Monday, August 6, 2012

BehaviorLENS - a behavior data tracking app

BehaviorLENS by SuperPsyched, LLC (iPad only, $29.99)

For an overview of BehaviorLENS alongside other data tracking apps, see here.

My new favorite for data tracking with students! Simple (as in straightforward) yet powerful. The charts are visually appealing and easy to understand. I could also see this working for most parents who are interested in focusing on a few main behaviors to track- say for example the same behaviors set in your child's Behavior Plan at school. For those of us tracking special diets/allergies and a zillion possibly related specific behaviors or symptoms, this will not be the best fit. The decision to allow tracking of a small number of key behaviors instead of unlimited behaviors was a very conscious one- this focus is clear when you start the app and are able to effortlessly navigate, add students and school sites, begin an observation, view data, send a report- all within a few minutes.
Setup is super easy for this app. I did not need to read any manuals to figure anything out, which is much appreciated!

BehaviorLENS allows data tracking of four different types: Interval Recording, Frequency Count, Duration, ABC. In Interval Recording mode the behaviors are already preset, and all you need to do is select the behavior that matches from the list of choices that pop up during the interval tracking.  I didn't find this to be a problem for recording data in a classroom setting- everything I needed to record was already there!  However for tracking specific behaviors like a certain kind of vocalization- for example if you want to see if there is a reason for humming versus squealing, you will need to use one of the other three types of data collection, where you can add your own behaviors you wish to focus on  (Frequency Count (up to four behaviors), Duration (up to four behaviors), and ABC).
Another useful feature is the ability to add notes that are attached to the reports. They also show up in the observation itself, with a time stamp. I find this super helpful.

One capability of BehaviorLENS that is not currently pictured are Line Graphs to show data over multiple observations (as opposed to the Bar Graphs for single observations included in this review. You can also generate graphs that include multiple observations on one graph, which can be very useful for looking at behavior trends over time.

ABC Tracking

 The ABC (Antecedent Behavior Consequence) Tracking also has built in choices to select from, but you can add your own as well.  The built in choices make it really easy for you to "classify" these antecedents, behaviors and consequences, which is awesome for anyone, but especially for someone who may not be as familiar with the concept of ABCs. This really breaks it down for you.  For example for Antecedent, which is simply whatever occurred immediately before a behavior- are the choices Demand/Request Given, Difficult Task Presented, Transition, Alone (No Attention) (I may have added the last example).  I use this section at home a lot, so I also added "brother provoked verbally", "brother provoked physically"- so that I can keep an eye on how my son is responding to teasing or bullying from his sibling, when it is happening and help both of them put a stop to it! Under Behavior (the behavior your child is doing) are the choices Verbal Outburst, Physical Outburst, Avoidance Behavior; you can add your own here as well.  Under Consequence (which is whatever happens immediately after the behavior) are choices divided into subcategories "Perceived Functions" and "Actual Consequence".  Under Perceived Functions are the choices Get Desired Item/Activity, Get Self-Stimulation, Avoid Demand/Request, Avoid Activity, Avoid Person.  Getting on my soapbox now: I appreciate the term "perceived" because sometimes we really can only take a guess as to why a child is engaging in a behavior.  I know my own son moves his jaw from side to side when he has eaten something he is allergic to.  (One of the benefits of being a mom who like my son also has food allergies and the same symptom- as I know exactly why he is doing that!) To an outsider the Perceived Function might be "Get Self Stimulation", when actually I recognize it is a sign of pain or discomfort.  Something to consider.  Under "Actual Consequence" are Attention, Redirection, Task/Demand Removed.  Again, you can add your own.   You can view each separate behavior and what antecedents and consequences are correlated with it, or view all behaviors together, and so on.

Frequency Count

The frequency count feature is as straightforward as can be. Select or add up to four behaviors to observe, and press the corresponding buttons for each to record each instance.  Here is a screenshot of a Frequency Chart from a report.



Duration simply records how long each behavior is occurring, and displays the total time for each of those behaviors as well. It also allows behaviors to overlap.  For example you can track a child "not attending the teacher" as well as "vocalizing" at the same time.  If you look closely as you record, you may be able to notice another neat feature of duration tracking- every time you stop the recording button for a behavior, a thin white line will show.  This is useful because you can visually assess how long a behavior is lasting. You can see whether there are long periods of time without that behavior (few white line "breaks"), or whether the behavior is occurring much more frequently (many white line "breaks" spaced closely together- look at the behavior Vocalizing in the screenshot) The app also keeps a count for each instance a behavior occurs, but only through this observation screen.  When viewing it as a report, the frequencies of behaviors are not shown, although a list of each change recording during the tracking automatically is shown in the Observation Notes section of the report. 

Interval Recording

If you have keen eyes you will have spied the time on some of the screenshots- I did not observe students at 10:00 p.m. or 1:30 a.m.  but in the interest of protecting my son's and students' privacy, the late night recreation and screenshot won out.  Another plus- you'll notice along the top of the screen that "Teacher" "Student" and "Setting" have been left unassigned.  You can start recording data before selecting the student, teacher etc.  This is very helpful when you walk in to a room and want to start immediately recording data.  At any time during the observation, you can tap the corresponding buttons at the far right of the screen to fill in the data.  You can also end an observation earlier than planned- which works really well when the fire alarm suddenly goes off (true story).

One of the visual features I admire: the green/red coding for On Task and Off Task Behaviors.  When it is time to record a behavior, the recording symbol will show.  When you tap it, a pop up will display with On Task Behavior in green, and Off Task Behavior in red. Select the correct color, and a new pop-up with choices will come up. Record the appropriate choice(s), and the bar will turn to either green or red to show whether the behavior was On Task or Off Task. After doing interval recording, the reports for On Task Behavior vs. Off Task Behavior are also shown in green and red. This makes it really easy to glance at a chart and get a clear picture of what is going on. You can either focus solely on your child, or take comparative data for a typical peer as well. Even better, you can decide how often you want to take data for that peer- do you want to take data each interval, as you are taking data for your child, or every other interval, or every third or fourth interval.

You can also hone in on what situations a child is having On Task Behavior versus Off  Task behaviors, for either your student, or a typical peer (On Task and Off Task Student reports shown below).  I find this really useful for seeing what is working for a child and what is not.

Wish List
(I always have one)
I thought my wish list would include the ability to track a whole bunch of behaviors at once, but I'm finding the interface is wonderful just the way it is in that regard- I fear if that capability were added it would not be so easy and uncluttered as it is now. As for the Interval recording- I would love to see an option for higher interval lengths. Right now you can set an observation to last anywhere from 5 minutes -increasing in 5 minute increments- up to 60 minutes, which is perfect.  The Observation Interval Lengths to choose from are 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 60 seconds.  A 5 minute interval would be a really desirable option to add, in my opinion.  One thing I will need to check with the developer about - deleting old behaviors from the list of choices.  Deleting students or reports from the main page is easy, however- just swipe and confirm delete.  Perhaps a tab with our personalized choices could be added to the main screen and the same swipe/ delete function could be used? Also, a lite version would be wonderful, so parents can try it out to see if it best meets their needs.  


  1. Thank you so much for this detailed review of BehaviorSnap (new name as of November 2013)! I just posted it on our Facebook page. We sincerely appreciate the feedback (including the wish list items)! I wish I had discovered your blog earlier.
    Sacha Mittelman
    Co-Owner of BehaviorSnap

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