What is a Behavior Plan?
Behavior Plans must be based on Functional Behavior Assessment or Analysis
Behavior plans should be developed with the function(s) of behavior taken into consideration. By conducting Functional Assessments, we can determine more information about WHY behaviors occur and HOW we can most effectively teach socially significant replacement behaviors. When taking a behavior analytic approach to assessment and treatment, it is important to remember that we are not only looking to reduce (decelerate) behavior. We are also looking to establish a skill-building provider-client relationship.
Who needs a behavior plan?
According to I.D.E.A. a behavior intervention plan must be created for any learner whose behavior impedes their learning or the learning of others in their environment. Generally, behavior plans are useful anytime there are behaviors we want to systematically decrease (e.g., property destruction, self-harm, aggression) or increase (e.g., participating, advocating for oneself, initiating conversation, pretend play).
What are the components of a behavior plan?
- Operational definitions: describe the behavior in detail. Provide examples and non examples, so others can detect when behaviors start and stop.
- Preventative strategies: decreasing aversive properties of a task or transition, preparing learners about upcoming changes.
- Response strategies: how to respond to a behavior once it has a occurred in a way that will minimize reinforcement for challenging behavior, maintain a safe environment, and help the learner meet their needs by systematically teaching replacement strategies.
- Use clear and explicit language, so others can easily understand descriptions and instructions. Provide examples when possible.
- Person responsible for development of plan: while often a team process, a point person should be clearly identified.
- Schedule for on-going monitoring: behavior plans should be updated and revised as often as needed, and at least annually or when circumstances (e.g., new teacher, different school, sibling born, move to new town, etc.) change.
Sample behavior plans
Please note these are sample behavior plans and all information has been contrived for the purposes of showcasing components of a behavior plan. When developing behavior plans, it is important (and analysts are ethically obligated) to obtain consent from caregivers, as well as assent from the learner. If you have comments, questions, concerns, or ideas, please reach out to me directly at Behaviorbabe@yahoo.com. I appreciate you and welcome you to be part of the discussion.
- A mismatch between the intervention and the targeted behavior. Sometimes the IEP team assumes the misbehavior happens for one reason, but the real reason is something else completely.
- A failure to monitor and adjust the rewards or reinforcement for appropriate behavior over time. What works at first might soon become “old hat” and need to be switched up.