Behavioral Intervention Plan: What It Is and It’s Benefits

Sep 23, 2020 by

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Students and children today are more stressed than ever before, with 70% of teens claiming that stress and depression are an everyday struggle. The pressure to succeed and higher standards are just one part of the problem. In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a very high-stress, high-stakes world filled with uncertainty and fear. Many adults fail to realize the direct effect the current culture and climate has on children. Whether or not they’re actively watching or reading the news, they can still sense the tension. This anxiety carries over from their personal life into their academic life. 

Every child expresses their emotions differently. Some cry, some isolate themselves, and others act out. It’s this last group of children that this article will address. If you’ve ever had a child with behavior issues in your classroom you know that they can go from 0 to 60 in an instant. And once they flip that switch, it can be difficult to bring them back down. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with behavioral issues in students, however, behavioral intervention plans can help. Here we’ll discuss exactly what a behavioral intervention plan is, what elements it should have, and the benefits.

What is a Behavioral Intervention Plan?

Behavior Intervention Plans (or BIPs) are written plans for the individual child that reward them for good behavior with the hope of preventing and stopping bad behavior. BIPs are used in place of punishing a child. Most BIPs are made up of three distinct parts.

The Problem Behavior

First, the plan details the child’s problem behavior(s). This could be any variety of things but some of the most common are:

  • Physical violence against the teacher, classmates, or themselves
  • Verbal abuse toward others or directed at themselves
  • Disrupting the classroom both verbally and physically

Each BIP is unique to the individual student and may include more than one problem area.

Why the Problem is Happening

This area of the BIP isn’t so cut-and-dry. The teacher may not know exactly why the student is exhibiting this behavior. Even the student themselves or their parents may be clueless as to what’s causing these outbursts. Getting to the root of the problem takes time and careful planning.

In most cases, the school resource team will interview the child, parents, and teachers to get a better understanding of possible causes. They may also discuss potential triggers for the behavior. For example, does the child lash out when their schedule or routine is disrupted? Do they exhibit bad behavior when they’re struggling with an assignment? The school may also ask the parents if there’s anything going on at home that might be causing tension or unrest. 

The school staff may also look into the past at previous reports, grades, or incidents to identify any patterns in the student’s behavior. Testing is another helpful tool when you need to create legally defensible behavior intervention plans for K12 students in under an hour. Consider yourself a detective when trying to determine the cause and underlying issues that might be responsible for the student’s behavior. This process is called a functional behavior assessment.

Put the Plan Into Practice

Once you evaluate the child and gain a better understanding of the cause or triggers of their behavior, you can create an effective behavior intervention plan. No two plans look alike. Each student needs individualized attention and a flexible BIP that accommodates their changing behaviors. 

In some cases, things might get worse before they get better. It’s common for children to “retaliate” or act-out when presented with change. A BIP offers tools, resources, and techniques to ensure both the student and teachers get the most out of the action plan. Children should be reevaluated, along with their BIP. They change and develop, and so should their plans. In some cases, a BIP is no longer needed. Another assessment can help determine this.

When is a BIP Needed?

Not every temper tantrum or outburst warrants a behavioral intervention plan. Sometimes students simply have a bad day or maybe they’re dealing with sensory issues, adjusting to a new environment, or any number of other catalysts. BIPs are reserved for students whose’ “bad behavior” is interring with their learning – or their classmate’s ability to learn. In some cases, the student already has a 504 plan or an IEP that offers extra support. A BIP can easily be added to either of these educational plans. But that doesn’t mean a child has to already have a plan in place to receive a BIP. 

Behavioral Intervention Plan Benefits

There are countless benefits to implementing a BIP for students in need but here are the most notable.

Addresses Individual Student Needs

Not every approach will work with every student – even if the behavioral issue is seemingly identical. That’s because the underlying cause is most likely very different. Trying to use the same BIP for every student is like putting a round peg in a square hole. The beauty of these plans is that through exhaustive research, interviews, and observations, you can craft an approach that is perfect for the individual student’s needs and triggers. This increases their chances of success and reduces the risk of needing a long-term BIP.

A Collaborative Effort

The connection between school and home is more important than some people realize. Student success comes largely from how involved and informed parents are. When parents and teachers work together, students receive the support and attention they need both at school and at home. When creating a behavioral plan, the school staff utilizes every resource available, including parents and other guardians. After all, who knows a child better than their own family? Parents have valuable insight into the student’s personality and idiosyncrasies. This information might just unlock the key ingredient to a successful BIP.

Offers a Hands-On Approach

Simply observing student behavior and handing down punishments isn’t the answer to student success. Children who need a BIP also need a hands-on approach. They need a well-detailed intervention plan that includes observations, testing, monitoring, and reevaluating. BIPs are a work in progress and must change and flow with the child’s progress. This guarantees that new issues don’t go undetected and every accomplishment is recognized and praised.

Behavioral Intervention Plans Are a Powerful Tool

When it comes to individualized attention and meeting a student’s unique needs, nothing does it quite like a behavioral intervention plan. Interviews, research, and observations allow school staff to create a plan built for success. Collaborating with family and loved ones is another crucial element. BIPs have a ot of moving parts, but once in place, the benefits are hard to ignore.

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