How to write a behavior support plan

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Writing a Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Plan

What is the purpose of a written PBS Plan?

The written PBS plan is a guide for the people who are supporting the student who is engaging in problem behavior. A common assumption is that the PBS plan describes how the student will change his or her behavior. The real purpose of the PBS plan however, is to outline the steps that will be taken by the members of the team to modify the environment and teach the student new skills. The written document helps team members focus, establishes accountability for completing tasks, and ensures communication and consistent intervention implementation. In other words, the PBS plan describes how staff, parents, teachers, and other important team members will change their behavior.

Why is important to focus on routines when describing interventions?

Effective PBS plans document how an intervention will be implemented within a student’s specific daily routines. A plan that says, “Jane will be prompted to ask for help in class” is vague and does not provide the information necessary to intervene effectively. Clearly identifying a specific routine and describing exactly how the intervention should be implemented increases consistency across people. A routine may include specific types of homework assignments or class activities, a particular transition period, or the presence of particular people. In the example above, it may be more appropriate to write: “Jane will be prompted to ask for help with fine motor activities required during art projects and writing assignments in English. Jane’s teacher will respond by immediately reinforcing Jane for requesting assistance and asking one of Jane’s peers or a paraeducator to pair up with her on the task. Use information gathered in the functional behavioral assessment to describe successful routines and redesign problematic situations that have similarities. The interventions in the PBS plan should include enough detail that new team members will be able to understand and implement the interventions. A PBS plan is an active document that should be reviewed and consulted regularly, not a report to be filed away and forgotten.

How is the implementation plan conducted?

Each district and school has different formats for writing a PBS plan. These individual organizational requirements are a natural part of each school culture. Regardless of how a written PBS plan is organized, the following features should be included. Click here for an example of a PBS plan and review it as you read the brief descriptions of the critical features on this page.

Critical Features of a PBS Plan

  1. Identifying information
  2. Student’s positive characteristics
  3. Team’s vision statement
  4. Definition(s) of problem behavior
  5. Summary of the functional behavioral assessment
  6. Interventions
    1. Setting event interventions
    2. Antecedent interventions
    3. Interventions for teaching new skills
    4. Consequence interventions
  7. Crisis prevention plan (if needed)
  8. Description of how the PBS plan will be evaluated
  9. Summary of any additional training needed
  10. Information about resources needed to implement the plan
  11. Sign off page for team members to indicate their acceptance and intention to carry out the PBS plan

Identifying Information
Identifying information describes who the plan is for and the team members involved in the process (e.g. student’s name, date of birth, contact information, and the team members involved). Include the day the plan was developed and why it was needed for future reference. Written PBS plans can be an important resource for professionals supporting a student who has relocated to a new community or setting.

Student’s Positive Characteristics
Describing the student’s positive characteristics and contributions helps keep the team focused on the strengths upon which a PBS plan should be created.

Team Vision Statement
The PBS plan should include the team’s expected vision for the student. This vision statement helps the team stay focused on the positive outcomes that will increase the student’s quality of life.

Definition(s) of Problem Behavior
The PBS plan includes clear definitions of each target behavior. Documenting each behavioral definition ensures that the team members implementing and evaluating the PBS plan will be focusing on the same issue.

Summary of the Functional Behavioral Assessment
Briefly summarize the functional behavioral assessment to keep the team focused on the original hypothesis statement. Describe the four part hypothesis statement (including setting events, antecedents, problem behaviors, and consequences).

Include information about each intervention in detail so that new teachers, paraeducators, or other team members can understand and implement them. In some cases, more complex PBS plans may include a one-page summary sheet so that the PBS plan can be reviewed quickly while interventions are being implemented.

Crisis Prevention Plan
Crisis prevention plans are included in the PBS plan when a behavior can result in a health or safety risk to the student or others. The purpose of a crisis prevention plan is to reduce possibility of serious injury and to provide guidelines for intervening as early as possible in an escalating sequence of problem behaviors. Guidelines for interrupting and managing dangerous behavior should be outlined in the crisis prevention plan and training provided to those who may be involved in a possible crisis. A script describing common situations that have escalated into crises and guidelines for dealing the situation can be useful as well. Click here for one type of crisis prevention plan.

