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Appendix B - Case Study 1
Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan
Planning Form

IEP teams can use this form to guide them through the process of developing the Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan.  Another sample form (Case Study 2) and a blank form are also available. 

Student __Thomas Jones__________________________ Age ___13_____ Sex ___M____
Teacher(s) __Ms. Gilbow / Team B______________________ Grade ____6th___________
Case Manager _Mrs. Brantley____________________________ Date(s) ___4/17/00_____

Reason for intervention plan:

Tom’s behavior often disrupts class. Yesterday he threw a dictionary across the room, knocked over his desk, kicked it, and began yelling obscenities at the teacher and the other students in the class (LD resource room). The teacher had to call for help from his ED resource room teacher to calm him down and safely remove him from the classroom.

Participants (specify names):

(x) student __Tom________________________
(x) family member
_Mrs. Jones______________
(x) special educator
Ms. Gilbow_____________
( ) general educator_______________________
( ) peer(s)_______________________________
( ) special education administrator_____________
(x) general education administrator_Mr. Scott____
( ) school psychologist ______________________
( ) other agency personnel ___________________
( ) other (specify) __________________________________________________________________


Fact Finding

  1. General learning environment: Describe the student’s school class schedule, including any special programs or services.
  2. Tom receives special education to provide support for his emotional difficulties and learning disability in two resource rooms. These classes provide instruction in math, language arts, reading, social skills, and social studies. He is in the regular classroom for specials, lunch, and science. He rides a special bus with a paraprofessional to school.

  3. Problem behavior: Define the problem behavior(s) in observable, measurable, and countable terms (i.e., topography, event, duration, seriousness, and/or intensity). Include several examples of the behavior.
  4. Thomas has Tourette’s Syndrome, a learning disability that manifests itself in reading and language arts, and an emotional disturbance. Symptoms of Tourette’s lead him to display distracting tics and vocalize curses during the usual course of the day. This sometimes causes his classmates to make uncomplimentary comments. His emotional and learning disabilities often lead to frustrating academic and social situations. When he becomes frustrated he often throws objects (books, book packs, pencils) turns over furniture (chairs or tables), and curses obscenities at the adults and other students present in the classroom.

  5. Setting events: Describe important things that are happening in the student’s life that may be causing the behavior(s) of concern.
  6. Thomas recently started to be mainstreamed more often in the regular classroom. He has begun to take science (as area of strength and interest) in the general education setting.

  7. Review existing data: Summarize previously collected information (records review, interviews, observations, and test results) relevant to the behavior(s).
  8. An examination of Tom’s medical records and interviews with his parents and teachers all reveal that due to Tourette’s Syndrome he has uncontrollable tics that cause his head to jerk to the side. Often during these tics he curses, a behavior that has never been observed in isolation.

    A review of his IEP, test results, and interviews with his parents and teachers reveal that he has learning problems that keep him from realizing success in the mainstream classroom and causes him a lot of frustration. He also is frustrated by the many rude comments made by his classmates regarding his tics. During unstructured time (recess, before school, between classes), it has been observed that other students tease him. His parents and teachers report that this really bothers Tom and makes it difficult for him to make friends. He spends most of his spare time with his 4th grade sister who walks him to and from class in the mornings and afternoons.

    Possible Explanations

  9. Identify likely antecedents (precipitating events) to the behavior(s).
  10. Academic frustration

    Social ridicule by peers

  11. Identify likely consequences that may be maintaining the behavior(s).
  12. When Tom acts out he is removed from the situation. We believe that this behavior allows him to escape a frustrating situation.

  13. Identify and describe any academic or environmental context(s) in which the problem behavior(s) does not occur.
  14. This problem has never occurred in the resource room for students with emotional disturbance. Parents report that it rarely occurs at home and that Tom did not have the same problem in his 5th grade class. They also report that Tom was asked not to return to the local YMCA because of his acting-out behavior.


