1. Develop and Implement Behavioral Intervention Plan
  1. Monitor Faithfulness of the Implementation of the Plan
  2. Evaluate Effectiveness of the Behavioral Intervention Plan
  3. Modify the Behavioral Intervention Plan

Elements of a Behavioral Intervention Plan

When an IEP team has determined that a behavioral intervention plan is necessary, the team members generally use information about the problem behavior's function, gathered from the functional behavioral assessment. The IEP team should include strategies to: (a) teach the student more acceptable ways to get what he or she wants; (b) decrease future occurrences of the misbehavior; and (c) address any repeated episodes of the misbehavior. The resulting behavioral intervention plan generally will not consist then of simply one intervention; it will be a plan with a number of interventions designed to address these three aspects of addressing a student's problem behavior. The forms provided in Appendices A, B and C can help guide IEP teams through the process of conducting a functional behavioral assessment and writing and implementing a positive behavioral intervention plan. We encourage readers to refer to these forms as they read through the following sections.

Most behavioral intervention plans are designed to teach the student a more acceptable behavior that replaces the inappropriate behavior, yet serves the same function (e.g., ways to gain peer approval through positive social initiations; ways to seek teacher attention through non-verbal signals). Since most plans will require multiple intervention options rather than a single intervention, however, IEP teams may want to consider the following techniques when designing behavior intervention plans, strategies, and supports:

  • Teach more acceptable replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the inappropriate behavior, such as asking to be left alone or using conflict resolution skills, or alternative skills, such as self-management techniques, tolerating delay, or coping strategies;
  • Teach students to deal with setting events (the things that make the desired behavior more likely to occur), such as the physical arrangement of the classroom, management strategies, seating arrangements, or sequence of academic instruction;
  • Manipulate the antecedents (the things that happen before the behavior occurs) to the desired behavior, such as teacher instructions or directions, or instructional materials;
  • Manipulate consequences (the things that happen after the behavior occurs) of the desired behavior, such as precise praise or feedback, keeping in mind the principles of shaping and reinforcing incompatible behaviors;
  • Implement changes to the classroom curriculum and/or instructional strategies, for example, multi-level instruction, or encouraging oral rather than written responses; and
  • Begin interventions that offer reinforcement for appropriate behavior, such as student performance contracts or group motivational strategies.

Using these strategies, school personnel can develop a plan to both teach and support replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the current problem behavior. At the same time, employing these techniques when developing the behavioral intervention plan can yield interventions that decrease or eliminate opportunities for the student to engage in the inappropriate behavior. For example, a student may be physically aggressive at recess because he or she believes violence is the best way to end a confrontational situation and that such behaviors help accomplish his or her goals. However, when taught to use problem-solving skills (e.g., self-control or conflict resolution) to end a confrontational situation and accomplish his or her goal, while using more effective management strategies with the student during recess, the student may be more likely to deal with volatile situations in a non-violent manner (e.g., defusing the situation by avoiding threatening or provocative remarks or behavior).

This step in the process of creating positive behavioral intervention plans and supports includes discussion of information on strategies to address different functions of a student's behavior and how to select the appropriate interventions; skill deficits and performance deficits; student supports; and reinforcement considerations and procedures. It also addresses special considerations, such as the use of punishment and emergency/crisis plans. The IEP team should know about and consider all of these elements as it develops and implements the behavioral intervention plan.