When I first meet a caregiver, one of the first questions I ask is “How much?”
- How long does she yell – for 30 minutes straight? Off and on all day?
- How often does she throw things – Once a day? Once a week?
- How much does he wander – All day? Constantly in the morning?
Before behavior analysts examine an intervention plan, we conduct assessments that rely heavily on information collected from caregivers. In the case of wandering, I first ask caregivers to fill out a time-sampling assessment, which provides me with information on how often this behavior occurs.
Throughout the day, the caregiver checks off whether the target behavior (e.g., wandering) occurred at that specific time period. For example, if an individual client wanders from 10:15-10:45 in the morning, the caregiver will check off the 10AM and 10:30AM bins for that day of the week.
After the caregivers collect data for 1-2 weeks, the behavior analyst should have enough information to move onto the next phase of the behavioral assessment and intervention plan.
Here is a printable example of a Time Sampling Assessment. [At the top and bottom of the document, provide the individual client’s name, behavior of interest (e.g., wandering), date, and setting. The left side panel breaks up the day into half-hour bins; the top row shows the recording/observation dates.]