Review: Behavior Tracker Pro
The origin of this application lies in the parents of a girl that was diagnosed with autism. They began to learn the ABA therapy, to implement it and, as a result, they realized that it was very hard to collect and analyze data of the results consistently. With a masters degree and a BCBA (“standard” certification as ABA therapist) in the case of the mother, and years of experience in computer science in the case of the father, and with the help of a software developer, Behavior Tracker Pro was born.
In brief, as its name suggests, this application allows collecting and displaying graphically behavior data, so it addresses parents, teachers and therapists. As it happens with other similar applications (see the review of AutismTrack in this blog), Behavior Tracker Pro is initially designed for people with autism, but in practice it can be used to record behaviors of any person.
Three types of data
Behavior Tracker Pro has four main options, accessible via icons displayed on the bottom of the screen. The initial, “Collect Data”, can record data in three different ways.
The first way allows you to collect data related to the frequency and duration of behaviors. First you have to choose the person you want to record the behaviors (the “Client”) and the person who is registered (the “Observer”) by selecting both from two existing lists or by adding new subjects.
Once they are selected, a time counter appears on the screen which can be started by double touching on the green zone and stopped with another double-touch on the primary zone, now red. At any time you can also record a video stream (if the device that you are using has a camera). After stopping the time counter, a screen with a list of behaviors appears so you can select one or more, and immediately you return to the screen with the green background to start logging the following behavior. To exit this mode of data entry, you just triple touch the blue zone.
The second way to collect data, “ABC Data” (from “Antecedents-Behaviors-Consequences”) also begins by selecting the two people involved and then moving on to the screen of the time counter, but when a behavior is finished the application shows an additional screen where you can select one or more antecedents (such as “Wants something”) from a list that, again, can be extended at the same time. Then, another screen allows you to select behaviors (such as “Crying”) and consequences (such as “Block access to reinforce”).
These first two options are therefore very similar, but with the difference that the latter can record two more details about each behavior. Why, then, the first way? For those cases in which you only want to record the number of times and duration of a predefined behavior, for example because you are making a very focused exercise on a particular behavior.
The third way, “Take High Frequency Behavior Data”, starts by choosing the client and the observer and one or more behaviors. From there, a screen shows the list of behaviors to be controlled and allows to increment their respective counters by touching them while time counter is shown on the top.
So, for example, you can record the number of inappropriate behaviors and spontaneous game on his own initiative at a time, but you can not record the duration of each occurrence. Since the list of behaviors may exceed that can be viewed on the screen, Behavior Tracker Pro allows you to sort the list at will, for example, placing the most common behaviors on the top, and move up and down trough the list.
The “Analyze Data” tab allows you to work with data from a particular person, being able to choose the total data or only the data of one day, and even within that day the data of each specific behavior that was recorded.
Behavior Tracker Pro will display a summary of the entered data and, if this is a group of data (a day with various behaviors or several days), allow you to access a linear graph of them, from which data can be delimited so, for example you can decide if the behaviors are to be displayed individually or grouped, adjust the x-axis, show a frequency (number of times) or duration graph, etc.
In case of long graphs, you can move along them by scrolling the screen left or right. You can also touch a point on the graph to see the details of the associated data, delete the lines and draw at will by connecting the points that interest you more, or display the legends of the plotted data.
You can even add “phase changes” on specific dates or at certain times inside a day to see in the graph a vertical blue line that separates, for example, a change in therapy that we want to study from the point of view of the number of improper behavior before and after implementing that change.
The options of graphical representation of Behavior Tracker Pro are more than powerful, especially if we consider that the application is designed for the iPhone / iPod touch. For the more demanding users or simply for those who want to make another kind of analysis or long-term record, the application can export data as CSV or XML files via email (formats for working with spreadsheets, databases, etc.). You simply select the option and all the data associated with the current graph is exported. (And if you have selected all the data for the graph, this implies exporting all data associated with a person). You can also export an image of the screen to the device’s photo library or send it directly by email.
The “Manage People” tab shows the list of “Clients” and “Observers” so you can edit each one of them. For each person you can register a name, the school, his/her age and a free field for notes, more than enough to associate the data to a concrete person.
The last tab, “Manage ABC’s” is devoted to manage the lists of antecedents, behaviors and consequences, adding and deleting concepts and determining the order of each one within those lists.
The main menu also has a help option which basically leads to the developer’s website and also allows you to export the latest data. Regarding the Web, it shines because it is very complete, including an extensive documentation of the application, demonstration videos, a forum for the users, etc.
On the website you can also purchase an iPod touch preloaded with the application and accompanied by some extras (portable charger, carry case, two year warranty, telephone and email support, etc.), although the most recent iPod model is not available. The company even offers consulting and training services, online or onsite.
But perhaps the most interesting service is the Team Web Portal that allows you to transfer data to a secure data repository of the company for storage and analysis. Different people who are part of a team can provide data on a single “client”, so this portal facilitates the management of data collected by all team members. Each team has an owner who can invite others to participate, enlists the “clients”, adjust the data collected, etc.
Once loaded, the data can be analyzed graphically. You can also add videos (recorded from inside the application or not) and documents related to a “client”, keeping the portal an history of all the versions of the documents, and allowing to mark them as only-readable files. Finally, it is possible to establish a Web videoconference in which participants can view documents or graphics and can join the conference by calling to a phone number and using a code.
Team Web Portal costs $ 24.99 per month at least, existing volume licensing discounts and contracts for six or twelve months that are cheaper. This is not inexpensive, but the services joined together in one portal include many tools that can help a team of therapists work actually as a team and go far beyond file sharing services on the Internet such as “dropbox.” In any case, the service can be used free for 30 days.
Another interesting aspect of Behavior Tracker Pro is its multiplatform support, since the application is available for Apple devices and for those based on Android (Google’s operating system and the main competitor right now to the Apple system), Blackberry (another very popular system for advanced mobile devices) and Palm webOS (ditto). For Apple devices, the company also offers Skill Tracker Pro, an application focused on recording data of therapies (objectives, results of the exercises, etc.).
There is no specific version for the iPad. In fact, for data collection, a device such as the iPhone or the iPod touch seems to me much more practical but, on the other side, to analyze data, the largest screen of the iPad would be appreciated.
The application is only in English, but since the list of behaviors, antecedents and consequences is editable, the application is relatively simple in its operation and, after all, it is designed for parents and therapists, the language itself is not a great barrier. Although, I would like to see versions in other languages, of course!
Seeing how complete is the application, its multiplatform support, the wide range of services, etc., the feeling after analyzing Behavior Tracker Pro is that it is a fully professional application.
Behavior Tracker Pro 2.0.3
Developer: Marz Consulting Inc.
Functions: Behavior data collect and graphical analysis.
iPhone/iPod touch version: Yes (2.03)
iPad version: No.
Other versions: Android, Blackberry, Palm webOS.
Price: $29,99 / €23,99