What is a Behavior Plan?
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., yelling, non-compliance, hitting) or increase (e.g., participating, 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
- 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.