H-1: State intervention goals in observable and measurable terms.  ©

Important note: Fictionalized clients are used to demonstrate the skill items in the second half of the task list, sections F-I. They make the most sense when read in order. Please remember that there is not substitute for real-life supervision and consultation. Get your case-specific advice from professionals – not from the internet! These examples are just that – examples of how behavior analytic skills might be applied.


Case example: Jada is an elementary school student. She experiences Level 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Level 3 is the severity level of Autism which is characterized by “requiring very substantial support.” Jada has also been diagnosed with a severe Intellectual Disability (ID). Jada has just transferred to a private school for individuals with global needs. She loves all kinds of play and messy activities, such as finger paint and water play. She also enjoys swinging on the playground, eating popcorn, and watching Disney movies. She loves to be read to, and laughs when staff make dramatic gestures while reading picture books. Jada does not use any vocal speech. She makes noises sometimes, such as humming. Jada engages in motor stimming, including upper body tensing and flapping her arms. Jada engages in severe challenging behavior, including self injury (hand to head and head to surface) and aggression (including hitting and biting). Jada has a mom, dad, and older brother living together in one home. Jada’s family has advocated for her to attend a private program, and they are excited for her to get high quality services. Jada’s new behavior analyst is Dr. Brown-Davis, who is a BCBA-D employed by the private program.

Example of Item H-1:

Dr. Brown-Davis collaborates with Jada’s family, as well as other providers, to write meaningful, measurable programming goals for Jada. He uses the following format: Given [context], client will [target behavior], [criterion rate/duration and extent] by [date]. Here are some examples of Dr. Brown-Davis’ goals:

  • Given a function-matched behavior plan and discrete trial instruction in functional communication, Jada will independently tap a picture icon card corresponding to the function of her unsafe behavior, without engaging in unsafe behavior, in contexts which previously evoked unsafe behavior (e.g. restricted access, presentation of work demand)  in 90% of opportunities across 10 consecutive school days with at least 40 trials per day by 00/00/0000, as measured by daily data collection.
  • Given a task analysis, a backwards chaining teaching procedure, most-to-least prompting faded based on skill acquisition, and a high-preference food item, Jada will independently complete all steps involved in removing food from the refrigerator, microwaving it, and bringing it to a meal table, in 80% of opportunities across 15 consecutive school days with at least one opportunity per day by 00/00/0000, as measured by daily data collection.



Case example: Donovan is a high school student. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). He attends a public school and has been placed in a support program for students with social/emotional/behavioral needs. Donovan enjoys playing video games and drawing in his sketchbook. He would like to be a welder when he is an adult. Academic achievement and attendance have been challenges for Donovan historically, and he is currently not on track to graduate with his peers due to missed work and failing grades in several classes. Donovan’s team has identified challenges including frequent non-attendance to school, walking the halls during class times, non-attendance at expected guidance appointments, and non-completion of classwork. Donovan lives with his mother and older brother. Donovan’s mother is concerned about her son’s school challenges and expresses frustration about his “lack of commitment” to his education. She wants Donovan to understand how important it is to graduate from high school. Donovan’s behavior analyst is Ms. Bailey, who has just started contracting with Donovan’s school district through the agency she works for.

Example of Item H-1:

Ms. Bailey collaborates with Donovan, his school based team, and his mother to write meaningful, measurable programming goals. She uses the following format: Given [context], client will [target behavior], [criterion rate/duration and extent] by [date]. Here is an example of a goal written for Donovan:

  • Given an agreed-upon school counseling appointment during school hours in a known location, Donovan will make himself physically present at the location within 5 minutes of the appointed time in 7 out of 8 opportunities per month for 2 consecutive months with at least 8 opportunities per month, as measured by trial-by-trial latency data, by 00/00/0000.
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