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Home » Pro » Reflections on Applied Behavior Analysis » RBT Study Topics: Documentation and Reporting (Part 1 of 2)


with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

RBT Study Topics: Documentation and Reporting (Part 1 of 2)

The Registered Behavior Technician credential is provided and monitored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. As a registered behavior technician (also known as an RBT), one must comply with and understand all items on the RBT Task List developed by the BACB.

You can view the RBT Task List here.

To learn more about the Documentation and Reporting section on the task list, this article will be presenting some of the task items listed.

We will be covering the following items:

  • E-01 Report other variables that might affect the client (e.g., illness, relocation, medication).
  • E-02 Generate objective session notes by describing what occurred during sessions.

E-01 Report other variables that might affect the client (e.g., illness, relocation, medication)

There are many factors that an RBT or other ABA service provider should consider regarding a client’s functioning. Oftentimes the most common factors considered in a client’s functioning are the antecedents and consequences of the behavior. However, it is important to look at other factors that may play a role in the client’s behaviors, as well.

In the field of applied behavior analysis, setting events are sometimes neglected to be considered as influencers of behavior. Setting events are in a way broader experiences that a client may have. While antecedents could be seen as the trigger for a behavior or as the thing that happens right before a behavior occurs, a setting event is a larger situational experience.

Some examples of setting events include:

  • Illness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Biological needs (like hunger)
  • Changes in the client’s home environment

Setting events make it more likely that a specific behavior will occur. For example, if a toddler has a lack of quality sleep, they may be more likely to tantrum as a result of another child taking a toy away rather than if they had a good night’s sleep. When the toddler has slept well, maybe they are more likely to share rather than tantrum in response to other youth trying to play with the toys they were interacting with.

Additionally, medical issues including chronic or acute illnesses, any diagnosis or condition, and also medications can play a role in a client’s behaviors. It is important for an RBT to be aware of any of these things that may have an impact on the client.

E-02 Generate objective session notes by describing what occurred during sessions

It is important to complete session notes objectively and professionally. Objective refers to disclosing only facts and actual information or observations. This is in contrast to subjective information which includes adding your own personal thoughts and feelings into your session notes.

When RBTs complete session notes, they should remember that the note will be included in that client’s permanent record and therefore the note should be accurate and professionally written.

In a session note you could also mention the setting events or factors that may have influenced the client’s behaviors throughout session. However, be sure to only use objective information and not to assume that you know why the child acted the way they did. For example, you may mention that the client’s parent reported at the beginning of session that the client only slept five hours last night and that he had a fever last week.

Remember that it is important to generate objective session notes also so that others (such as other RBTs that may work with your client or your supervisor who oversees treatment planning) can be aware of what occurred during the session.


In conclusion, documentation and reporting is one of the essential job responsibilities of an RBT. Just like in other human services fields and in the medical field, quality and objective documentation and reporting is an essential component to ensuring that services are documented appropriately, financial reimbursement can be obtained for services provided, and that others are able to review and assess services and progress.

Other Articles You Might Like:

Brief History of ABA

Parent Training Recommendations for ABA Professionals

RBT Study Topics: Behavior Reduction (Part 1 of 2)

 

RBT Study Topics: Documentation and Reporting (Part 1 of 2)


Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services.You can view more articles and resources from Heather at www.abaparenttraining.com and email her at [email protected] is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."

 


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2019). RBT Study Topics: Documentation and Reporting (Part 1 of 2). Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2019, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/child-therapist/2019/02/rbt-study-topics-documentation-and-reporting-part-1-of-2/