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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Using ABA Concepts in the Natural Environment – Recommendations for Parents (Part 2)

As was mentioned in the last post, recommending how parents can use ABA concepts in their everyday routines and activities is beneficial for the client you are working with as well as for the family as a whole.

We previously discussed (in Part 1) ways that you can utilize the 7 dimensions of ABA when working with parents of children with autism spectrum disorder.

In addition to considering the 7 dimensions of ABA, considering how parents can utilize the items on the BACB task list for behavior analysts is another way that you can help parents learn to use ABA in daily life.

ABA providers who are providing ABA parent training can utilize the measurement section of the task list to help parents learn more about ABA concepts and how to incorporate these concepts into everyday life.

For more guidance on ABA parent training, go to

Following lists some tips and ideas for ways that you can recommend ABA concepts as you work with parents in your parent training services.

  • A01: Measure frequency
    • Parents can learn to measure the frequency (or how many times) their child displays a certain behavior. For example, if the child tends to hit his sibling, the parent could keep a log of how often this happens.
  • A02: Measure rate
    • Parents could use the concept of measuring rate by providing the ABA provider with information about how many times the child does something in a given amount of time. One example of this is how many times the child brushed his teeth in the week.
  • A03: Measure duration
    • Parents can track duration by taking data on how long something occurs. This may be something like how long the child brushes his teeth or how long it takes to complete one page of homework.
  • A04: Measure latency
    • ABA providers may recommend that parents track latency for a variety of reasons. One example may be the latency from when the parent tells the child to wake up (and get out of bed) in the morning to the time the child actually gets out of bed.
  • A05: Measure interresponse time (IRT)
    • ABA providers could discuss IRT with parents and how this may be relevant for their child. Parents may benefit from using this type of measurement for things like how long it takes for a child who tends to “dilly-dally” to pick up toys in their room. IRT could tell you how long it takes between the time the child picks up one toy to the time the child picks up the next toy.
  • A06: Measure percent of occurrence
    • This may be relevant for parents for things like tracking the percentage of correct responses on a worksheet or percent of accurate responding for tacting stimuli in the natural environment.
  • A07: Measure trials to criterion
    • Measuring trials to criterion may be helpful for parents who want to see how quickly their child is picking up new skills.
  • A08: Assess and interpret interobserver agreement
    • This concept is relevant for ABA providers to be able to provide feedback on how parents are collecting data. ABA providers can take data on the same behavior that the parent is taking data on in a given observation to see if they are collecting data in the same way.
  • A09: Evaluate the accuracy and reliability of measurement procedures
    • Addressing accuracy and reliability in parent training is helpful to ensure that you are tracking the target behaviors and that measurement is consistent.
  • A10: Design, plot, and interpret data using equal-interval graphs
    • ABA providers may use the data gathered from parents or during parent training sessions in which the provider collects data to create equal-interval graphs. This can then allow for more effective progress monitoring.
  • A11: Design, plot, and interpret data using a cumulative record to display data
    • Using cumulative records can help keep track of progress. ABA providers may use parent-collected data to create a cumulative record.
  • A12: Design and implement continuous measurement procedures (e.g., event recording)
    • Parents may benefit from learning about continuous measurement procedures. You may recommend this procedure for behaviors that don’t happen that often and are important to track like aggression.
  • A13: Design and implement discontinuous measurement procedures (e.g., partial and whole interval, momentary time sampling)
    • This procedure may be recommended to parents for things that are more difficult to track such as whining or tantrum behavior or staying on task.
  • A14: Design and implement choice measures
    • Offering children choices is an important concept to teach parents. Choice is an effective antecedent strategy to help prevent some maladaptive behaviors.

Above you can see tips for using the concepts in the measurement section of the BACB task list in ABA parent training. It is important to note that some parents may have more difficulty collecting data than others. Be sure to individualize your expectations and recommendations for each family that you are working with.

Using ABA Concepts in the Natural Environment – Recommendations for Parents (Part 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 and email her at [email protected] You can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: Heather is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2019). Using ABA Concepts in the Natural Environment – Recommendations for Parents (Part 2). Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from