PBS Evaluation Plan
A description of each outcome measure that is being used to evaluate a PBS plan should be included in a PBS plan. Remember to include data that will help you evaluate problem behaviors, new replacement behaviors, quality of life and how well the PBS plan fits the values, resources, and vision of the team (e.g. contextual fit). The Evaluating Effectiveness section of this module has more information about evaluating a PBS plan.

Summary of Additional Training (if necessary).
In more complicated cases, the team member with behavioral expertise may need to provide additional training to those implementing the plan. Training sessions can include a demonstration of how interventions are implemented and reflection and feedback sessions so team members can review how the session went.

Resources Needed to Implement the PBS Plan
It is important for the team to realistically assess what resources are needed and to decide whether these resources are available before implementing a PBS plan. Make a list of the staff, materials, or equipment that are necessary to ensure that the PBS plan will be a success.

Sign Off Page
A sign off page for team members helps to ensure that the team members involved are committed to the plan. Signing off on the plan means that the team approves of the interventions and will be committed to making sure the PBS plan is successful.

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How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

To see other posts in this series, click HERE.

So, we have completed our functional behavior assessment of behavior and developed hypotheses of the functions of the problem behavior. In a sense we have gotten to the root of the problem. So, now what do we do about it? We need to develop a behavioral support plan.
It seems like a behavioral support plan would be a pretty straightforward thing to understand, but there is actually a good bit of confusion and disagreement about what the term means. You notice I don’t call it a behavior management plan or a behavior intervention plan. It serves that function, but I think that a behavioral support plan includes much more and focuses on how to support the individual while reducing challenging behavior rather than just a discipline or crisis plan or a management plan that attempts to just get rid of the behavior. The most important thing about behavioral support is that we not only reduce the challenging behavior but that we improve the quality of life of the individual we are working with. So I thought I would start this step by talking about what a behavior support plan is and is not to help define what we are aiming to develop in this step. We will talk more about the qualities of a good behavioral support plan in future posts. I’m going to start with what it is not and end with what it is to lead into those.

What a behavior support plan is NOT:

A behavior plan is not just a crisis plan. It is not a plan that only tells us how to react or respond to the behavior. That is part of the plan, because we all need to know how to respond to the behavior when it happens. However, there is much more that needs to be addressed in the plan than just what to do in a crisis.

A behavior plan is not just a discipline plan. Again, while we need to have information about how violations of code of conduct of the school will be addressed for the individual or what punishment consequences will be used, that’s not enough. I have discussed that discipline and expecting appropriate behavior is not enough. We need to have strategies for preventing and replacing the behaviors to address the function.

A behavior plan is not a plan that is written by one person who is the “expert” or “in charge.” These plans rarely are effective. Plans are best developed by teams of people who work together to find strategies that match the function and information from the FBA.

So, What IS a Behavior Support Plan?

Prevention: A behavior support plan is a document that tells us how to prevent the challenging behavior–what antecedents we can change or remove to keep from triggering the behavior. It uses the FBA information to help us figure out which antecedents we need to address. For instance, if letting the student know ahead of time that a transition is upcoming, that would be included in the plan.

Replacement: A behavior support plan includes information about what skills are being taught to replace the challenging behavior. These are the behaviors that are appropriate but serve the same function as the challenging behavior. For instance, learning to call someone’s name for attention. It should include information about how to teach the skill so the staff knows what to do and what will be implemented. While this information may also take the form of goals in the IEP, it is important that it still be in the plan so that everyone is reminded of the need to facilitate and teach the skills. The great thing about a positive behavioral support approach is that we can teach the behaviors we want to see when the challenging behavior isn’t happening. And everyone is more amenable to instruction when they aren’t in the middle of a crisis.

Teaching: The plan also should include information about other skills we want to teach the student that will be helpful in improving quality of life but may not serve the same function. For instance, we might use a token system to reinforce a student to being in his seat when we check every 5 minutes. This doesn’t address the function of why he gets out of his seat, but it does increase the balance of reinforcement to make a behavior that is incompatible (can’t be in and out of seat at the same time) more likely to occur.

