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Challenging the Assumptions of FBA-BIPs

Submitted by on 02/05/2009 – 10:40 pmNo Comment

Assumption 1: The primary purpose of a behavior plan is to eliminate problem behaviors

Referring teachers usually request behavior plans to eliminate problem behaviors that interfere with teaching, disrupt the class, or cause risk of injury.  Behavior plans focused on eliminating behaviors as the primary goal are often ineffective. While one behavior is eliminated, another problem behavior pops up to take its place. The primary goal of a behavior plan is to teach socially desired behaviors (“replacement behaviors”) that serve the same function as the problem behavior. As the new behaviors are established, the problem behaviors decrease and are eventually eliminated.

Remember: Effective FBA-BIPS are Teaching Plans


Assumption 2: The initial step in this process is to change student behavior. 

The initial goal of a behavior is not a change in student behavior, but a change staff behavior. If teachers and assistants are using behavior management strategies that are not effective for a particular student, new strategies are needed. Although this sounds obvious, it is often the most difficult challenge in implementing an FBA-BIP. As adults, the routines of interacting with children are well established—even habitual. Responding and reacting to students in a different way requires a clear plan, collegial support, and determination. Though the initial goal is a change in adult behavior, the outcome is a change in student behavior.

Remember: FBA-BIPs require change in staff behavior


Assumption 3: An FBA-BIP is completed when the CSE/CPSE team meets.

Although an FBA-BIP is a written summary of an evaluation, it is not a static document. The purpose of an FBA-BIP is to provide a formal analysis of the challenge, a clear plan for agreed-upon strategies, and an objective criteria for progress. Teams that view the FBA-BIP as a product may fail to recognize that its most important purpose is to guide a process.

Remember: An FBA-BIP is a process, not a product


Helping the behavior intervention team consider these assumptions will lead to more effective interventions. For a detailed guide to developing, writing and implementing FBA-BIPS, I suggest looking at the White Paper:

White Paper 4: Functional Assessment & Behavior Intervention Plans

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