don’t know what to write about”. What I’ve learned is that we get a lot of our ideas from people who take the time to reply. So yes, you’ll definitely start seeing more. Thanks for commenting!

  24. Kelle Waddy

    Hi there everyone, it’s my first time paying a quick visit at this website, and this
    post is really fruitful in support of Autism. Keep up posting these

  25. Arlette

    I’d like to find out more? I’d love to find out some additional information about the Aba work you guys do.
    Thank you!


    Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is
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  27. Shona Brunelle

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and
    amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is that when I was using the free trial I had the hardest time creating the Modules. Could you do a blog about this?

  28. Bailey Delatorre

    Thanks for finally writing about >Adding Context to Behaviour ObservationsMy Abakis | My Abakis <Liked it!

  29. cach giam mo bung

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  30. Del Beebe

    Hey there! Love your twitter account! There is so much quick autism information on there daily. I follow it avidly. Thank you for this post. You need more posts on how to use other aspects of your program. I have tried it before and it was great. going to try it again. apparently it has changed and is better looking and easier to use. heard you can add pics now. For those of us in the uk that is a blessing.
    Rock on my Aussie Cousins!


  31. Jarod Riguez

    Wow, superb blogs so far. Great changes to the color and layout of Abakis. It has improved my used experiece for sure but I am having an issue with adding to my modules. If I want to add more games and activities after the initial module has been created where can I do that?

    1. Erik Post author

      Glad you like the new layout. Right now there are just the two levels for modules: the module itself, which provides the overall structure, and targets. Depending on how much information you need to track, it might work for you to add these new features as Targets for your existing module. But if you’re not sure or you’re still stuck, drop an email to and we’d be happy to walk through it with you.

  32. Wesley

    Hello there! Just had a demo last week with the wonderful Donna and she had me in stitches! The program looks great and i have no problem putting in my behaviors. The issue I am having is adding pictures. I have a feeling it is simple but am stumped. Donna did show me for sure, just drawing a blank. If anyone on here can shed some light that would be a stunner!

    1. Erik Post author

      Hi Wes, great question! Photos are part of individual Session Logs, so under the Orange section (calendar icon) open the individual session (click on the date) and then the Gallery tab. Yes we do plan to make this a little simpler. Hope that helps!

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  34. Lorene

    I am sure this post has touched all the internet viewers, its really really nice
    article on building up new part of the program. We need other posts for other parts of the program. Am liking the blog.

  35. Wendy

    Thank you! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this information.
    Looking forward to more blogs about autism and how you dealt with it.

  36. Bud (yes my name is bud) Vanatta

    Can’t wait to see more blog posts about other aspects of ABA. Had a great Demo today and am looking forward to trying Abakis.
    A fan!

  37. Gale D'Angelo

    Nice Blog/site. Enjoying reading about Autism. This post confuses me but i guess it is about your program. You should maybe clarify that it is about the program.

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  39. Juliana

    Thank you for any other informative site. The place else could I get such information on ABAKIS.
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