The Functional Behavioral Assessment and the Behavior Intervention Plan are formal ways for parents, teachers, and other school professionals to work collaboratively to determine the best way to help a student behaviorally. Students with misbehavior that are unsuccessful with typical behavior supports or the school-wide discipline plan, may need extra support. A student who is disruptive, consistently off task, aggressive, or exhibit any number of behavioral problems may benefit from these plans. This process may consist of two separate meetings or one long meeting. However, they are more effective when utilized as a two step process.

The first portion of this process is the Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA). It is intended to be a problem solving process used to define the misbehavior and determine the function of a student’s behavior. During the FBA the problem behavior will be clearly defined, including the severity and frequency. Much of the FBA is a formal brainstorming session, where participants attempt to determine the precursors to the misbehavior. In addition to “How is the student misbehaving,” it is a time to answer the question, “Why is the student misbehaving.” Participants should come to the meeting prepared to discuss times when there is not a disciple problem, and what occurs to make those times more positive. They should also be ready to discuss what occurs prior to the misbehavior to cause it.

Once the behaviors have been clearly identified through the FBA, as well as the precursors to the behavior, the participants will formulate a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). The BIP is the actual plan created to help improve behavior. It is also a formal way to document interventions that are attempted. The plan must be specific and clearly stated, including the persons responsible for implementing interventions, rewards, or measurement of the intervention. Punishment should not be the only method used to address misbehavior. The interventions should focus on teaching the student new skills. Interventions may focus on teaching the student more acceptable behavior, modifying the classroom setting or curriculum, or modify the antecedent events. It may also introduce a behavioral intervention that uses reinforcements.

The Functional Behavioral Assessment and the Behavior Intervention Plan can be used for students in Special Education and it can be used for regular education students. However, there are not laws requiring a school to complete an FBA or a BIP on regular education students. Schools often see the effectiveness of the plans on Special Education Students and want to use them with Regular Education students as well. When an FBA or BIP is conducted regarding a student classified as a Special Education Student, it is a function of the IEP committee.

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