How to Write a Behavior Plan for Your Child

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A good behavior intervention plan (BIP) can make a big difference in how a student with special needs reacts to a school setting. However, getting the appropriate school personnel to do the necessary behavior analysis and put a plan together can be a frustratingly lengthy process. You may want to propose a behavior plan of your own, particularly if you have a good relationship with your child study team, and your child's teachers are as frustrated by the delays as you are.

Understanding Behavior Intervention Plans

A behavior intervention plan is designed to help your child learn positive behaviors while discarding problematic ones. It describes the problematic behavior, why the behavior occurs, and how to intervene or manage it.

The BIP goal is to help your child learn more effective and socially acceptable ways to behave by using a reward and consequence system. For example, if your child has trouble with being disruptive in class, he might be rewarded if the teacher can tell he is working hard to stay quiet. Conversely, she may have to go elsewhere after one warning if she continues to be disruptive.

The behavior intervention plan may need some adjustments if it isn't working out. Sometimes, the reasons for the behavior aren't what you or the teachers thought they were or because the rewards for the behavior need to be changed.

Sample Plans for Specific Disabilities and Behaviors

If you'd like to give writing a behavior plan a try, take a look at these samples and blank forms from schools and sites around the web to give you an idea of what your plan should look like and what information others have found useful.

What to Include in the Behavior Intervention Plan

You may want to include this information in your behavior intervention plan:

  • Your child's problematic behavior(s)
  • The reasons for the behavior (from what you can tell)
  • The activities that may trigger the behavior
  • The behaviors you want your child to exhibit instead
  • Specific goals for your child related to the target behavior
  • Information on behavioral issues related to your child's specific disability may help teachers better understand his or her behavior 
  • Ways that work at home to deal with the problematic behavior
  • Tips from other school websites on how to handle kids with the same behavior or disability

Make the BIP Part of Your Child's IEP

Request that your behavior plan is part of your child's education plan (IEP) as a parent addendum, if not a part of the official program, so that anyone who works with your child will be made aware of it. You'll want to specifically bring it to the attention of new teachers and aides since not everybody reads the IEP as thoroughly as they should.

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  1. Helton MR, Alber-Morgan SR. Helping parents understand applied behavior analysis: Creating a parent guide in 10 stepsBehav Anal Pract. 2018;11(4):496-503. doi:10.1007/s40617-018-00284-8

  2. Public School Review. Behavioral intervention plans. Updated May 15, 2019.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to use rewards. Updated November 5, 2019.