  15. Functional assessment: Do you already have enough information to believe that the possible explanations are sufficient to plan an intervention?
    1. If yes, go to Step 9, if no, then what additional data collection is necessary?
    2. ( )Review of IEP goals and objectives
      ( )Review of medical records
      ( ) Review of previous intervention plans
      ( ) Review of incident reports
      ( ) ABC (across time and situations)
      ( ) Motivational analysis
      (x) Ecological analysis
      (x) Curricular analysis
      ( ) Scatter plot
      ( ) Parent questionnaire/interview
      (x) Student questionnaire/interview
      (x) Teacher questionnaire/interview (specify who) Mr. Elliott—5th grade teacher______
      (x) Other (explain) Talk with director of the YMCA_____________________________

    3. Summarize data. Attach additional sheets if necessary.

Tom does not seem to have problems in environments that are well supervised and where he is not expected to perform tasks that are more difficult than his skill level.

  • The YMCA director reported that the other kids teased Tom and that Tom would just "explode." He said that he knew the other kids antagonized Tom, but he was afraid someone would get hurt if Tom was permitted to continue to come to the Y. He told Tom that when his behavior was under control he was welcome to return.
  • Mr. Elliott, his 5th grade teacher said that at the beginning of the school year he had his class study Tourette’s Syndrome and had guest speaker come in to discuss the effects of Tourette’s. Tom even led some of the discussion. He felt that once the other students understood what was happening they were more comfortable with the tics and soon they began to ignore them.
  • Tom is about 2 years behind his grade-peers in reading and written language ability. He is intelligent and can understand grade level tasks that are presented orally. When he is permitted to respond orally rather than writing an answer, he performs on grade level. If he is asked to read aloud or silently or is asked to fill out worksheets without assistance he becomes frustrated or distracted and does not complete his work.
  • Tom does better in structured environments where there is adult supervision. Adults in these environments seem to deter the teasing of his peers and provide him with individual help in academics. Ms. Gilbow, his ED resource teacher, reports that he does well when given independent work on his grade level. She says that he does well in structured cooperative learning groups where he is permitted to respond orally and other team members do the writing and reading aloud. She also reports that Tourette’s Syndrome was thoroughly discussed at the beginning of the school year and reviewed when new students are placed in her class.



  1. Formulate hypothesis statement: Using the table below, determine why the student engages in problem behavior(s), whether the behavior(s) serves single or multiple functions, and what to do about the behavior(s).




    Obtain Something







    Avoid Something



    Expectation of ridicule about his tics and embarrassment associated with school failure.



    Avoiding ridicule by avoiding social situations in which peers tease him.

  3. Current level of performance: Describe problem behavior(s) in a way the team will recognize onset and conclusion of behavior.
  4. Tom becomes noticeably frustrated and tics increase in response to peer taunting or difficult academic assignments. He hangs his head down low and focuses intently on one thing before a big outburst of aggressive behavior. He becomes nonverbal except for the obscenities associated with Tourette’s Syndrome.

  5. Describe replacement behavior(s) that are likely to serve the same function as the behavior(s) identified in Step 9.
  6. Tom will approach the adult in charge of the setting when he notices himself getting agitated and ask to have assistance—either academic help or counseling. This will allow him to escape the situation without using inappropriate behavior.

  7. Measurement procedures for problem behavior(s) and replacement behavior(s):
    1. Describe how (e.g., permanent products, event recording, scatterplot), when, and where student behavior(s) will be measured.
    2. Using event recording, Tom will be taught to count the number of times he becomes frustrated and the number of times he has outbursts vs. how often he asks for help. He will be given a checklist to record this on.

    3. Summarize data by specifying which problem behavior(s) and replacement behavior(s) will be targets for intervention.
    4. Problem behavior: out of control anger—throws things, hits or kicks, uses unacceptable language, or makes threatening remarks or actions.

    Replacement behavior: appropriately deal with anger—1) he asks for help from an adult or peer when he feels angry and thinks he needs to leave a situation; 2) he will use self-talk and anger management skills to independently deal with his anger.

  8. Behavioral intervention plan:
    1. Specify goals and objectives (conditions, criteria for acceptable performance) for teaching the replacement behavior(s).
    2. Working with the Ms. Gilbow, the ED resource room teacher, Tom will verbally identify and describe the physical signs that he experiences when he is becoming angry.

      Tom will recognize when he is becoming angry and will seek the assistance of an adult rather than acting-out 100% of the time.

      Tom will contact the director of the local YMCA and report his progress at controlling his temper, and discuss the technique that he uses to manage this. He will ask if he can return to the YMCA and use his skills with the adults that supervise after school activities there.