Response: The plan should also include information about what the response to the challenging behavior should be. Everyone needs to have a consistent response to the behavior when it can’t be prevented. While we are teaching replacement skills, there is a learning curve and the behavior is bound to happen sometimes despite our best efforts. We want to make sure that we are not reinforcing the problem behavior with our reaction and we want to make sure that everyone is safe. I’ll talk more about the need for the crisis portion of the plan later, but in short it is better to discuss as a team how we are going to address a behavior that could harm someone when there isn’t an impending crisis than when there is. Trust me on this one.

Team-Developed: And finally the plan should be developed by a team, not by an expert. There is research that supports this. Brenazzi and Horner found that plans that were developed by a team that included a person who had expertise in behavior analysis were more likely to be technically proficient (i.e., effective) and implemented than plans that were developed by teams without expertise in ABA and than plans developed by experts alone. Teams are good and assure that the strategies can be implemented as well as that they are based on the information from the FBA.

So, that is where I will pick up with the next post is to talk more about these areas of the plan and a format for putting it together. In the meantime, what do you think is important to include in a behavior support plan?

A Required Part of an IEP for a Child With Problem Behavior

  • M.Ed., Special Education, West Chester University
  • B.A., Elementary Education, University of Pittsburgh

A BIP or Behavior Intervention Plan describes how teachers, special educators, and other staff will help a child eliminate problem behavior. A BIP is required in an IEP if it is determined in the ​special considerations section that behavior inhibits academic achievement.

Identify and Name the Problem Behavior

The first step in a BIP is to begin the FBA (Functional Behavior Analysis). Even if a Certified Behavior Analyst or Psychologist is going to do the FBA, the teacher will be the person to identify which behaviors most impact a child’s progress. It is essential that the teacher describes the behavior in an operational way that will make it easy for the other professionals to complete the FBA.

Complete the FBA

The BIP Plan is written once an FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) has been prepared. The plan may be written by the teacher, a school psychologist or a behavior specialist. A Functional Behavioral Analysis will identify target behaviors operationally and the antecedent conditions. It will also describe the consequence, which in an FBA is the thing that reinforces the behavior. Read about antecedent behavior consequences under ABC in Special Ed 101. Understanding the consequence will also help choose a replacement behavior.

Example: When Jonathon is given math pages with fractions (antecedent), he will bang his head on his desk (behavior). The classroom aide will come and attempt to soothe him, so he doesn’t have to do his math page ( consequence: avoidance).

Measurable Goals for Behavioral Success

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

  • M.Ed., Special Education, West Chester University
  • B.A., Elementary Education, University of Pittsburgh

Behavioral Goals may be placed in an IEP when it is accompanied by a Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) and Behavior Improvement Plan (BIP). An IEP that has behavioral goals should also have a behavioral section in the present levels, indicating that behavior is an educational need. If the behavior is one that could be handled by changing the environment or by establishing procedures, you need to attempt other interventions before you alter an IEP. With RTI (Response to Intervention) entering the area of behavior, your school may have a procedure for being sure that you attempt interventions before you add a behavioral goal to an IEP.

Why Avoid Behavioral Goals?

  • Behavioral goals will automatically withdraw a student from the progressive discipline plan in place in your school, as you have identified behavior as a part of the student’s disability.
  • An IEP that has a BIP attached often labels a student when he or she is moved to another teacher, either to a new classroom or to a new schedule in middle school or high school.
  • A BIP must be followed across all educational environments and can create new challenges not only to the teacher of record but also for specials, general education classroom teachers. It will not make you popular. It is best to attempt behavioral interventions such as learning contracts before you move to a full FBA, BIP and behavioral goals.​

What Makes a Good Behavioral Goal?

In order for a behavioral goal to legally be an appropriate part of an IEP, it should:

  • Be stated in a positive manner. Describe the behavior you want to see, not the behavior you don’t want. i.e.:

Don’t write: John won’t hit or terrorize his classmates.

Do Write: John will keep hands and feet to himself.

  • Be measurable. Avoid subjective phrases like “will be responsible,” “will make appropriate choices during lunch and recess,” “will act in a cooperative manner.” (These last two were in my predecessor’s article on behavioral goals. PLEEZZ!) You should describe the topography of the behavior (what does it look like?) Examples:

Tom will remain in his seat during instruction 80 percent of observed 5 minute intervals. or

James will stand in line during class transitions with hands at his side, 6 out of 8 daily transitions.

