Developing the Behavior Intervention Plan
O’Neill et al. suggest that “the heart of a behavior support plan lies in the extent to which the plan is (a) based on functional assessment results, (b) consistent with fundamental principles of behavior, and (c) a good contextual ‘fit’ with the values, resources, and skills of all people in the setting.”
Iovannome and colleagues have established the following components as those necessary to include in every behavior intervention plan:
- Description of the Target Behavior (operationally defined, easily observable and measurable, includes examples and nonexamples)
- Hypothesis Statement (developed based on information gathered during the FBA)
- Antecedent Modifications (What can be done to prevent the occurrence of the fast triggers? Describe the modifications in enough detail for them to be implemented)
- Replacement Behaviors (What new behavior will be taught or what current behavior will be increased that serves the same function as the behavior targeted for reduction and allow the student to achieve the same outcome?)
- Strategies for Reinforcing the Replacement Behavior (What is the immediate benefit to the student? How will the student be rewarded for engaging in the new or emerging behavior in a way that addresses the function of the behavior?)
- Strategies for Reducing the Target Behavior (What will be the response should the target behavior occur?)
- Crisis Plan (Should the strategies for reducing the target behavior not be effective if the target behavior occurs in a manner that jeopardizes the safety of the student or others, how should others respond?)
- Data Collection and Monitoring of the Target and Replacement Behaviors (What type of data will be collected, when, and by whom? Once the data are collected, how often will the date be monitored and by whom? Based on the data, how often will updates be made to the BIP? What are the criteria for determining that the intervention has been successful?)
- Staff Training and Monitoring (Who is responsible for training others to implement this BIP? What is the process for training others to implement the plan? How often will staff be observed to ensure they are implementing this plan as written? When will this plan be reviewed again?)
Prevention strategies, or antecedent modifications have been discussed in several other modules. A few examples of prevention strategies will be described next.
 O’Neill, R. E., Horner, R. H., Albin, R. W., Sprague, J. R., Storey, K., & Newton, J. S. (1997). Functional assessment and program development for problem behavior. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.
 Iovannone, R., & Christiansen, K. (March 2011). Evaluating the Technical Adequacy of FBAs and BIPs: How are Schools Doing? Paper presentation at the annual meeting of the Association for Positive Behavior Support, Denver, CO.
Iovannone, R., Christiansen, K., & Kincaid, D. (2010). Current functional behavior assessment practices in schools: An examination of technical adequacy. Manuscript in preparation.
You’ve probably heard this old joke: A man says to his doctor, “Doctor, when I do this [make an arm movement], it hurts.” The doctor says, “Well, stop doing this” [make same arm movement].
This is really just an example of prevention strategy – changing what is going on before a behavior, or in this case pain, occurs to reduce or prevent the likelihood that behavior (or pain) will happen.
Examples of Prevention Strategies for School
Modify Structure and Organization of the Environment
- Dimming the lighting in the classroom
- Creating specific areas within the classroom in which different behaviors are expected (sitting quietly in the individual work space, talking in the small group space).
- Balancing activities across the day, activity, or class (e.g., quiet/noisy, active/passive, large group/small group, adult-directed/learner-directed.
- Zoning – classroom staff are assigned different areas and activities within the roomthroughout the day to assist with transitions and encourage on-task behavior.
Modify Instructional Delivery
- Using preferred or high-interest materials
- Providing choices
- Altering task difficulty or duration
- Pre-activity interventions (warnings about transitions or schedule changes)
- Ensuring students have prerequisite skills
- Incentive plans
- Structuring time within activities (utilizing visual timers, etc.)
- Visual cues/visual schedules
- Access to appropriate behaviors (Allow chewing gum instead of playing with saliva.)
(Umbreit, Ferro, Liaupsin, & Lane, 2007)
Examples of Prevention Strategies for Home
- Verbally or visually prepare children for transitions
- Use a visual schedule to outline the day
- Provide choices
- Use "if-then" statements
- Adjust your expectations for your child when there is a lack of sleep or eating habits have changed
- Provide your child with your undivided attention for 10 minutes per day
- Be animated in your positive interactions - don't save the passion for negative interactions
In this Module, we provided you with an overview of a behavior intervention plan and focused primarily on prevent and replace sections of the BIP. Both of these sections of the behavior intervention plan address behavioral function. There are many steps to developing a successful behavior intervention plan. Completing the functional behavior assessment is merely the starting point for identifying the function, or purpose, of a specific behavior. Once this information is known, then functionally-equivalent replacement behaviors (FERB) should be identified. Functionally-equivalent replacement behaviors may be any behavior that allows a person to access the same outcome as the target behavior. In other words, the FERB will serve the same purpose as the target behavior.
In the example illustrated above, a child is presented with a task and then begins to scream and yell. Subsequent to the child screaming and yelling, the task is removed. A FERB, would be any behavior that would allow the child to access the same outcome. Some possible options might be: (a) raise hand to indicate task refusal; (b) request an alternate activity instead; (c) request a break; (d) place head on desk; or (e) point to an icon to have task removed.
Once a functionally-equivalent replacement behavior is identified, then the focus of the plan should be on teaching the replacement behavior. By focusing on the replacement behavior, occurrences of the target behavior should be ignored if at all possible. Ultimately, once the FERB is occurring consistently, then the focus of the behavior intervention plan can shift so that the individual is required to increase their effort (in this example, participation in the task) in order to access the same outcome. This pattern would continue until the outcome is the child completing the assigned task.