9 Super Duper tips to write ABA Daily Session Notes (DSN)

At the end of every ABA session, the ABA therapist or Behavior Technician will fill in the daily session notes. It is of the upmost importance that the daily session notes must be written objectively to gain an accurate observation of what occurred during session. Here are the 9 top tips to write a daily session note:

1. Reinforcers and their effectiveness

In this section, the ABA therapist will list the reinforcers used during session and will note how effective the reinforcer was. How it is noted is based on the observation if the reinforcer the learner interacted with was least, medium, or highly motivating. This section can be beneficial to review which reinforcer was more highly preferred, motivating, and can be used as a highly potential reinforcer for the next session.

2. Preference Assessment conducted 

There are 5 different types of preference assessments that can be conducted with the learner during the ABA session. In this section, the ABA therapist will note which assessments were implemented to determine the preference hierarchy of the reinforcers.

3. Supervision topic 

If the supervisor also attended the session, the ABA therapist will note what topic was discussed with the supervisor during session. This discussion can range from a program, parent training strategies, preference assessment, NET, and other topics

4. Parent training 

Under this section, the ABA therapist will note the following:

  • How long the parent/guardian participated in parent training.
  • If the BIP and skill acquisition were implemented
  • The positive and constructive feedback provided to the parent during parent training, and
  • If there were any barriers to parent participation

In the feedback section, I would write 2 positive feedbacks and 1 constructive feedback I gave to the parent/guardian. This 2 to 1 ratio is how I provide feedback during session in order to not overwhelm the parent/guardian. With the constructive feedback I provided, I would make sure to focus on and provide more assistance to the parent in order to improve that skill in the next parent training.

5. Mastered programs 

If a program target was mastered during session, the ABA therapist will note this in the Daily Session Notes to implement further generalization in the next session.

6. Programs not practiced  

If the ABA therapist has not conducted a program or target during session, this should be noted and must be worked on in the beginning of the next session.

7. Programs not making progress  

If the ABA therapist has observed that a target has not made progress after two weeks, this should be noted and must be discussed with the supervisor.

8. Behavior 

In this section, the ABA therapist will objectively write the behavior observed during session. The format will be written similarly as tracking ABC data:

  • Antecedent (A)
    • What happened immediately before the behavior?
  • Behavior (B)
    • What did the behavior look like? How many times did it occur? How long did it last?
  • Consequence (C)
    • What was the response immediately after the behavior?

Tracking the ABC data is beneficial to determine what the behavior function is. By identifying the behavior function, it assists to identify and implement proactive and consequence strategies to address the behavior function. If strategies were used to address the behavior function, the ABA therapist will note which strategies were implemented.

9. Additional Comments  

For this section, the ABA therapist will write down any additional observations and discussions made during session. When I write my Daily Session Notes, I would use this section to write down:

  • Any updates, concerns or questions the parent/guardian has brought up during session
  • Note any materials that are required for session,
  • Note any new additional behaviors that were also observed during session, and
  • If an incident occurred during session, this will be noted and reported to the supervisor.

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