An overview of ABA group sessions… and the ways intuitive data collection software can alleviate their challenges

ABA group sessions: an overview.

In Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), group sessions typically include two or more learners that receive services in a communal setting. A provider (or providers) is responsible for running the group, taking data on each learner, and managing a multitude of variables. For example: if there are X learners in the group, that means there are X different sets of behaviors, skill levels, reinforcer sets, and more, to oversee.

What are group sessions typically used for?

Group sessions are a great opportunity for ABA learners to work on their goals in a group setting. They are commonly used with learners working on skills such as:

  • Group skills, turn taking, waiting, and sharing.
  • Conversational skills with peers and adults, perspective taking, and understanding how one’s behavior affects other people.
  • Deepening social/emotional understanding.
  • Working on physical proximity.
  • School-readiness – e.g. sitting in groups, assigned seating, raising your hand.

…and many more.

Common challenges.

Providers face many challenges when using manual or disintegrated systems to take data during group sessions. The constant action (and at times, chaos) of a group setting, combined with inadequate data collection processes, can be a recipe for disaster.

Slip-ups are often made. For example, accidentally taking learner data on the wrong clipboard, spreadsheet, or Word document… inadvertently closing out a document without saving it first… or even accidentally breaching HIPAA laws, which you’ll read about in the list of common challenges below.

  • The mental and physical stress of collecting data for multiple learners while running a group.
  • Losing or misplacing learner data sheets, spreadsheets, and documents.
  • Accidentally taking data on the wrong learner’s sheet.
  • Scarce, poor, or unreliable data due to the overwhelming nature of a group session.
  • Running a group while in “firefighting mode” during times when learner deficits bubble to the top due to the social environment – often leaving providers unable to take data at all.
  • The potential to breach HIPAA laws. Leaving clipboards lying around means other people can easily view your data – for example, other parents during pickup after a session.

How Thread by CentralReach can help.

Thread by CentralReach takes the stress out of group sessions, facilitating quick and easy data collection, increased accuracy, and improved learner outcomes. Say goodbye to shuffling through clipboards and toggling between documents, and hello to one single screen where you can do it all.

Simply select goals for the learners in your group and they populate onto one screen. Thread makes data collection as simple as tapping a plus and minus sign, and you can quickly toggle between learners on your iPad or tablet as you take data for each learner.

Simplify group data collection with Thread by CentralReach.

Here are some examples of the ways Thread by CentralReach streamlines and simplifies your ABA data collection during group sessions – helping you take better data, serve learners more efficiently, and improve clinical outcomes.

  • Managing data for multiple learners on one device means there is no risk of misplacing, losing, or forgetting about a clipboard and/or sheet – which are big time HIPAA violations.
  • One device and one screen means easy toggling between learners – and decreased chance of errors such as taking data on the wrong learner.
  • Need a refresher on one of your learners? Simply tap his or her profile, and learn everything you need to know – from reinforcers, to allergies, to learner demographics - without having to dig in a file or a thick binder.
  • If there is an emergency, practitioners can quickly and easily access parent information via the “urgent information” feature with a simple tap.
  • During a particularly chaotic group session, quickly pull up what you need to, review it, and move on. No need to shuffle through papers, folders, or files.
  • Collect not just skill acquisition goals, but also behavior reduction targets for multiple clients at one time.
  • Confidentiality and HIPAA compliance become easy to achieve. Thread by CentralReach is HIPAA compliant, and the nice thing about using one single iPad or tablet is that you can close out the screen – or even turn it over – if anyone enters the room.
  • Sometimes while working with a client that presents challenging behaviors, it isn’t possible to take data as the behavior is happening. With Thread, if any data is missed live (in the moment), practitioners can go back and enter it after the session.

A closing note.

Group sessions can be difficult, particularly if providers are struggling with manual data collection. But even so, they are important for treatment, and immensely valuable to the learners served. ABA professionals know the value of group sessions, and that the end result is worth it.

Interested in learning more?

Thread by CentralReach is a simple, intuitive, and powerful ABA data collection platform powered by CentralReach, the leading provider of Applied Behavior Analysis software and solutions for autism therapy.

Schedule a demo to see firsthand how Thread by CentralReach can make it easy for you to care for clients, manage programs, and complete data collection and ABA graphing in a snap – and all in one place.