  • Should define the environments where the behavior is to be seen: “In the classroom,” “Across all school environments,” “In specials, such as art and gym.”

A behavior goal should be easy for any teacher to understand and support, by knowing exactly what the behavior should look like as well as the behavior it replaces.

Proviso We do not expect everyone to be quiet all the time. Many teachers who have a rule “No talking in class” usually do not enforce it. What they actually mean is “No talking during instruction or directions.” We are often not clear about when that is happening. Cueing systems, are invaluable to help students know when they can talk quietly and when they must remain in their seats and be silent.

Examples of Common Behavior Challenges and Goals to Meet Them.

Aggression: When John is angry he will throw a table, scream at the teacher, or hit other students. A Behavior Improvement Plan would include teaching John to identify when he needs to go to the cool down spot, self- calming strategies and social rewards for using his words when he is frustrated instead of expressing it physically.

In his general education classroom, John will use a time out ticket to remove himself to the in class cool down spot, reducing aggression (throwing furniture, shouting profanities, hitting peers) to two episodes a week as recorded by his teacher in a frequency chart.

Out of Seat Behavior: Shauna has difficulty spending much time in her seat. During instruction she will crawl around her classmate’s legs, get up and go to the classroom sink for a drink, she will rock her chair until she falls over, and she will throw her pencil or scissors so she needs to leave her seat. Her behavior is not a reflection only of her ADHD but also functions to get her the teacher and her peers attention. Her behavior plan will include social rewards such as being line leader for earning stars during instruction. The environment will be structured with visual cues which will make it clear when an instruction is happening, and breaks will be built into the schedule so Shauna can sit on the pilates ball or take a message to the office.

During instruction, Shauna will remain in her seat for 80 percent of five minute intervals during 3 of 4 consecutive 90 minute data collection periods.

Lori has a specialist’s degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi’s Autism Project.

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What is a Behavior Intervention Plan?

A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is a strategic plan that is used to eliminate behavior problems by addressing the cause of the behavior. Behavior interventions are the steps, or interventions, teachers take to stop problem behaviors from happening in the classroom. The plan is devised from the data collected in the functional behavior assessment (FBA).

An FBA collects data on what the behavior looks like. This includes the duration, frequency, when it happens, what happens before the behavior, what happens after the behavior, the setting of the behavior, and the staff and students present during the behavior.

Why Use a Behavior Intervention Plan?

There are several reasons why you may want to use a behavior intervention plan. For instance,

  • It provides intensive interventions and monitors progress of interventions
  • Student feels supported by you and other staff members included in the plan
  • It is individualized
  • It provides consistency across settings

Components of a Behavior Intervention Plan

A BIP should include the target behavior, the replacement behavior, a description of the interventions, the rewards for appropriate behavior, and/or the consequences for inappropriate behavior. Let’s explore each of these components.

  • Target behavior: The behavior that has been selected to be changed. For example, if you want Johnny to stop screaming out when he hears loud noises, ‘stop screaming out’ would be the target behavior.
  • Replacement behavior: The behavior you want to replace an unwanted target behavior. For example, Johnny will still react to loud noises (a common symptom associated with autism spectrum disorder), so you will need to teach him an appropriate way to respond to loud noises, such as going to a safe spot or putting on sound eliminating ear phones.
  • Description of the interventions: This explains in detail the specific interventions and strategies to address the target behavior. This section should include antecedent strategies, instructional strategies, and consequence strategies.
    • Antecedent strategies: Strategies that change things before the behavior happens to prevent the problem behavior. For example, for Johnny, you could place sound barriers over the loudspeaker or alarms in the classroom to make them quieter.
    • Instructional strategies: Strategies used to teach the replacement behavior. For instance, this section could explain that you will teach Johnny to use his headphones or go to his safe spot when he is overstimulated by loud noises. This section should read like a step-by-step guide that anyone could pick up, read, and know exactly what should happen.
    • Consequence strategies: This section should detail what reinforcement will be used when the replacement behavior is demonstrated by the student. What will Johnny get if he uses his headphones instead of screaming out when hearing loud noises? Also, will there be other consequences if he continues to scream out, such as loss of privileges?

