Why Behavioral Definitions are Important

Yesterday I shared why behavioral definitions are important. Maybe I sold you. Maybe I didn’t. I need one more chance. Besides that fact that what you think is a horrible behavior on day 3 of school will seem like a cookie dough ice cream sandwich on day 86 of school – the big key is consistency among staff. What you are counting as 6 occurrence of a problem behavior needs to be the same as what your para is counting as 6 occurrences? But why? Read on dear friends.

Now what we are going to talk about over the next few weeks is how to identify problem behaviors and take baseline data. Baseline data is as important as fireworks on the 4th of July. Baseline data will not only show you what types of interventions to use (duh- hugely important) but it will also show you if your intervention is working. Because let’s face it – there is no point it wasting time on intervention if it isn’t working. So we want to know where we started.

When I walk into a classroom I’m consulting with and an excited teacher tells me, “Omigosh Johnny is doing so great, he now only is aggressive 3 times a day on average.” Great. I’m sorry to ruin your morning but that means nothing to me. If Johnny started the year with an average of 300 times per day – I’m impressed. But if he started off with an average of 5 times per day – not so much.

Have I sold you? So write on out! Behavioral definition time!


This post is part of Summer Series: Reducing Problem Behavior. Click here to see more in this series!

The Autism Helper - Summer Series



  1. Sasha, You absolutely have me hooked on all of your blog posts! After a challenging year of classroom behaviors from a class I “inherited” in March (classes were combined, and one closed), I am looking forward to all of your advice! 🙂

  2. So glad to hear it’s helpful! Enjoy the series 🙂


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