What is Antecedent-Behavior Consequence (ABC)?

Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence (ABC) is a significant component of understanding the function of behavior. If a child is in ABA therapy or a therapeutic preschool program for additional behavioral support, their teachers and therapists will often examine these components of behavior.

What exactly does ABC mean?
Antecedent: This refers to the stimuli or activity that occurs just before a child exhibits the behavior. In some cases, the antecedent is also the root cause of the behavior for the child.
Behavior: This refers to the behavior that follows the antecedent.
Consequence: This refers to the event or consequence that follows the behavior.

By looking at a behavior in a logical chain of progression, it is easier to determine the function of a behavior and better understand why a child is acting in a certain way.

Here’s an example of using ABC to understand a child’s behavior:
Antecedent: The therapeutic preschool teacher prompts the student to come to the carpet for circle time.
Behavior: The child will not move and begins to cry that they do not want to join circle time.
Consequence: The therapeutic preschool aid stays with the child to try and help the child regulate their behavior.

ABC chart
ABA therapists will often use ABC charts to map out specific behaviors and examine the function of behavior in children. By looking at the entire cycle of a behavior, from the stimuli that incites the behavior to the consequence, the therapist or teacher has a greater understanding of a child’s behavioral patterns. The insight that an ABC chart provides also helps to create a comprehensive treatment plan.

Why is ABC important?
If a child is exhibiting problematic behaviors at home or in their therapeutic preschool program, it is critical to understand the function of the behavior, in order to resolve it. Every child has their own way of learning and processing information, so two children who are crying during their therapeutic preschool class may be doing so for two completely different reasons. In order to solve the behavior “puzzle,” an ABA therapist or therapeutic preschool teacher may use ABC charts.

ABC is particularly important in the context of applied behavior analysis or ABA therapy services provided in a therapeutic preschool program. Using this method of intervention, the teacher or therapist will work with the child to build positive behaviors and skills and resolve problematic behaviors. ABA also looks at the function of behavior.

Do you think your child could benefit from a therapeutic preschool program for behavior support? Contact CST Academy by clicking the purple button below or calling 773-620-7800 to learn more about our services for children in Chicago, including ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.