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How Do I Know If My Child Needs a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)?

The Environmental Advisory Board estimates that, on average, teachers lose about 2-1/2 hours of instruction time every week due to behavioral problems in the classroom. This means that there is almost three weeks’ worth of learning time lost during an academic year.

Correcting disruptive behavior is important for both children and teachers. Understanding the underlying cause of the behavior helps to alleviate it. This includes making sure there is proper classroom control and determining if a Behavior Intervention Plan should be put into effect.

Keep reading to learn what this plan is, whether or not a child needs it, and what steps are necessary to put a BIP into place.

What is a Behavior Intervention Plan?

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is described in the BIP Desk Reference Manual. The BIP is a proactive means of addressing behavior that impedes learning in the classroom. This includes the student exhibiting disruptive behavior, as well as learning of other students in the classroom.

If a less formal intervention is not successful, then it may be necessary to develop a formal BIP. This document focuses on behavior intervention supports and strategies. The plan looks for ways to understand the reason behind the behavior and ways to meet the student’s needs in an acceptable manner.

The reason for writing a Behavior Intervention Plan is that the No Child Left Behind and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Reauthorization 2004 requires that every child receive education and experience ongoing academic growth.

The educational staff has an obligation to consider what adjustments are necessary to a child’s curriculum and instruction to provide them with an education. Developing a formal written plan allows all administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff to be consistent in teaching and addressing behavior problems with the child.

Common Behavior Problems

The Environmental Advisory Board found that a variety of behaviors cause frequent classroom disruptions. Those behaviors include:

  • 1/2 of teachers—unresponsiveness, tantrums
  • 1/5 of teachers—systematic abuse or bullying of fellow students
  • 1 in 7 teachers—eloping (fleeing supervision)
  • 1 in 7 teachers—physical violence toward other students
  • 1 in 10 teachers—verbal abuse, threats directed at other adults or the teacher
  • 1 in 20 teachers—physical abuse directed at other adults or the teacher

The reasons for bad behavior teachers and administrators provide are different. The one area teachers and administrators agree is academic pressure:

  • 86% of school administrators—a history of trauma in the family
  • 78% of school administrators—untreated mental health issues
  • 45-46% of school administrators—increase in academic pressure
  • 72% of teachers—changes in modern-day parenting techniques
  • 62% of teachers—insufficient recreation and playtime
  • 65$ of teachers—too much exposure to electronic devices
  • 45-46% of teachers—increase in academic pressure

Whatever the reason for the disruptive behavior, taking steps necessary to eradicate the disruptions should be the main goal.

Not Every Child Receives a BIP

Just because a child misbehaves in a classroom, that behavior does not immediately qualify for a Behavior Intervention Plan. The students who receive placement on a BIP have severe behavior problems that regularly interfere with their classmates’ learning.

Special needs students are on an IEP or a 504 Plan. Those plans may not be sufficient, in which case a BIP is added to the educational plan.

Being a special needs student is not a requirement for a BIP. The underlying issues on why a child fails to succeed may be from causes other than a learning disability. A Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan may be necessary.

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)

Functional Behavior Assessment is done to determine why a child is behaving in a specific manner. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to use this type of assessment when a child with special needs is exhibiting unacceptable behavior.

A behavioral specialist performs the assessment. This involves documenting the child’s behavior prior to the disruption, during the disruption, and following the disruption. These observations are made for several weeks and include interviews with teachers, parents, and anyone else who works with the child.

This gives the assessor insight into how the child’s disability affects their behavior. It also allows them to assess what changes in the environment may have a positive effect on the child.

For example, a student may repeatedly disrupt class when assigned a specific type of work, such as figuring math problems. If the consequence of that behavior is removal from the classroom, the child is successful in avoiding work they have difficulty with.

The FBA may include a recommendation to provide the student with additional support for that subject. That eliminates the bad behavior while providing the child with academic instruction. The recommendation can become part of the Behavior Intervention Plan.

Establishing a Child Behavior Intervention Plan

The main objective of a BIP is to reward the child’s positive behavior and redirect the child from the bad behavior they have been exhibiting. There are three sections to a plan:

  1. List of problem behavior
  2. Describe the underlying reason for the problem behavior
  3. The strategies and support mechanisms to help the student

The establishment of support and strategies depends on the child’s underlying needs. If the child is seeking attention, then steps to allow them to receive more attention in a positive manner should alleviate the problem. For example, asking them for assistance in delivering something to the office or another teacher, or using them to assist in a classroom demonstration.

If the child becomes restless when sitting too long, allowing them to take stretch breaks may resolve the problem. This could be done with something as simple as having the entire class stand up and do a couple of stretches every hour to resolve the problem without drawing attention to the student.

