Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

May 07

Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

Data Collection

As many teachers know, keeping appropriate data on a skill is not as easy as it seems. On one hand, data needs to be collected in order to track a child's progress. On the other hand, data collection cannot be so overwhelming as to interfere with teaching a child. Below are some tips, based on data collections strategies used at the Lovaas Institute, as well as some examples of basic data collection forms. In future newsletters, we will continue to give examples of data collection procedures related to a specific area of development (e.g., independence, academics, peer interactions, behavior issues, etc.).

Basic Tips

  1. Data do not have to be collected on every behavior. Common reasons to take data include:
    1. find causes of current problems
    2. track progress of current problem that is being resolved
    3. track progress of specific skill where performance fluctuates or progress is gradual
  2. Consider how frequently data are collected (e.g., daily, weekly, during one time of the day). Data do not have to be collected continuously, but must be collected often enough so that a pattern can quickly be established to determine the cause of a problem or when an intervention needs modified.
  3. Data should clearly show progress the student has made or areas of difficulty. This is often best accomplished through the use of tables or graphs. Note that regular education teachers typically use a table (their grading book) to record a student's test and quiz scores all in one location.
  4. Set up data from the beginning so that it shows trends. While in the short term, it may be easier to record all the data for the day on one piece of paper, in the long term (i.e., for IEP meetings and to discuss progress) it is often easier to record data in separate sections, based on the skill that is being assessed.
  5. If necessary, keep the most accurate data on a note card that you can quickly take out of your pocket and then spend 10 minutes at the end of the day transferring the data to another format.

Specific Examples

Target List

Record the data an item is introduced and the date it is mastered. Spaces are also available to conduct a baseline measure before the program is started or a probe for generalization after the program has started.

Advantages: Each week/month, the form immediately shows what new items a child has learned.

Target BL Probe Date Introduced Date Mastered/ Generalized Acq Rate (Days) Notes
1 Identify penny 9/12 9/20
2 Penny vs. dime 9/21 10/25
3 Penny vs. dime vs. quarter 10/25
4 Penny, nickel, dime, quarter
Task Analysis Sheet

Record the child's response to each step of a routine. Record a "+" if the child responds correctly. Record a "P" if the child needs prompting. At the end of the routine, calculate the percentage correct.

Advantages: Quickly shows areas of difficulty and whether or not a task is becoming more independent. Tasks can be further broken apart or grouped together if certain areas remain prompted or independent.

Get off bus/walk in building P P P P P P
Walks into gym P P + P + P
Sits at table, colors P P P P P P
Walks to locker P P + P + +
Puts bag in locker, takes out books + + + + + +
Enters classroom + + + + + +
Puts books in desk P P P P P P
Colors until class begins + + + + + +
PERCENT INDEPENDENT 38% 38% 63% 38% 63% 50%
Probe Data (Review)

Record only the child's first response as correct (+) or incorrect/prompted (P).

Advantages: Allows for a quick check on any behavior or learned response that a child may not retain.

Phonics Sounds
Short a + + + + + + + +
b P + + + + P + +
c + + P + + + + +
d + + + + + + + +
Short e + + + + + + + +
f + + + + + + + +
g + + P P + P P P

Would you like more information on other issues that often arise at school? Let us know here

The names of all children in this newsletter have been changed in respect for family confidentiality.

From the Editor

Thanks to all of those who have written to us in the past few months. This newsletter has been a constant balancing act. On one hand, we want to provide a newsletter that's accessible enough to those with only a little understanding of behavioral treatment. On the other hand, we want the information to be clinically and professionally rigorous.

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Wake Up! Fall asleep and snore loudly on the child's lap. Then wake up suddenly for the school bell — "ding ding ding!"

Keep My Arms Down! Put one of your arms out and when the child pushes it down, make a cranking sound, and raise the opposite one up. When the child tries to hold both down, raise a foot.


Searching for Answers
Part 4 of a 4-part series

Because of Bronwyn's participation in behavioral treatment, her family has found many milestones to celebrate. Her mother states, "Of course the amount of talking she is doing is one milestone we've celebrated. We hang on every word she says."

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