The complexities of High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome may present themselves in behaviors that may be either excessive for specific situations or lacking.

Strategies developed to target such behaviors are often included in packages known as behavior intervention plans (BIP), behavior support plans (BSP), behavior management plans (BMP), positive behavior support plans (PBSP), and several others.

The primary purpose of a behavior plan is to outline and describe strategies that prevent problem behaviors, teach new behaviors that replace problematic behaviors and attempt to remove consequences that maintain or strengthen undesirable behaviors. The plans are usually developed for use in school settings, home and community settings, and sometimes employment settings.

The primary components of a plan are:

1.  Identifying Information

The basics behind the behavior intervention plan, including the individual’s information, the stakeholders, time introduced and the settings in which the plan is to be implemented.

2.  Description of Behaviors

This operational definition should be a specific description of the behaviors targeted for reduction or increase. They should be both observable and measurable.

3.  Replacement Behaviors

These are the specific behaviors and skills that serve the same purpose as the unwanted behaviors. The socially-appropriate behaviors are the goal for the individual to do instead of the behaviors listed above.

4.  Preventive Strategies

Preventative strategies most often involve manipulating the environment by eliminating in the triggers (e.g., loud noises, removing distractions, rearranging the furniture) or providing scheduled or free access to items/events that evoke behaviors when denied or limited (e.g., free attention from others, scheduled computer/iPad time).

5.  Teaching Strategies

These involve teaching the individuals skills needed to utilize tools described in the BIP.  Such skills may be learning to use a self-monitoring system, learning to use a token system, learning to use functional communication to express emotions, social skills, etc.  The skills should serve the same purpose/function of the inappropriate behaviors.

6.  Consequence Strategies

Consequences are simply the events (e.g., natural or contrived) that follow any behaviors, positive or negative.  The consequences can strengthen behaviors (e.g. a supervisor providing positive feedback on the timely completion of an assigned task/project) or decrease behaviors (e.g., loss of privileges after breaking rules in the home).

7.  Data Collection Procedures

Target behaviors to be increased or decreased must be written in terms that allow others to observe and measure the behaviors.  Changes to the behavior plan should be based on progress as indicated by recorded data.

8.  Duration of Plan

The typical duration of a behavior plan in the school setting is one year, but can vary according to the individual’s progress. The plan should be reviewed frequently and changes to the plan should be based on the data.

by Lupe Castaneda, MS, BCBA

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  1. Many thanks dear Jennifer for the all this information

  2. I understand that this is intended to give families an overview of what to expect in a school or similar setting, so I don’t mean this to sound overly critical-but I think it’s irresponsible to describe BIPs without emphasizing the critical nature of functional assessment, which *must* be a precursor to any meaningful intervention plan. It’s impossible to identify “replacement behaviors” without it, and truth be told, schools without specialists in this area typically do a horrible job of it. Parents need to be aware.

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