The first step in a BIP is to begin the FBA (Functional Behavior Analysis). Even if a Certified Behavior Analyst or Psychologist is going to do the FBA, the teacher will be the person to identify which behaviors most impact a child's progress. It is essential that the teacher describes the behavior in an operational way that will make it easy for the other professionals to complete the FBA.
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. A Functional Behavioral Analysis will identify target behaviors operationally and the antecedent conditions. 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
The last step is to get your document approved by the IEP team, including the general education teacher, the special education supervisor, the principal, the psychologist, the parents and anyone else who will be involved in implementing the BIP.
A wise special educator has been working to involve each of the stakeholders at the beginning of the process. That means phone calls to parents, so the Behavior Improvement Plan is not a big surprise, and so the parent doesn't feel like they and the child are being punished. Heaven help you if you end up at a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) without a good BIP and rapport with the parent. Also be sure that you keep the general ed teacher in the loop.
5. Implement the plan
Once the meeting is over, it's time to put the plan into place! Be sure that you set a time with all the members of the implementation team to meet briefly and evaluate progress. Be sure to ask the tough questions. What is not working? What needs to be tweeked? Who's collecting the data? How is that working? Be sure you are all on the same page!