When a child exhibits behaviors that impede his or her ability to learn and has been found eligible for special education services, his or her Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team will meet to discuss various behavior interventions.
As a first step towards behavior intervention, the IEP Team may begin by implementing a behavior goal in the student’s IEP. Behavior goals should be written positively to include how success is to be measured, an expected time for when the goal should be completed and how teachers and staff will help the child to achieve them.
If the behavior goal is not successful in modifying the negative behavior or the behaviors present themselves to be more serious, a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) may be done and a Behavior Support Plan (BSP) may be created. The first step in creating a BSP is to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment.
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
A Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) identifies why certain behaviors are occurring or rather the “function” of a behavior. For example, a child may want attention, so he or she may disrupt the classroom every time he or she wants attention. The FBA will identify that when the child is disrupting the classroom, it is to seek attention. It will also identify what the antecedents are before the behavior occurs and any subsequent behaviors that occur. Then this information is used to establish positive ways of serving the child’s needs so that he or she doesn’t resort to the negative behaviors to achieve the desired result. The goal is to teach the child more appropriate ways to manage their behavior that does not impede their education or the education of other students. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), these behaviors do not have to be a manifestation of the student’s disability in order for a FBA to be done.
Behavior Support Plan (BSP)
After the FBA assessment is completed, a Behavioral Support Plan (BSP) will be developed. The BSP will list the identified behaviors impeding the child’s learning or the learning of his or her peers. It will list the predictors of the behaviors, why the IEP team thinks these behaviors occur and what strategies need to be introduced to stop them from materializing. The plan also establishes behavior goals for the child to meet consisting of positive behaviors designed to replace the negative ones. A BSP is included with the child’s IEP.
Functional Analysis Assessment (FAA)
If behaviors prove to even be more serious, California offers an even more comprehensive assessment and plan. The Hughes Bill (Assembly Bill 2586) effective as of May 1993, outlines the requirements of a Functional Analysis Assessment (FAA). An FAA occurs when an IEP team determines that the previous behavioral approaches in the child’s IEP have proved to be ineffective and the child’s behavior continues to impede their education or results in suspensions or recommendation for expulsion. The report must be done by an assessor who is specifically trained in behavior analysis and positive behavior support and is based upon observations of the occurrence of the behavior, the antecedents, consequences following the behavior, and the settings in which the behavior occurred. The assessor will also review health and medical records to look for factors that may have influenced the behavior. A history of the behaviors will also be assessed including the previous behavioral interventions that were used. The assessor will then make recommendations to the child’s IEP Team in the FAA report.
When the FAA is completed, the IEP Team will then convene a meeting to review the results and recommendations. If it finds it appropriate, the team will then develop a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP).
Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)
A BIP is created based upon the results of the FAA. The IEP Team is expanded to include a behavior intervention case manager who is trained in behavior analysis to oversee the plan. The plan may include altering the antecedents, alternative or adaptive behaviors that can be taught to the student and change of the response and consequences of when the behaviors are displayed. Once a BIP is created, the case manager provides training in order to ensure that the BIP is followed by all educators, service providers and school site personnel who come in contact with the student.
Under the Hughes Bill, emergency interventions may be used only for immediate, unforeseen dangerous behaviors and may not be used in lieu of a BIP. This emergency intervention may include “hands on” strategies or other interventions that are not included in the BIP. Once an emergency intervention is used, the parent must be notified within one school day and a “Behavioral Emergency Report” must be done. If the child does not have a BIP, the IEP team will convene a meeting to review the report and determine if an FAA should be done and if an interim behavioral intervention plan is needed. If the child does have a BIP, the IEP team will convene to determine if the BIP needs to be amended to include the behavior that resulted in an emergency intervention.