ADDRESSING STUDENT PROBLEM BEHAVIOR:An IEP Team’s Introduction To Functional Behavioral Assessment And Behavior Intervention Plans

By | April 16, 2020

Individuals Assessing Behavior

Persons responsible for conducting the functional behavioral assessment will vary from state to state and possibly from district to district. Some behavioral assessment procedures, such as standardized tests, may require an individual with specific training (e.g., behavior specialist or school psychologist). With specialized training, experience, and support, however, many components of the assessment can be conducted by other individuals, such as special or general education teachers, counselors, and administrators. Again, it is important to note that interventions should not be based upon one assessment measure, alone, or upon data collected by only one observer.

Behavior Intervention Plans

After collecting data on a student’s behavior, and after developing a hypothesis of the likely function of that behavior, a team develops (or revises) the student’s behavior intervention plan or strategies in the IEP. These may include positive strategies, program or curricular modifications, and supplementary aids and supports required to address the disruptive behaviors in question. It is helpful to use the data collected during the functional behavioral assessment to develop the behavior intervention plan or strategies and to determine the discrepancy between the child’s actual and expected behavior.

The input of the general education teacher, as appropriate (i.e., if the student is, or may be participating in the regular education environment), is especially crucial at this point. He or she will be able to relay to the team not only his or her behavioral expectations, but also valuable information about how the existing classroom environment and/or general education curriculum can be modified to support the student.

Intervention plans and strategies emphasizing skills students need in order to behave in a more appropriate manner, or plans providing motivation to conform to required standards, will be more effective than plans that simply serve to control behavior. Interventions based upon control often fail to generalize (i.e., continue to be used for long periods of time, in many settings, and in a variety of situations) — and many times they serve only to suppress behavior — resulting in a child manifesting unaddressed needs in alternative, inappropriate ways. Positive plans for behavioral intervention, on the other hand, will address both the source of the problem and the problem itself.

IEP teams may want to consider the following techniques when designing behavior intervention plans, strategies, and supports:

Manipulate the antecedents and/or consequences of the behavior;
Teach more acceptable replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the inappropriate behavior;
Implement changes in curriculum and instructional strategies; and
Modify the physical environment.

The following section describes some ideas IEP teams may consider when developing behavior intervention plans and strategies.

Prepared By The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice

Mary Magee Quinn, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
Robert A. Gable, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Old Dominion University
Robert B. Rutherford, Jr., Ph.D., Research Fellow, Arizona State University
C. Michael Nelson, Ed.D., Research Fellow, University Of Kentucky
Kenneth W. Howell, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Western Washington University

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COPYRIGHT: This information is copyright free. Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice.

This document was produced under grant number H237T60005. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education or any other Federal agency and should not be regarded as such. The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice: Improving Services for Children and Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Problems is funded under a cooperative agreement with the Office of Special Education Programs, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, with additional support from the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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