Behavioral Issues

My child has behavioral issues, is there anything I can do?

Frustrated GirlIt is best to be proactive when your child begins to get in trouble in school.  You should request an IEP team meeting and ask that a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) be done the first time your child is suspended or has behaviors in school so that the team can create a behavior intervention plan (BIP) to address the behavioral issues in a positive manner. A functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is an observation used to help analyze a child’s behavior and a behavior intervention plan (BIP) is how the behavior will be addressed and prevented from reoccurring.

A functional behavioral assessment and a behavioral intervention plan is necessary when:

  • Developing the IEP because the IEP team must consider whether a child with a disability has behaviors that impede his or her learning or that of others, and, if appropriate, include strategies, positive behavioral interventions and supports, to address that behavior
  • A child with a disability is suspended or removed for more than 10 school days (consecutive or cumulative) in a school year

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is done by observing the child in both a structured setting (like math or reading class) and an unstructured setting (like lunch or gym) should be done.  The observation should also be done by someone other than the child’s regular classroom teacher such as the school psychologist.  The child’s files and evaluations should be reviewed as well.  The FBA should:

  • Answer key questions regarding when the behavior is most (and least) likely to occur
  • Identify the antecedent – what is the situation that leads up to the behavior, who is present, what is going on at the time the behavior occurs, when, where
  • Define the behavior in specific, concrete terms, labeled according to its seriousness (disruptive, disruptive, distracting) how long per episode, how often
  • Identify the consequences – what happens as a result of the behavior, both in term of punishment and potential benefits for the child

Girl with Many EmotionsThe FBA is used to develop a hypothesis or a theory about the purpose or function that the behavior serves. Is this behavior an attempt to get out of something, to assist the child to self regulate or express an emotion?  This information is then used to develop a behavior intervention plan (BIP).

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) documents the strategies, supports and methods that will be used to address the behaviors and used to teach more appropriate behaviors.  A BIP should include strategies that will prevent the behavior from reoccurring.  The BIP must include positive interventions and strategies to:

  • Address and prevent or alter environments or events that typically occur before the behavior (antecedents)
  • Teach the child an appropriate replacement behavior
  • Positively reinforce the appropriate replacement behavior (consequences)
  • Assist personnel to respond to occurrences positively and consistently in different settings