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Anecdotal Observation

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Anecdotal record


An anecdotal observation is a factual account of an incident. The precise sequence of events is documented using descriptive language in order to describe exactly what occurs during a given situation. The setting and context are also carefully described. Subjective statements and judgments should be avoided during anecdotal observations. Therefore, a written anecdotal observation should provide the reader with a clear picture of the event.

In autism, anecdotal observations are often helpful in learning more about a child’s behavior. Parents may be asked to make anecdotal observations of their child in order to keep a detailed record of their behavior, monitor their response to particular events, track progress during intervention, or provide information about their behavior following a change. Such information can be valuable for a service provider during assessment or when developing and/or maintaining a therapy program. School staff and treatment...

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References and Readings

  • Bentzen, W. R. (2000). Seeing young children: A guide to observing and recording behavior (4th ed.). Albany, NY: Delmar Learning.

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  • Nicolson, S., & Shipstead, S. G. (2002). Through the looking glass: Observations in the early childhood classroom (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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Correspondence to Jennifer Varley Gerdts .

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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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Gerdts, J.V. (2013). Anecdotal Observation. In: Volkmar, F.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Springer, New York, NY.

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