Sample Behavior Plan

I. Target Goals

A. Johnny will learn to use noise reducing headphones when he is overstimulated by loud noises.

B. Johnny will learn to report to the safe spot when he is overstimulated by loud noises.

II. Interventions

Antecedent Strategies:

A. Johnny will be seated away from the alarm bell.

B. A sound reducing cloth will be placed over the loudspeaker.

C. Johnny will receive a 30 second warning before the daily scheduled bells ring.

Instructional Strategies:

A. The teacher will use direct instruction and modeling to demonstrate how to put on the headphones.

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B. The teacher will role play when to use the headphones (before the bell rings, when the loudspeaker indicator comes on, etc.).

c. The teacher will model how to report to the safe spot.

Consequence Strategies:

A. Johnny will receive specific verbal praise for using his headphones or reporting to the safe spot when he is overstimulated by noise.

B. Johnny will receive a Popsicle stick each time he uses his headphones or reports to the safe spot when he is overstimulated by noise. At the end of each day he can use the Popsicle sticks to purchase a toy from the treasure box.

C. Johnny will lose his free time activity choice if he screams out when he hears loud noises four out of five times in one school day.

D. Following the implementation of the above plan, should Johnny fail to correct the behavior or if there should be any serious un-cooperativeness, then a parent conference will be called. If necessary, the full IEP Team will be reconvened to assess changes as may be appropriate.

Lesson Summary

A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is a plan that is designed to reduce problem behaviors. A BIP should include the target behavior (what you want to change), a replacement behavior (what you want the student to do), and the detailed plan or interventions that will be used to make this happen.

The interventions detailed in the BIP should include what you will do to change what happens before the behavior (antecedent strategies), the actual behavior (instructional strategies), and after the behavior (consequence strategies).

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Preparing a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

    Choose an alternative completing behavior

Select positive reinforcement that works for your child

Determine negative consequences


Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is proactive, and sets your child up for success rather than just giving consequences!

PBS requires that changes in the behavior of those who work with your child, instead of expecting just your child to change.

Replace the Problem Behavior with an Alternative Competing Behavior

Teach a new behavior that is more socially acceptable

The new behavior should match the function of the challenging behavior

The alternative competing behavior can’t be physically done at the same time as the challenging behavior

The alternative competing behavior should be: efficient, effective, and relevant.

Positive Reinforcement

Food (Examples)

Dry cereal marshmallows

Activities (Examples)

Play with toy from positive reinforcement toy box

Activate simple action toy

Choose a sports card from a hat (one at a time)

Shoot a basketball

Play dress up for 3 minutes

Watch favorite video for 5 minutes

Negative Consequences

You may choose to give a negative consequence that is not harmful to your child, but usually when you provide appropriate supports to prevent the behavior from happening and reinforce your child with natural positive consequences, negative consequences are not needed. Examples of negative consequences include:

Toy “time out” (Don’t put the child in a “time out” area, but put his favorite toy in the time out area, for a certain amount of time).

Suspend privileges for the day only. Don’t use coercive consequences.

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Thomas Tolstrup / Taxi / Getty Images

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) takes the observations made in a Functional Behavioral Assessment and turns them into a concrete plan of action for managing a student’s behavior. A BIP may include ways to change the environment to keep behavior from starting in the first place, provide positive reinforcement to promote good behavior, employ planned ignoring to avoid reinforcing bad behavior and provide supports needed so that the student will not be driven to act out due to frustration or fatigue.

Also Known As: Behavior Management Plan, Behavior Support Plan, Positive Behavior Support Plan

Parts of a Behavior Intervention Plan

When creating a BIP, the first step is fact-finding to describe the problem behavior in measurable terms, with examples. It takes a look at the setting and events in the student’s life that may be associated with the behavior. It examines the likely precipitating events for the behavior, likely consequences, and also the contexts in which the behavior doesn’t occur. These are then validated with the functional assessment. Replacement behaviors are chosen.

Then the data is used to create the BIP document. It should include:

  • Target behaviors
  • Specific goals that are measurable
  • Intervention description of how it will be done
  • When the intervention starts and how often it will be done
  • Method of evaluation
  • Persons responsible for each part of the intervention and evaluation
  • Data from evaluation

The document is approved by the IEP team, which includes the parents and school administrator as well as any of the staff who will be involved in implementing it. Parents should be involved in each step in developing the plan. Then the plan is implemented.

