Seven Misconceptions Organizations Make When Tracking Behavior

Tick Mark Tracking: #1 of Seven Misconceptions Organizations Make When Tracking Behavior

by Torri Wright | January 1st, 2020

Tick Mark Tracking is a form of tracking behavior that only collects information on exactly how many times someone did one particular behavior, or perhaps a handful, such as hitting, kicking, biting, throwing objects, etc. This form of tracking behavior has been around forever and I when I would participate in this, many years ago, I was never really clear what this was telling us. In fact, I most often observed the individual becoming extremely angry, as they were aware of someone “writing” down what they were doing. It felt antagonizing and disrespectful. Plus, I still did not understand the “why.”

First, behavior is communication and it is working for the individual in one way, even if those around them do not like it or it poses a safety risk. Second, we, as the support providers, must take a step back and observe the behavior in all settings, throughout a person’s day to truly understand what is going on for that individual. Tracking one, escalated, behavior will not tell us anything. We need to know the why and be observant of what they look like calm, starting to struggle or getting agitated, and finally the crisis. The struggling part is extremely important, as this is when we need to implement the interventions or strategies that will help the person both gain regulation and let them know we are helping them, rather than just sitting back waiting for them to blow up.

Tick mark tracking is old, non-informative, and rarely helps us find solutions. This form of tracking can also contribute to escalated behaviors, therefore it is even more of a concern in how we collect data. 


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