    3. Specify instructional strategies that will be used to teach the replacement behavior(s).
    4. The ED resource room teacher will model thinking aloud using a role-play situation in which she becomes angry. She will identify why she thinks she is angry and will discuss all the possible ways to deal with her anger. She will model choosing an option that helps her reduce her anger in acceptable ways.

      Tom will role-play situations in which he has a history of becoming angry (e.g., on the recess field, in the classroom, in the hall during passing time) with the ED resource room teacher and other students. He will model his self-talk and will discuss ways of dealing with his anger in acceptable ways (e.g., enlist the help of an adult or trusted peer). He will choose a time when he usually encounters anger and frustration to practice this technique and will report back to his teacher and the class the outcomes of this technique. If the technique was successful he will identify other situations in which it could be used. If it is unsuccessful, he will work with his teacher and peers to identify reasons why it did not work and suggest modifications.

      Tom will used the technique in other school and non-school settings.

    5. Specify strategies that will be used to decrease problem behavior(s) and increase replacement behavior(s).
    6. The adults that work with Tom will be told the signs to look for that indicate that Tom is beginning to feel frustration. They will approach him and ask him if he needs to talk. Anytime he asks them if he can speak with the counselor or to them about the way he feels, they will comply immediately or send him to an environment with an adult who can talk with Tom if they are busy with other things.

    7. Identify any changes in the physical environment needed to prevent problem behavior(s) and to promote desired (replacement) behavior(s), if necessary.
    8. 1. Tom will be given the opportunity to respond to academic questions verbally (either aloud or on a tape recorder). Tom will never be asked to read aloud in class unless he asks to. He will be given audio tapes with the written materials read aloud on them, or work in cooperative groups in which other students read the written materials aloud.

      2. Tom’s classmates will be taught about Tourette’s syndrome and will be given the opportunity to ask questions of experts (including Tom, if he feels comfortable) about the syndrome.

    9. Specify extent to which intervention plan will be implemented in various settings; specify settings and persons responsible for implementation of plan.
    10. This plan will first be implemented in the ED resource room and then in the LD resource room. Once Tom has identified the physical signs that he is becoming angry he will share them with his other teachers (Science) and his parents. The intervention plan will then be implemented in those settings, as well. Once Tom has gone for 2 weeks without having a behavior incident in which he loses control, he will contact the director of the YMCA (with adult support, if he feels it is necessary) to discuss the possibility of his return.

  9. Evaluation plan and schedule: Describe the plan and timetable to evaluate effectiveness of the intervention plan.
    1. Describe how, when, where, and how often the problem behavior(s) will be measured.
    2. For the first 3 weeks, Tom and his ED resource room teacher will discuss and chart (percent of appropriate reactions to his anger) his progress daily. They will compare it to the number of outbursts during the previous 2 weeks. If after 3 weeks Tom’s behavior has not decreased by at least 50%, the team will meet again to discuss possible changes in the intervention. If after 6 weeks Tom’s behavior has not decreased by at least 90%, the team will meet again to discuss possible changes in the intervention. At 8 weeks Tom should have no incidents of outbursts at school.

    3. Specify persons and settings involved.
    4. Initially it will be the responsibility of the ED resource room teacher. The intervention will then be initiated in the LD resource room, Tom’s science class, and at home. Once Tom has had no outbursts for 2 weeks, the intervention will be extended to the YMCA (with the director’s agreement).

    5. Specify a plan for crisis/emergency intervention, if necessary
    6. Should Tom have a behavior outburst the ED resource room teacher will be called in to help.

    7. Determine schedule to review/modify the intervention plan, as needed. Include dates and criteria for changing/fading the plan.
    8. 8 May 2000 Review/modify if the behavior has not reduced by 50%.
      29 May 2000 Review/modify if the behavior has not reduced by 99%.
      12 June 2000 Review/modify if the behavior has not reached 0.

  10. Describe plan and timetable to monitor the degree to which the plan is being implemented.

Each Friday the ED resource room teacher will contact Tom’s other teachers and the recess supervisors to discuss the implementation of the plan. Any time Tom has a behavior outburst, the ED resource teacher will conduct an out-briefing with the adult in charge to discuss the situation and to determine whether the plan was followed as written.

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