Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
A Behavior Support Plan is part of the IEP. The IEP is known as the Individual Education Program that is developed yearly for students in special education and those who have special needs and are in general education.
Not all children who have an IEP need a Behavior Support Plan. My son Nicholas has never had one, yet his brother Matthew has had a plan for the past five years. The plan changes each year and is written with the IEP.
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) changed their Behavior Support Plan recently. Now there are three pages that need to be filled out with the majority of the answers a multiple-choice selection. Previously there were two forms that were filled out with about seven lines to specify the details.
First I will share how the earlier Behavior Support Plan was written to give parents an idea of what a Behavior Support Plan may look like from their school district. This is a blank format where the IEP team determines what to include in the form.
1. Describe the behavior (include frequency)
2. What occurs before the behavior?
3. What occurs after the behavior?
4. When does the behavior occur?
5. Where does the behavior occur?
6. Who is present/absent when the behavior occurs?
7. Reason for the behavior (what purpose does the behavior serve for the student)?
8. Identify alternative behaviors that could serve the same purpose for the student
9. Reinforcement strategies to support the student’s learning
10.Modifications and support in the school/classroom environment
11.Communication and monitoring – responsible personnel (with other teachers/with parent/with student/staffing, how often)
12.Modification of the curriculum/recommended teaching strategies
13.Goals and objectives – goal, responsible personnel, begin date/goal to be achieved by/progress to be reported to parent by (conference, report card, progress report)
Incremental objective #1 related to goal – date to be achieved/method of evaluation (daily behavior chart, behavior records, record of observations – frequency data)
Incremental objective #2 (same as #1)
Here are some of the reinforcement strategies written into Matthew’s IEPs.
Verbal praise, smiles, sensory input – deep pressure, weighted vest, bean bag chair. Favored activities – bubbles, water play, voice output toys, sand, puzzles, visual materials, computers, magna doodle, need sound and lights.
I attended a workshop two weeks prior to the triennial IEP this past spring. This is the current Behavior Support Plan form in place.
Behavior Support Plan – For Behavior Interfering with Student’s Learning or the Learning of His/Her Peers
1. The behavior impeding learning is, describe what it looks like
2. It impedes learning because – lack of work production/disrupts other students/requires instruction to stop/instructional time is lost/negative interaction with peers/other
3. The need for behavior support plan – early stage intervention/moderate/serious/extreme
4. Frequency or intensity or duration of behavior – frequency (times) intensity/duration – reported by and/or observed by
5. What are the predictors for the behavior (situations in which the behavior is likely to occur: people, time, place, subject, etc).
Disruption in routines/time of day/unstructured time/events from previous environments/work level higher than student’s ability/internal physical/emotional state/lack of freedom, choice, desirable activities, friends/verbal directives/peer conflict/room conditions/lack of predictability/over or under stimulation/specific room arrangement
6. What supports the student using the problem behavior (what is missing in the environment/curriculum or what is the environment/curriculum that needs changing?)
Present in the environment – classroom seating arrangement/noise levels/peer status gained for misbehavior/inappropriate materials/interactions (adult and/or peers)
Missing in the environment – transition skills/re-teaching/social skills instruction/choices/schedule/task structuring/consequences not clear to student/conflict resolution skills/effective communication with parent/communication system
7. What environmental changes, structure and supports are needed to remove the students's need to use this behavior(changes in time/space/materials/
interactions to remove the likelihood of behavior)
Time changes – give more or less time on tasks/signal transition/allow completion in parts/teach a closure system/provide a break
Space changes – preferred seating/different work areas/study carrels/personal space
Material changes – accommodated work/hands-on learning/tasks organized/high interest materials/notebook organizer/enlarged print size books
Interaction – use specific supportive words/cue the student/model/verbally praise student/praise successes/peer models/use specific support communication/use calm, de-escalating language
Who will establish, who will monitor, frequency?
