Behavior = an observable and measurable movement of an organism that results in a change in the environment
behavior must be able to be objectively observed, as in they are open to anyone's observation and not dependent on anyone's subjective belief. Two different observers should be able to observe and measure the same type of behavior independently and in the same consistent manner.
behavior must be quantifiable, or measurable, whether we are talking about rate, time, duration, frequency, etc.
When in doubt about what constitutes a behavior, use the dead man's test: If a dead man can do it, it's not a behavior.
Example: Suppose the target behavior is "yelling in classroom". If the goal is written as "Does not yell in classroom" does this pass the dead man's test? No. A dead man could refrain from yelling in the classroom. What is preferable? (Raising hand to request attention, giving the teacher a card labeled "help", using functional communication by saying "I need help", etc)
Can a dead man do this?:
· Lying down
· Being knocked down by a gust of wind
· Getting hit by a baseball
Answer: Yes, a dead man can do all of these things. These things are either static states of an organism or movements of the body that resulted from independent physical forces. Both are excluded from the definition of behavior (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007).
Other things that are not behavior:
· And other mental states, such as: depressed, happy, silly, sad, being in a "bad" or "good" mood, etc.
· Personality traits such as: confident, introverted, kind, agreeable, etc.
· Can we observe and measure these things?
Answer: no, we cannot, therefore these mental states are not behavior.
There are a number of factors that can influence behavior, and it is important to communicate these with the supervisor immediately. This can include updates, such as medication changes, environmental changes (divorce, parent separation, or moving houses), or illness. Be sure to inform your supervisor as quickly as possible regarding any changes or other variables that might influence a client's behavior. A note or event line should be added to each graph to identify any of these changes, since they could impact the client's behavior.