You may want to propose a behavior plan of your own for your child—particularly if you have a good relationship with your child study team.

Sample Behavior Intervention Plans

Using a Behavior Intervention Plan

When a behavior plan is agreed to, the school and staff are legally obligated to follow it.   If the school and staff don’t follow it, the consequences of the behavior should not be inflicted on the student. However, as with so many provisions of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), this may take a lot of vigilance, advocacy, and battling by parents to make sure that everyone who is to take these interventions into account does so in a complete and informed way.

Any time a complaint is made about your child’s disability-related behavior, ask whether the BIP was implemented and why it wasn’t effective in this situation.

Don’t assume that the plan has been explained to people like gym, art, or music teachers, or to lunchroom staff. Confirm this with your IEP team or take it upon yourself to distribute copies.

As your child grows and develops and changes classrooms and schools, the BIP will need to change too. It’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Even small changes like a new classmate that riles up your child or a teacher taking maternity leave may require some new behavioral strategizing.

Behaviour support is about creating individualised strategies for people with disability that are responsive to the person’s needs, in a way that reduces the occurrence and impact of behaviours of concern and minimises the use of restrictive practices.

Under the NDIS Commission, behaviour support focuses on person-centred interventions to address the underlying causes of behaviours of concern or challenging behaviours, while safeguarding the dignity and quality of life of people with disability who require specialist behaviour support.

Both behaviour support practitioners, and providers who use regulated restrictive practices (implementing providers), are required to meet the requirements outlined in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018.

This page contains information about:

The role of the Senior Practitioner

The Senior Practitioner leads the NDIS Commission’s behaviour support function. It is the role and responsibility of the Senior Practitioner to:

  • Oversee behaviour support practitioners and implementing providers who use behaviour support strategies and restrictive practices
  • Provide best practice advice to practitioners, providers, participants, families, and carers
  • Receive and review provider reports on the use of restrictive practices
  • Follow up on reportable incidents that suggest there are unmet behaviour support needs

Notification of behaviour support practitioners

To support safeguarding for people subject to restrictive practices, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 (the Rules) require that a registered provider of specialist behaviour support services must use a behaviour support practitioner whom the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner considers suitable.

To comply with this requirement, section 29 of the Rules requires that specialist behaviour support providers notify the NDIS Commission of their behaviour support practitioners.

On the basis of the information collected from the notification, practitioners will be considered provisionally suitable as NDIS behaviour support practitioners and advised of this in writing. The provisional status will remain in place until the practitioner undergoes an assessment against the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework.

The Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework

The Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework focuses on the knowledge and skills that underpin contemporary evidence-based practice. It reflects the diversity and variation of the sector’s capability in delivering behaviour support and provides a pathway for recognition and professional progression for practitioners.

The aim of the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework is to strengthen the safeguards for people receiving behaviour support and demonstrate a clear commitment to the reduction and elimination of restrictive practices. Read more about the Framework.

Which restrictive practices are regulated and what providers are required to do

Restrictive practice means any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 certain restrictive practices are subject to regulation. These include seclusion, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint and environmental restraint. Read more about restrictive practices and provider obligations.

Compliance activities

Webinar: Unauthorised restrictive practices (16 July 2020)

This webinar provides information relating to a notice (as a condition of registration under S 73F(2)(i) of the NDIS Act 2013) that was issued on 6 July 2020 by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner to registered providers in New South Wales and South Australia. The notice requested information on the provider’s use of unauthorised restrictive practices where the use is not in accordance with:

  • an authorisation and there is an authorisation process in relation to the use of the restrictive practice; and/or
  • a behaviour support plan for the NDIS participant.

For practitioners: how to lodge behaviour support plans

Practitioners develop plans in a document, and upload plans into the NDIS Commission Portal using the provider’s own template. Practitioners can also download and fill out the NDIS Commission templates:

Where state or territories require a specific template to be used, this template can be uploaded to the Portal.

Details about the participant and regulated restrictive practices are entered into the Portal. A PRODA account is required to access the Portal. For detailed information about the Portal, please see the NDIS Commission Portal User Guide for Behaviour Support.