After the BIP is in place, team members will watch to see if the strategies are working, and if not, they will meet to determine a new plan. The team consists of various people and may include the child’s teachers, school administrator, counselor, social worker, parents, and the 504 team or IEP team.

Special Considerations for IEP and Section 504 Students

Schools have an obligation to provide a safe and orderly atmosphere for learning. Every school needs a code of conduct and rules of behavior. The code lists what the rules are and what the consequence is for non-compliance. Even with methods of discipline, students do have basic rights:

  • Students and parents have the right to know in advance what the rules are
  • A student has the right to challenge and prove their innocence when there is an accusation of violating a rule
  • School rules can not violate the constitutional rights of the child

Special needs students may require more behavior intervention. In the United States, 13% of students qualify for special education. IDEA provides special protection for students who are on an IEP or 504 plan.

The child’s behavior is not excused, but the school does have an obligation to find a way of reducing the behavior. The school is unable to discipline a child for misbehavior that is a manifestation of their disability.

The school may not remove the child from school in a way that prevents the student from receiving educational services. The student may receive a suspension. However, once removals exceed a total of 10 days, it becomes a “change in placement” under IDEA.

Manifestation Determination

A good indicator of a need for a manifestation determination is if a child is repeatedly disciplined for the same type of behavior. This begins by reviewing the child’s IEP.

The IEP team needs to determine if the disability is contributing to the misbehavior. The team will review the IEP implementation and problem behavior. They will reach one of three determinations:

The cause of misbehavior is the child’s disability. In this case, a Functional Behavior Assessment needs to take place. This will lead to a Behavior Intervention Plan if necessary.

The behavior is the result of the IEP or 504 Plan not being adhered to. In this case, the school needs to fix the problem. Implementation of the IEP or 504 Plan needs to take place immediately.

The child’s disability did not cause behavior. The school can discipline the child in the same way it does other students. It must also continue to provide services because of a “change in placement.”

Many schools use restraint or seclusion as a way of disciplining students with disabilities. The law protects children on IEPs and 504 plans from these types of discipline.

The Virtual Classroom

With COVID-19 issues, virtual classrooms are normal throughout the United States. These set-ups provide unique behavior control issues. In a virtual learning experience, the teacher needs to establish boundaries and a schedule. They must also be adjustable in expectations about the student’s social-emotional and academic needs.

Children learning in the family environment presents new challenges. It is important to facilitate parent-teacher collaboration. You may need to advise parents on how to set up a good student workspace at home.

Make sure parents understand what tools their child needs to have on hand to complete assignments. You also may encounter the challenge of children not having appropriate technology at home.

Here are some tips for managing a virtual classroom:

  • Establish classroom structure and expectations early in the school year, including student goals
  • Use software platforms to display daily agendas, classroom rules, and announcements
  • Use visual clues, such as a notebook and pencil to indicate the child will be using those tools
  • Follow the same format for all lessons, and check-in with students to see how they are doing
  • Be flexible in when students may access lessons and when they must be due—not all students may be able to be online at 9:00 am and turn in their assignment by 3 pm
  • Establish ways to maintain a connection with each student, such as a video chat to see how they are doing and see if they have any questions
  • Maintain contact with parents to keep them up-to-date on classroom expectations and their child’s progress

Virtual Behavior Management

The establishment of a virtual classroom does not prevent behavior problems with certain students. You will need to establish behavior boundaries for your virtual classroom in much the same manner you do for in-person learning.

You must set boundaries for when you are available for video conferencing and establish office hours. You need to educate your students about plagiarism. You must also consider a variety of methods to communicate with your students.

Insights to Behavior

As a member of Insights to Behavior University, you will have access to more than 40 hours of professional development workshops. You will be able to participate in courses and print certificates of attendance.

This is not designed for organizations. It is directed at individual social workers, counselors, psychologists, teachers, and educators. The purpose is to enhance your own personal education and behavior management training. Insights to Behavior encompasses two modules with a suite of tools plus the University.

The behavior module contains in-class tools that allow you to create a behavior plan in under 60 minutes. It allows you to collect behavior data about the student and track their progress.

The module assists in identifying the behavior. It then provides guidance in alternative behaviors and has built-in reporting abilities.

Your membership includes valuable workshops:

  • Introduction to Behavior Management
  • Managing Challenging Behaviors
  • Improving Learning and Independence
  • Improving Social Skills
  • Topics for General Education Teachers
  • Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Special Topics Series

Sign up for Free

If you are a special education director, behavior interventionist, school psychologist, or school counselor, we invite you to sign up for a free managing student behavior series that has monthly distribution.

If you are a director of special education, we invite you to a 30-minute personal online demonstration of the Insights to Behavior software application. This software will help you to create a behavior intervention plan in less than an hour that is legally defensible.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help you find behavioral intervention plan solutions. Contact us today!

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