Writing a Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP)

A Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP) is what takes the observations from a functional assessment and turns them into a concrete plan of suggestions.  It is also sometimes known as a behaviour protocol or behaviour treatment plan.  It should be based on a functional assessment or a functional analysis so that the suggestions made are function-based.  The plan should also be focused on positive replacement behaviours and skills that can replace the targeted negative behaviour when possible. 

Having a BIP in place means that everyone can be on the same page when dealing with a disruptive or negative behaviour.  Students often come into contact with many people throughout the day – therapists, teachers, family members and other staff.  In order to avoid intermittently reinforcing a negative behaviour (thereby making it harder to reduce), everyone should know the defined protocol in handling the behaviour.

Remember: The protocol may not always work and may need to be tweaked.  But the only way to know if it is working is to try it consistently and take data. If one team member decides that they don’t like the protocol and don’t implement it, we’ll never know!

Steps to implementing a behaviour treatment plan:

1. Define the Behaviour

The first thing to do is to define exactly what the behaviour IS and what it IS NOT so that anyone observing the behaviour would come to the same conclusion.  Include things like: intensity, topography, location, frequency, and other important descriptions.

Good description for non-contextual vocalization:

Any instance of non-functional speech, including singing, babbling, and phrases unrelated to the present situation.  Examples include, “d-d-d”, “ahhhh” (with our without arm flapping), video scripts. 

This does not include the gurgle sound that is produced at the back of student’s mouth or in her throat, or the slurping sound.  It also does not include non-contextual laughter.

This does not include any vocalizations that occur while she is screaming. 

Good description for screaming:

High-pitched screams, lasting longer than 1 second.  May or may not be accompanied by crying.  Must be separated by 10 seconds of quiet to be counted as a new instance.

Click here for Operational Definitions of Commonly Occurring Behaviours

You could also include here any triggers or setting events that make the behaviour more likely to occur.

Tip: You can include Inter-Observer Reliability here to make sure that it is well defined and tweak if necessary

2. Reason for Treatment Plan

Before intervening on any behaviour, it should meet criteria that determine it worthwhile to intervene.  This can include: interferes with learning, injury to self or others, causes damage to the environment, socially isolates the individual, and impedes independence.  For more on this, see When is a Behaviour Worth Targeting?

3. Data Collection

Before beginning any intervention, we want to have enough information on the behaviour during baseline (i.e. before treatment) to know if the intervention is effective.  Decide on the best way to collect data that will give over an accurate depiction of the behaviour.

Some examples include:

  • ABC data
  • Frequency data
  • Duration data
  • Partial interval data

4. Hypothesized Function

This is where you would include the information from any functional assessment or data from a functional analysis.  Include the function and reason for that conclusion.  Also include any graph or measurement from the functional analysis.

5. Antecedent Strategies

This should be the focus of the intervention – teaching the student alternative ways to access reinforcement and prevention of problem behaviour.  Some antecedent strategies are as simple as a visual schedule and some require more teaching such as teaching a student to mand for attention.  The antecedent strategies should address:

  • MO manipulation – making it LESS reinforcing to engage in the problem behaviour (eg: move the child’s desk)
  • Differential reinforcement procedures – introducing a skill that you will reinforce MORE than the target behaviour (eg: reinforce appropriate attention-seeking)

6. Consequence Strategies

Once the behaviour has already occurred, the team should have protocols on how to manage it.  The most important part of the consequence strategy is making sure that the behaviour isn’t reinforced.  If the child engages in a tantrum for access to a favourite toy, the consequence strategy should make sure include that the child SHOULD NOT get access to that toy immediately after a tantrum.  Other things to include in the consequence strategies to help de-escalate the situation:

  • Behaviour momentum
  • Ignore the behaviour but not the child – redirect to the task, visual, or other
  • Stay calm, block aggression

7. Risk-Response Analysis

Define the reason and rationale for implementing a behaviour plan.  It should be because the benefits outweigh the risks.  However, if there is any part of your behaviour plan that involves risk, be sure to carefully analyze that the risk is worthwhile.  For example, if part of the plan involves a student being removed from his classroom, potential risks involved include: missing academic time, being singled out by peers.  Ask yourself (and other team members) if this is worth the potential benefits.

8. Consent

When implementing any behaviour plan, parents (or caregivers) should be informed before beginning.  They should be able to have any input into aspects that they want removed or included.  Then, include their signature as consent to the plan. 

Want more on treating problem behaviour? This is a topic we’ve covered in The Bx Resource! Join the membership now and access templates, program descriptions, graphs, and videos! PLUS: Access to support and community so you don’t have to feel alone anymore! Join here: www.howtoaba.com/joinbxresource

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