I am guilty. I love Pinterest. I can easily spend hours at a time scrolling through so many pins, from home renos to education, or literature and film fanfics, and of course my favourite *organization*.
I am one of those people who can sit down for 5 minutes to take a break and look at my screen, then an hour later look up and be stunned at where the time went. I might need to implement a self-monitoring system for myself, but that is another task for another time!
I love pins on organization because I can bring them into the ABA world and put them to good use in programs and binders! Give me all the colour-coded tabs, post-its, and highlighters, and I am one happy BCBA!
What To Include In An ABA Binder?
Each ABA binder should be individualized to the learner. Here are some things I would include in an ABA Binder:
PROGRAM CHECK OFF LIST
A program check off list is essentially a table of contents of what programs the learner is currently working on.
A program check off list should be individualized for each student, based off their assessment and current goals. It should not include their name (coded for confidentiality), and be dated for every single update and revision it undergoes. As programs are updated, conversations with parents should be scheduled and include mastered programs and targets, current goals, and next steps.
A program check off list should be divided into the different teaching areas (e.g., attending, receptive and expressive communication, imitation, requesting, social and play, self-help, etc.).
Who doesn’t love colour-coded dividers?! We place a labelled divider between each program, so we can easily flip to the program we are looking for without keeping learners waiting.
CURRENT PROGRAMS & TARGETS
The programs for each student are listed on the program check off list and are filed in the binder in the order they appear on the check off list.
Each program should also include a target response list. This list will outline which targets to teach for the program; it also provides a convenient way to look at current targets, and future targets.
MASTERED PROGRAMS & TARGETS
A section for mastered programs should be included in the binder, in order to continue working on previously learned targets. It is important that once a child masters a skill, we continue to use it and continue to generalize to the environment around them.
Mastered programs do not need to include every old graph (keep this elsewhere!), but should list the program (e.g., gross motor imitation) and targets (e.g., clap hands, wave, stand up, etc.) the learner mastered. If a program is not yet mastered (there are still targets to run), but has some mastered targets, keep the mastered target list in the same section of the binder as the current program.
Additional documents that may be in each learners binder can include: confidentiality agreements signed by all parties who work with the learner (and parents), CAS Signs of Abuse, Photography Policy (e.g., some families request that no photos or videos be taken, some families request that photos or videos be taken to show progress), and any medical alerts for allergies, medications, or medical conditions.
What To Include On ABA Programs?
Here are some things to include on an ABA program:
What is the end goal of this program? What should the learner be able to accomplish once this program is finished?
A description of the program should give anyone running the program an understanding of what to expect and a clear picture of what it should look like in action.
A program is broken down in to multiple teaching steps. Each step should gradually and systematically build the learners skill to reach the target behaviour for the program.
Not all programs list prompting levels. It should be noted that prompting levels can be included so all staff who are working with the learner can ensure they are teaching at the appropriate level.
When a student makes an error on a response, it is important to know how to implement the proper error correction procedure. When the error correction is included on the ABA program, it guides staff to be consistent in their teaching and delivery of the program and the expectations for staff as well as learner.
How do you know a student has mastered a current teaching step? Or the entire program? Having clearly defined mastery criteria takes out the guess work.
What if a student seems to be erring, not progressing, or their graphs display a downward trend in during a skill acquisition program? When do you intervene? Having clearly defined criteria for when to revise, add in prompts, or put the program on hold is necessary.
GRAPHS & DATA COLLECTION
Where do you collect data? You know what to do, the order in which to do it, and how to do it. Now that you have presented the SD to the learner, where do you record their response? How you collect data will depend on the type of program you are running and the goal of the program. If you are tracking fluency, duration, number of correct responses, or other, your data collection and graphs will vary.
Now that you have collected all this amazing data, what do you do with it? Visual displays of data make decision-making easier. Graphing is typically used to show trends, variability, and level of learner progress.
An Additional Consideration
Many programs may require materials and having materials per programs or per learner in a separate bin or area will make the flow of the session run smoother and faster. Keeping materials organized will help keep your learner engaged for longer.
Download our FREE Student Binder Protocol Checklist to keep yourself and the ABA Binder organized!