How to write a BIP, a Behavior Intervention Plan
Required by IDEA for Children with Problem Behavior, a BIP can Shape Success.
By Jerry Webster, About.com Guide
A BIP or Behavior Intervention Plan, is required by Federal Law (IDEA) when behavior is cited as an impediment to a child’s academic success in the IEP. A parent who knows special ed law or a district that is concerned about solving behavior problems will use a BIP as a proactive way to deal with problem behaviors. When well written, a BIP is a great tool for tackling challenging behaviors, identifying goals, identifying those responsible for the intervention and laying out an intervention.
The BIP Plan is written once an FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) has been prepared. The plan may be written by the teacher, a school psychologist or a behavior specialist. In most large city school districts or smaller or rural districts, it’s likely that the teacher will be writing his or her own BIP. A well written Functional Behavioral Analysis will identify target behaviors operationally (described so any two observers will recognize the behavior.) It will describe the antecedent conditions, or the specific circumstances that usually lead to the behavior. It will also describe the consequence, which in an FBA is the thing that reinforces the behavior. See ABC in Special Ed 101. Understanding the consequence will also help choose a replacement behavior.
Example: When Jonathon is given a math pages with fractions (antecedent,) he will bang his head on his desk. (behavior) The classroom aide will come and attempt to soothe him, so he doesn’t have to do his math page (consequence: avoidance.)
Your state or school district may have a form you must use for a Behavior Improvement Plan. It, and your BIP should include:
- Target Behaviors
- Specific, measurable goals
- Intervention description and method
- Start and frequency of intervention
- Method of Evaluation
- Persons responsible for each part of the intervention and evaluation
- Data from Evaluation,/li>
Target Behaviors. The targeted behaviors need to be described operationally, so that a neutral third party would recognize the behavior. The description may include intensity (how loud do they scream?) frequency (how often to they scream, say per hour,) and duration (how long do they scream?) A tantrum especially needs an operational definition.
Specific Measurable Goals This should include not only the decrease in undesirable targeted behavior but an increase in a targeted replacement behavior. A child in my class tears up his clothing. The replacement behavior is for him to request a clean shirt. It’s working.
Example Philip will shout out answers during instruction time less than 1 incident per half hour instructional period over three consecutive observations of 180 minutes.
Intervention Description and Method: Describe the replacement behavior, and how the replacement behavior will be reinforced. I would not personally recommend consequences for the behavior you are trying to extinguish, nor would anyone with ABA training, but you might legally get away with it. If this is a long term or multi-stepped intervention, you will want to set up reinforcement schedules and the different steps of intervention.
Example 1 Philip will raise his hand while Mrs. Docent is teaching in front of the class when he wishes to participate. He will get a high 5 from Mrs. Docent when his participation is appropriate. (Attention has been determined to be the function of the behavior.) He will also get a check on his chart for each half hour he raises his hand rather than calling out. Mrs. Docent will point out when he has failed to get a check, when he calls out. If Philip gets 4 checks in the morning (beginning of the intervention) he will get to chose who he would like to eat lunch with. If Philip gets all his checks he will be the line leader for lunch.
Example 2 (Not one I would recommend, but one for the consequence fans.) Philip will get a check in a box for each half hour each time he calls out. If Philip gets 6 or more checks in the morning, he will lose his recess. The flaw in this intervention is it focuses on the behavior you want to extinguish, and it provides a consequence rather than reinforcement.
Start and Frequency of Intervention. Give a date certain, no more than 30 days after your meeting, but much sooner if possible. If the intervention is not only for the home room or one particular settings you may want to state the intervention will be daily, from 9:00 to 2:30 or whenever you are collecting information.
Method of Evaluation: For most BIP’s, if you have set a goal for target behaviors that include duration, frequency or intensity, you will want to create measuring tools, usually a check off, that can be used during observation of the behavior. The period of the observation may be stated in the description of the specific measurable goal.
Persons Responsible. If it will be the responsibility of the general ed classroom teacher to reinforce the appropriate behavior, be sure that he or she is on board and understands and agrees with the BIP goals. Be sure, if the intervention is to go over into specials, such as gym or music, that those teachers are informed, even trained, how to collect the information.
Data From Your Intervention: Be sure to make up data sheets when you write your FBA: it will make it much easier to when you start the intervention, if you have created data sheets when you wrote the BIP.
The only thing left to do is present it, and hope to win the full cooperation of the parents, your director or LEA, and the other teachers who will be enforcing the replacement behaviors and extinguishing the problem behaviors.