BIP: The Behavior Intervention Plan

Temper tantrums are one symptom of childhood onset bipolar disorder (COBPD).
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A BIP, or Behavior Intervention Plan, is an improvement plan that lays out how an Individual Education Plan (IEP) team will better difficult behavior that is inhibiting a child's academic success. If a child can't focus, doesn't complete work, disrupts the classroom or is constantly in trouble, not only does the teacher have a problem, the child has a problem. A Behavior Intervention Plan is a document that describes just how the IEP team will help the child improve his or her behavior.

When a BIP Becomes a Requirement

A BIP is a required part of an IEP if the behavior box is checked off in the Special Considerations section where it asks whether communication, vision, hearing, behavior and/or mobility affects academic achievement. If a child's behavior disrupts the classroom and significantly interrupts his or her education, then a BIP is very much in order.

Furthermore, a BIP is generally preceded by an FBA or Functional Behavior Analysis. The Functional Behavior Analysis is based on the Behaviorist Anagram, ABC: Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence. It requires the observer to first pay attention to the environment in which the behavior occurs, as well as the occurrences that happen just before the behavior.

How Behavior Analysis Gets Involved

Behavior Analysis includes the antecedent, a well defined, measurable definition of the behavior, as well as a standard for how it will be measured, such as duration, frequency, and latency. It also involves the consequence, or outcome, and how that consequence reinforces the student. 

Usually, a special education teacher, a behavior analyst, or a school psychologist will perform an FBA. Using that information, the teacher will write a document that describes target behaviors, replacement behaviors, or behavioral goals. The document will also include the procedure for changing or extinguishing the target behaviors, measures for success, and the people who will be responsible for instituting and following through on the BIP.

The BIP Content

A BIP should include the following information:

  • Proactive Manipulation of the Antecedent.
    Teachers should consider whether they can structure the student's learning environment in a way that will eliminate the antecedent. Making changes in the environment that will eliminate or decrease the things that may trigger a behavior permits the teacher to spend lots of time reinforcing the replacement behavior.
  • Targeted Behaviors.
    Also known as the Behavior of Interest, a BIP should narrow the behaviors of interest to a few that may be interrelated, typically three or four or at the most.
  • Reinforcement Plan.
    This plan provides a description of the proactive means of supporting replacement or appropriate behavior. A replacement behavior for calling out would be to raise their hand and a means of reinforcing or rewarding that activity would be part of the BIP. 
  • Protocol for Addressing Dangerous or Unacceptable Behavior.
    This protocol may be called different things in a teacher's district or state form, but it should address how to respond to dangerous behavior. Unacceptable should be defined, as it isn't to promote punishment when the teacher, bus driver, or paraprofessional is angry at a student. The purpose of the BIP is to keep adults away from reactive and counterproductive behaviors of their own, like screaming at the child or punishment. 
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Your Citation
Webster, Jerry. "BIP: The Behavior Intervention Plan." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Webster, Jerry. (2020, August 25). BIP: The Behavior Intervention Plan. Retrieved from Webster, Jerry. "BIP: The Behavior Intervention Plan." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).

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