Identify the Target Behavior and Its Function:
- When identifying the behavior using specific, observable terms in order to paint a picture of what the behavior looks like, especially for others not familiar with the student (for example, next year’s teachers will need to read this plan and understand exactly how to implement it). Words like “defiant,” “uncooperative,” and “difficult” are subject to interpretation. Instead, be specific, such as: “throws materials (books, pencils),” “puts head down on desk and refuses to work,” “runs out of classroom.” Avoid vague, biased language, language that assumes an evil intent, and talking in absolutes (always, never).
- The behavior plan should include only one behavior, or a few very closely related behaviors that impede the learning of the child. Plans will often fail if they try to address too much, this is why it is important to be very specific and only include behaviors that may fall under the same umbrella.
- Identify how the behavior impedes learning of the student or the learning of others.
- Identify characteristics of the behavior.
- How often does the problem behavior occur (frequency)? Once or twice a day, or once or twice an hour?
- How mild or severe is the behavior (intensity)? Does the behavior interrupt learning momentarily for the student or others? Or for an extended period of time for the student or the whole class?
- How long does the behavior last (duration)? Does the behavior last a few seconds, or for several minutes at a time?
- Based on the characteristics above, the team can identify if the behavior plan is an early stage intervention, a moderate intervention, serious intervention, or extreme.
- Using the data collected for the Functional Behavioral Assessment, identify the hypothesized function of the behavior: is to get something, to avoid something, or for self stimulation or self soothing? It is very important to consider the function of the behavior, because this drives the development--and ultimately the success-- of the behavior plan.