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BEHAVIOR IN AN IEP

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Addressing Behavior in an IEP

When developing an IEP, the team will explore the need for strategies and supports to address any behavior concern(s) which impede the learning of the student with the disability or the learning of others. The team must consider the Social Emotional Behavioral needs of the student and what supports may be necessary within and outside of the general education classroom.

Addressing Behavior Concerns

When behavior concerns arise, districts, in conjunction with the AEA, should first attempt to resolve behaviors of concern through general education interventions.

  • If general education interventions are sufficient for a behavior concern, then the student should continue to be supported through the general education interventions
  • However, if general education interventions are not sufficient to address the behavior(s) of concern:
    • For an eligible student with an IEP, the IEP team should determine and document what additional special education services may be necessary to ensure FAPE.
    • For a student who is not an eligible individual and there are data to suspect a disability, the AEA, in conjunction with the LEA, should seek consent for a full and individual evaluation.

Each time an IEP is developed, reviewed, and/or revised, the IEP team must consider behavior and determine:

  • No, behavior is not a concern. 
  • Yes, behavior is a concern that will be addressed in the IEP (e.g. classroom accommodations, and/or with a behavior goal and services).
  • Yes, behavior is a concern. A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is required. If one exists, it will be reviewed and modified, as needed. A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) will be developed, if required due to disciplinary action or determined to be needed by the IEP team. If a BIP exists, it will be reviewed and modified, as needed.

Functional Behavior Assessment

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) process identifies the function(s) of an individual student’s behaviors and provides information which can lead to effective interventions and supports. The purpose of an FBA is to enhance an understanding of the purpose and function of a student’s behaviors and provide information leading to interventions and needed supports.

The FBA process allows educators to better understand the student’s:

  • Skill deficits (academic and behavioral)
  • Performance deficits (academic and behavioral)
  • Preferences
  • Reinforcement that is maintaining appropriate and/or challenging behavior

During the process, the student’s responses to the intervention(s) are monitored and LEA/AEA staff are involved in collecting data. Ultimately, the analysis and interpretation of data gathered during the process should be led by someone with background and knowledge in functional behavior assessment.

Three Situations When the FBA Process is Completed
  1. An FBA may be conducted for any child/youth with a behavior concern in order to best understand the purpose/function of behavior and develop an effective support plan. This includes children/youth that are: receiving intervention through a general education intervention process and/or are being considered for special education.
  2. An FBA should be conducted for any eligible child/youth with a behavioral concern in order to develop an effective behavioral goal and/or behavior intervention plan (BIP)
  3. An FBA must be conducted, or an existing FBA reviewed, for any child with an IEP who faces specific disciplinary actions that would result in removal for:
    1. More than ten consecutive school days or more than ten school days for separate incidents of behavior that constitute a pattern
    2. AND the manifestation determination has concluded the behavior was a result of the child’s disability

For additional information refer to Special Education Education: Step by Step Guide to Suspension and Expulsion 

Procedures to Develop and/or Revise an FBA
  1. Determine if additional information is necessary
    1. Does the team have all the necessary information to complete the FBA process?
      1. If yes, parental consent for evaluation (initial or reevaluation) is not needed
      2. If no, seek parental consent for evaluation (initial or reevaluation)
  2. Identify the behavior of concern
    1. The behavior(s) of concern should be stated in clear, measurable and observable terms
    2. The behavior of concern is the target behavior you want to increase or decrease
  3. Identify the student’s strengths
    1. Identified student strengths should provide a foundation for decreasing the behavior(s) of concern and increasing replacement behaviors
  4. Summarize Existing Indirect Assessments
    1. Document the existing data and the sources and methods
  5. Gather and collect descriptive (indirect and direct) assessments data
    1. Indirect Assessment: Information gathered about the target behavior indirectly through record reviews, semi-standardized checklists, and structured interviews.
    2. Direct Assessment: Data gathered about the target behavior through direct observation(s) which may include: anecdotal records of observations, Antecedent — Behavior – Consequences (ABC), frequency count, and/or a preference assessment
  6. Analyze descriptive assessment data
    1. Establish the presence of a skill and/or performance deficit
    2. Establish the presence or absence of convergence of data from various sources that suggest a function that is maintaining the target behavior
  7. Generate a hypothesis statement
    1. Based on a convergence of data reflected in the data analysis, determine the function of the behavior(s) of concern and develop a hypothesis statement
    2. There are three functions of behavior:
      1. Positive Reinforcement (Gain): Behavior to obtain attention, desired item, sensory stimulation, or activity
      2. Negative Reinforcement (Escape): Behavior to escape a non-preferred situation, sensory stimulation or activity
      3. Automatic (Biologic): Behavior that is related to an internal/intrinsic condition that is not mediated by social factors
        NOTE: Gain and escape may occur concurrently (referred to as Multiple Function). Gain and/or escape should be ruled out before an Automatic function can be determined.
    3. If a hypothesized function is unclear, an experimental analysis may be necessary. Experimental Analysis involves the manipulation of antecedent and/or consequence variables in analogue or natural settings utilizing a reversal of alternating treatment design to establish repeating patterns of behavior.
      NOTE: Formal training is required to conduct a technically adequate experimental analysis.
  8. Complete the FBA Summary Form
    1. This form provides summary documentation of the current FBA process
    2. Document if the FBA led directly to the development of a behavioral intervention plan (BIP)
  9. Provide results of the FBA to all IEP team members, including parents
  10. Use FBA results
    1. The IEP team may use the results for various purposes which may include the development of a Behavior Intervention Plan, consideration of IEP accommodations, and general education intervention planning.
Reviewing Existing FBAs

At every annual, interim or reevaluation IEP, the IEP team should review an existing FBA to ensure that information is current and accurate.

