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Behavior Intervention Plan

Behavior Intervention Plan

The behavior intervention plan (BIP)  is a set of evidence based strategies specific to a target behavior. The BIP can be written to increase desirable behaviors (Such as asking for help) or the BIP may address problem behaviors for reduction (such as screaming, where the goal is to decrease how long this behavior is occurring). 

A well written behavior plan should  have the following components:

Operational Definition: What the target behavior looks like in objective, observable, and measurable terms. Having a clear operational definition helps ensure the team is identifying the correct behavior and involved members are responding appropriately. The definition can be written topographicallyy (what the behavior looks like) or function (what the behavior results in) If the target behavior looks different each time it occurs, but results in the same consequence (such as stealing food, when no one is present) then a function based definition may be more appropriate. 

Function: The function of a behavior is often considered the "why" a behavior may occur.

There are 4 functions:

  • Attention: Forms of attention can be preferred or nonprefered. Some examples may include: Getting praise from another person, engaging in conversations, getting disapproving looks from another person,  being reprimanded for their actions from another person, talking about the individual when the individual is present.

  • Escape: Escape and avoidance behaviors occur in response to an unwanted demand being place. Escape behaviors result in the demand not occurring. Avoidance refers to the individual engaging in behaviors to delay a task. (For example, a child may start talking about monster to delay starting the math assignment) 

  • Access to tangible. The individual is able to obtain a tangible item (such as an object, a person, or place.) This may occur with or without another person present. 

  • Automatic (Sensory).  Automatic is short for automatic reinforcement and refers to internal processes that occur. Automatic is often interchange with 'Sensory' because of the private events associated with automatic reinforcement. Automatic behaviors often occur regardless of individuals present or location. 

Measurement refers to how the behavior will be tracked. This may be how long the behavior lasts, how often does the behavior occur, or tracking whether it is occurring enough.  What the behavur looks like will contribute to wich measurement system. The measurement system is how we will view the data and make treatment descions so it is. importnat it is relevent to our goal. 

Goal: All behavior plans should have a reasonable, measurable, and achievable short and long term goals. Goals should focus on caregiver priorities and be written across settings, people, and stimuli (or different types of materials). Progress made towards these goals should be celebrated. 

Antecedents typically describes what happens right before a behavior occurs. In a BIP, they are called 'antecedent interventions' and specify what individuals can do to prevent a behavior from occurring, or increase the likelihood of the replacement behavior occurring. Some examples include:

  • Environment Modification: Manipulating the environment so the behavior is less likely to occur. 

  • Noncontingent Attention: Providing attention frequently, so the individual is less likely to engage in an attention seeking behavior, 

  • Functional Communication Training: Teaching the individual to communicate their needs in replacement to the problem behavior. 

  • Behavior Momentum: Utilizing easy tasks before presenting a difficult demand.

The above are just some examples of many strategies, the stategey should be specific to the problem behavior. 

Replacement Behavior: This behavior refers to what the individual should do instead and addresses the function of the behavior.  Some plans will also identify lessons that are specific to this behavior. 

Consequence refers to what happens after a behavior occurs.  In a BIP, the consequence should identify what to do if the problem or the replacement behavior occur. Some examples of consequences:

  • Planned ignoring. Ignoring the problem behavior as if the person is not doing it. 

  • Escape Extinction. Ensuring an individual follows through on a demand regardless of the behaviors they are engaging in. 

  • Redirection. Redirecting an individual to engage in a more appropriate behavior. 

BIPS are typically written in a formal manner to allow treatment fidelity. However, caregivers should always be trained on the intervention plan in a way they are able to understand and implement. 

The BIP is a working document that will be updated as the individuals needs change. The function of a behavior can also change, therefore the plan components will need to change as well. 


Example of a BIP:  

Behavior: Joey's Screaming

Operational Definition:

Screaming is defined as  Joey yelling in response to a demand, loud enough to be heard from another room and for at least 3 seconds.  Instances are separated by 3 seconds of no occurence. 

Examples include: Joey is told to clean his room and screams 'NO!' 

Non-example: Joey is scared and screams 'AHH!'






Joey currently screams about 5 times per hour. By  April 2021 , the rate of screaming will occur no more  2 times per hour for at least 3 consecutive weeks in the home and school setting according to data collected by caregivers. 


Behavior Momentum. Run 3-5 trial s of easy, mastered skills prior to presenting the difficult skill. For example, prior to having Joey do his multiplication   homework, have him do 1-2 addition problems. Be sure to give Joey a lot of praise when he complies with the easy targets. 

Functional Communication Training: Prompt Joey to ask for help with math homework prior to him engaging in screaming. Use visuals and  indirect prompts. 

Replacement Behaviors:

Joey will ask for help or a break. 


Escape Extinction.  When Joey  engages in screaming, continue to   present the current demand. Do not change any aspects of the demand until Joey has complied. 

Reinforcement of Functional Communication.  when Joey requests help or a break prior to Joey engaging in screaming,  honor  all requests. 

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