creating effective BIPs

How to Create an Effective Behavior Intervention Plan

Students who misbehave in school regularly often fall behind academically and have a hard time learning. Most kids get in trouble from time to time, but a child who acts out consistently may need a formal plan to get their behavior under control.

The goal of a behavior plan is to address and prevent negative behaviors, not to punish the child. The hope is to put the child back on track to a brighter, more prosperous future.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to create an effective behavior intervention plan.

What Is a Behavioral Intervention Plan

A behavioral intervention plan (BIP) is a written plan to help a child having repeated behavior problems in the classroom setting. The aim is to teach and reward good behavior and prevent or stop negative behaviors.

The plan should be based on a functional assessment. The focus should be on positive behaviors to replace the targeted negative behaviors when possible.

Having a BIP in place allows everyone to be on the same page when addressing a child’s behavioral issues. It will enable behavior specialists, counselors, teachers, family members, and anyone involved to follow the same protocol for dealing with the child’s behavior. 

A BIP isn’t always successful at first. The plan may need tweaking over time. 

Who Gets a BIP

Not every child who acts up in the classroom needs a BIP. These plans are for students with severe behavior issues that interfere with the learning process in some way.

Some students already have an IEP or 504 plan to help them be successful in the classroom. In some cases, this isn’t enough. The special education team can add a BIP to offer more structure for these students.

Students don’t need to be in a special education program to get a BIP. Any student who’s failing to be successful in the classroom due to their behavior may benefit from behavior intervention.

Student Involvement

When you create a behavioral plan, each plan should be unique. What works for one student won’t necessarily work for another.

It’s essential to create an individualized plan to address the student’s particular issues and needs. Involve the student as much as possible in the plan.

Ask the student about their views on the problem and what they can do to solve it. It’s interesting to hear their take on the situation.

It also helps the child feel like they have a voice in the process, and it’s an excellent way to make sure the plan is specific to their needs.

Functional Behavioral Analysis

A standard behavior intervention plan is based on the results of a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA). In most situations, a behavioral specialist, psychologist, or special education professional performs an FBA. 

The analysis allows for a better understanding of the root causes of a child’s behavior, which leads to a more individualized approach. An FBA is based on the Behaviorist Anagram or ABC: antecedent (the causes), behavior, and consequence.

BIP Content

A Behavioral intervention plan should include the following components.

Antecedent Strategies

Antecedent strategies help prevent negative behaviors or make the behaviors irrelevant. When the behavior becomes irrelevant, the student has no incentive to continue with it.

Consider what changes you can make in the classroom environment to:

  • Prevent or eliminate the antecedent. 
  • Make the preceding event less impactful.
  • Make the antecedent less likely to trigger the behavior.
  • Use evidence-based prevention strategies. 

Some simple strategies may include moving a child to another table or desk or taking the time to reinforce positive replacement behaviors.

Changes in the learning environment can help many children with behavior and attention problems. 

Targeted Negative Behaviors

A BIP should be a personalized plan to target the behaviors of interest. These behaviors may be interrelated and should be narrow in scope. Most behavior plans focus on one to four behaviors of interest.

Response Strategies

A BIP should include steps for responding to the desired behavior and behavior of concern. The response to new positive behavior should be as strong as the response to negative behavior.

The most important aspect of a response strategy is making sure negative behaviors aren’t reinforced. Be sure to have a protocol in place to handle behaviors if they occur.

Some strategies may include ignoring the behavior but not the student and staying calm to block aggression.

Data Collection

Be sure to set a goal of what you expect of a student’s behavior within a specific time frame. You want to collect data to see if the BIP is helping to decrease areas of concern and increase positive behavior.

As you implement the BIP, compare the student’s actual progress to the goal. It helps you see what parts of the plan are working and if any adjustments are necessary.

Things to Watch For

Children change over time, and you have to adjust behavior plans to reflect these changes. Not every behavior plan will work the first time you implement it. Sometimes the behaviors continue, and new strategies are necessary.

The school may not have all the information about what is causing a child to act out. Parents and children sometimes hide sensitive information, so it’s essential to try to understand the root of the behavior issues.

The school and the family should review the plan regularly. The plan needs to change with the child to be effective.

Rewards and incentives may lose their effectiveness over time. What interests a child one year may seem babyish to them the next. 

Above all, it’s crucial for everyone involved to communicate and follow the BIP guidelines for the best chance of success.

Effective Behavior Intervention Plans

The goal of behavior intervention is to make the child’s negative behaviors irrelevant, inefficient, and ineffective. The hope is to teach these students new, productive ways to meet their needs in the classroom and at home.

If you would like more information on behavior intervention plans, we’d love to talk with you about ways to help your students succeed. Contact us today.

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