8. Team believes the behavior occurs because (function of behavior in terms of getting, protest or avoiding something)
To get – sensory input/attention(peer)/attention(staff)/tangible (desired item)/tangible (desired activity)
To avoid – sensory input/attention(peer)/attention(staff)/task (too difficult)/task (too easy)/task (too long)
9. What team believes the student should do INSTEAD of the problem behavior? (How should the student escape/protest/avoid or get his/her need met in an acceptable way?)
10. What teaching strategies/necessary curriculum/materials are needed (List successive teaching steps for student to learn replacement behavior(s)?
Better communication skills/anger management/communication system/self-management system/follow schedules & routines/learning new scripts/learning new social skills/learning how to negotiate/learning structured choice/learning notebook organization/learning to use conflict resolution
Who will establish – who will monitor – frequency?
11. What are reinforcement procedures to use for establishing, maintaining, and generalizing the replacement behavior(s)?
Physical – high fives/smiles/handshake/pat on the back
Verbal – use specific phrases/recognition of student’s strengths and talents/peer recognition
Contingent access – time on the computer/free time/listen to music/preferred activity/describe
Tangibles – positive phone calls or notes to home/certificate sent home/other
Tokens and points – tokens/points
Privileges – exempt assignment/extra test points/seating location
Selection of reinforcer based on – reinforcer for using replacement behavior/reinforcement for general increase in positive behaviors
By whom – frequency?
12. What strategies will be employed if the problem occurs again (1. Prompt student to switch to the replacement behavior, 2. Describe how staff should handle the problem behavior if it occurs again, 3. Positive discussion with student after behavior ends, 4. Any necessary further classroom or school consequences)
13. Behavior Goal #1
The above behavioral goal are to: Increase use of replacement behavior and may also include – reduce frequency of behavior problem/develop new general skills that remove student’s need to use the problem behavior
Observation and analysis conclusion
Are curriculum accommodations or modifications necessary? Where described?
Are environmental supports/changes necessary?
Is reinforcement or replacement behavior alone enough(no new teaching is necessary)?
Are both teaching of new replacement behavior AND reinforcement needed?
This BSP is to be coordinated with other agency’s service plans?
Person responsible for contact between agencies.
14. Manner and content of communication
Phone calls/daily-weekly progress reports/email/daily charting/written notes/behavioral logs/others
With many of the choices you can only pick a limited number of them. We went over this at the end of the IEP with only a few team members present. The behavior addressed for Matthew was:
Matthew has the capability to hurt or injure others – moderate plan. Four times daily at medium intensity – instructional time is lost. Use a communication system as a reward for desired activity/task to get tangible activity student will follow routines and schedules and learn to request breaks. Prompt the student to switch to the replacement behavior and then a discussion about appropriate behavior through a picture system.
When upset Matthew will show his emotions by reaching for the aide’s hand and squeezing it or by handing the picture card of walking around the track (a section marked in classroom by OT) with backpack in the classroom with 75% accuracy 3 out of 4 trials.
Daily reports between parent and teacher with behavioral logs and written notes.
I will share in another article the Functional Analysis Assessment Report that I had requested and was part of the Triennial IEP this past spring.
I hope this sharing of data found in the Behavior Support Plan is a benefit to parents that have never had one before and maybe planning one in the future. You can read this over, print it out and observe your child at school and ask specific questions relating to the behavior as spelled out in the plans cited above.
This is a starting point I wish I had prior to the IEP meeting where we first discussed a Behavior Support Plan. Here are some samples of Classroom Modifications for the Autistic Student
Examples of Behavior Support Plan Development from University of South Florida
Applied Behavior Analysis Blog written by a teacher in the Graduate Program in Special Education at CUNY Queens College.
Special Education Services - Strategies for Teachers Working with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Pros and Cons of Assessments
Preparing for a Field Trip
Autism Related Publications
Attending Your First IEP Meeting