The IEP team should use existing data, to determine whether to maintain the existing FBA, revise the FBA, or to develop a new FBA.

“Existing data” may include:

  • Information collected as a part of IEP goal progress monitoring
  • Data collection called for in a BIP
  • Data gathered and observations made in the course of providing instruction and interventions
  • Other information people currently know and information which can be gathered by record review

An FBA may be updated with existing information and with the conclusions drawn from existing data without parent consent for reevaluation. However, if creating an FBA meets the IDEA’s definition of an evaluation, the IEP team must obtain parental consent for a reevaluation.

Behavior Intervention Plan

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a written plan which describes the positive behavioral interventions and supports, as well as the strategies that will be implemented to address goals for a student’s social, emotional, and behavioral development.

Three Situations an IEP Team Develops a BIP

There are three situations where the development of a BIP (based on the results of a FBA) is considered:

  1. A BIP may be developed for any child/youth with a behavior concern. This includes children/youth that are receiving intervention through a general education intervention process and/or are being considered for special education
  2. A BIP may be developed for any eligible child/youth with a behavioral concern that negatively impacts academic progress or school performance
  3. A BIP must be developed for any child/youth with an IEP who faces specific disciplinary actions that would result in removal:
    1. For more than ten consecutive school days or for more than ten school days for separate incidents of behavior that constitute a pattern
    2. AND the manifestation determination has concluded the behavior was a result of the child’s disability
Information to Consider When Developing a BIP

To develop an appropriate BIP, an IEP Team may consider:

  • Result of most recent FBA, including the specific behavior(s) of concern and the hypothesized function of the behavior(s)
  • Baseline data related to the behavior(s) of concern
  • Behavior goal indicated on the IEP, if applicable
  • Input from parent, student and school personnel
Procedures to Develop and/or Revise a BIP
  1. Convene the IEP team or, with parental consent, amend the IEP without a meeting
    1. Seek meaningful participation of all IEP team members or as individuals involved in amending the IEP without a meeting
  2. Review the results of the most current FBA summary
    1. The BIP should be developed based on FBA summary and be directly related to the hypothesized function
    2. If applicable, review progress monitoring information from general education interventions
  3. Determine Alternative/Replacement Behavior
    1. An alternative/replacement behavior should be identified that the child can use to reach the same function as identified in the FBA hypothesis
    2. The alternative/replacement behavior will replace the behavior(s) of concern for the student to obtain the same results
    3. Determine whether the student is able to display the alternative/replacement behavior and the level of reinforcement necessary to maintain the behavior
  4. Develop Preventative Strategies
    1. Review all salient information on the FBA summary form, specifically the Problem Analysis results, Environmental Conditions, and Antecedents, to develop appropriate prevention strategies
    2. Preventative strategies include: changes in instruction, choices, and the environments that are needed to decrease or prevent the behavior(s) of concern
  5. Develop Teaching Strategies
    1. Review all salient information on the FBA summary form, specifically the Alternative or Replacement Behavior information, to develop appropriate reinforcement strategies to teach the alternative/replacement behavior(s)
  6. Develop Response Strategies
    1. Review all salient information on the FBA summary form, specifically Problem Analysis Results and the pattern documented under Consequences in relation to the hypothesized function, to develop appropriate response strategies that do not reinforce the behavior(s) of concern and do prompt (as indicated by the FBA) and reinforce the replacement behavior
  7. Develop a Safety Plan, if needed
    1. If a safety plan is needed, define a crisis for the student and identify actions to be taken based on the function of the student’s behavior
  8. Develop Monitoring Plan
    1. Three potential areas for monitoring on the BIP: BIP student goal, Alternative or replacement behavior/skills if different from the goal, and BIP implementation
    2. Include who will be responsible for an action, when it will be implemented, and the frequency of monitoring
  9. Provide a copy of the FBA and BIP to all IEP team members, including parents
    1. Inform All Responsible Parties
      1. Inform all individuals not in attendance at the IEP meeting of their responsibilities, if any, for implementing the BIP and IEP
    2. Implement the BIP
    3. Monitor the efficacy of the BIP
    Reviewing Existing BIPs

    At every annual, interim or reevaluation IEP, the IEP team should review the BIP to ensure that information is current and accurate.

    The IEP team should use existing data, to determine whether to maintain the existing BIP, revise the BIP, or to develop a new BIP.

    “Existing data” may include:

    • Information collected as a part of IEP goal progress monitoring,
    • Data collection called for in a BIP,
    • Data gathered and observations made in the course of providing instruction and interventions, and 
    • Other information people currently know and information which can be gathered by record review.

    A BIP may be updated with existing information and with the conclusions drawn from existing data without parent consent for reevaluation.

    Behavior Resources

    Additional Behavior resources are available in the Resources.