Behavior is any range of action, mannerisms, or reactions to a stimulus or environment, essentially whatever a person does.
How do we determine what behavior is? We use "The dead man's test". If a dead man can do it, then it is NOT a behavior.
Lets give it a try! Can a dead man throw a ball? No! So throwing a ball is a behavior. Can a dead man be non-compliant? Yes! So non-compliance is not a behavior.
How can we measure behavior?
Counting and recording how often a specific behavior occurs within a specific time frame.
Example: Observing how many times a child stomps their foot while doing homework within 2 minutes.
If the child stomps their foot 9 times within a 2-minute observation, the frequency is 9 (number of times behavior occurred. But, the rate per minute is 4.5 or 4.5/minute. (number of times behavior occurred during the observation divided by total time) 9 / 2 = 4.5)
You may be asked to record frequency data during your Competency Assessment with your BCBA.
Recording how long a behavior lasts from the time the behavior starts to the time the behavior ends.
Example: Observing how long a child stays seated.
The timer is started when the child starts sitting in the chair. The child continues sitting for 45 seconds. The timer is stopped when the child stands up (stops the sitting behavior). The duration is 45 seconds.
You may be asked to record duration data during your Competency Assessment with your BCBA
Measuring the amount of time from when the SD is delivered to when the behavior begins.
Example: Observing the amount of time it takes a child to kick a ball after the RBT gives the instruction to "Kick the ball."
The timer is started when the RBT delivers the SD "Kick the ball." and the timer is stops 5 seconds later when the child kicks the ball. The latency is 5 seconds.
You may be asked to record latency data during your Competency Assessment with your BCBA.
Recording the time IN BETWEEN two responses.
Example: Recording the time in between tantrum episodes.
The child has his first tantrum that begins at 2:30PM and ends at 2:45PM. The child has a second tantrum that begins at 3:15PM and ends at 3:30PM. (Guess what, we already know that the duration of each tantrum was 15-minutes)
But, what is the IRT? How much time passed between the two tantrums? The first tantrum ended at 2:45PM and the second one started at 3:15PM. They were 30 minutes apart. 30 minutes passed in between each behavior episode. The Inter-response Time (IRT) is 30 minutes.
You may be asked to record IRT data during your Competency Assessment with your BCBA.