For implementing providers: how to report on the use of regulated restrictive practices

Providers will require a PRODA account to access the Portal. Upon logging in for the first time, plans that have been lodged can be accepted. The next step is to submit monthly reports via the Portal.

Providers in the ACT, QLD and Vic can find additional information about monthly reporting of restrictive practices.

For Practitioners: Behaviour Support in the NDIS Commission

For Providers: Behaviour Support in the NDIS Commission

A Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP) is what takes the observations from a functional assessment and turns them into a concrete plan of suggestions. It is also sometimes known as a behaviour protocol or behaviour treatment plan. It should be based on a functional assessment or a functional analysis so that the suggestions made are function-based. The plan should also be focused on positive replacement behaviours and skills that can replace the targeted negative behaviour when possible.

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Having a BIP in place means that everyone can be on the same page when dealing with a disruptive or negative behaviour. Students often come into contact with many people throughout the day – therapists, teachers, family members and other staff. In order to avoid intermittently reinforcing a negative behaviour (thereby making it harder to reduce), everyone should know the defined protocol in handling the behaviour.

Remember: The protocol may not always work and may need to be tweaked. But the only way to know if it is working is to try it consistently and take data. If one team member decides that they don’t like the protocol and don’t implement it, we’ll never know!

Click here to receive a FREE Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP) template

Steps to implementing a behaviour treatment plan:

1. Define the Behaviour

The first thing to do is to define exactly what the behaviour IS and what it IS NOT so that anyone observing the behaviour would come to the same conclusion. Include things like: intensity, topography, location, frequency, and other important descriptions.

Good description for non-contextual vocalization:

Any instance of non-functional speech, including singing, babbling, and phrases unrelated to the present situation. Examples include, “d-d-d”, “ahhhh” (with our without arm flapping), video scripts.

This does not include the gurgle sound that is produced at the back of student’s mouth or in her throat, or the slurping sound. It also does not include non-contextual laughter.

This does not include any vocalizations that occur while she is screaming.

Good description for screaming:

High-pitched screams, lasting longer than 1 second. May or may not be accompanied by crying. Must be separated by 10 seconds of quiet to be counted as a new instance.

You could also include here any triggers or setting events that make the behaviour more likely to occur.

Tip: You can include Inter-Observer Reliability here to make sure that it is well defined and tweak if necessary

2. Reason for Treatment Plan

Before intervening on any behaviour, it should meet criteria that determine it worthwhile to intervene. This can include: interferes with learning, injury to self or others, causes damage to the environment, socially isolates the individual, and impedes independence. For more on this, see When is a Behaviour Worth Targeting?

3. Data Collection

Before beginning any intervention, we want to have enough information on the behaviour during baseline (i.e. before treatment) to know if the intervention is effective. Decide on the best way to collect data that will give over an accurate depiction of the behaviour.

Some examples include:

  • ABC data
  • Frequency data
  • Duration data
  • Partial interval data

4. Hypothesized Function

This is where you would include the information from any functional assessment or data from a functional analysis. Include the function and reason for that conclusion. Also include any graph or measurement from the functional analysis.

5. Antecedent Strategies

This should be the focus of the intervention – teaching the student alternative ways to access reinforcement and prevention of problem behaviour. Some antecedent strategies are as simple as a visual schedule and some require more teaching such as teaching a student to mand for attention. The antecedent strategies should address:

  • MO manipulation – making it LESS reinforcing to engage in the problem behaviour (eg: move the child’s desk)
  • Differential reinforcement procedures – introducing a skill that you will reinforce MORE than the target behaviour (eg: reinforce appropriate attention-seeking)

6. Consequence Strategies

Once the behaviour has already occurred, the team should have protocols on how to manage it. The most important part of the consequence strategy is making sure that the behaviour isn’t reinforced. If the child engages in a tantrum for access to a favourite toy, the consequence strategy should make sure include that the child SHOULD NOT get access to that toy immediately after a tantrum. Other things to include in the consequence strategies to help de-escalate the situation:

  • Behaviour momentum
  • Ignore the behaviour but not the child – redirect to the task, visual, or other
  • Stay calm, block aggression

7. Risk-Response Analysis

Define the reason and rationale for implementing a behaviour plan. It should be because the benefits outweigh the risks. However, if there is any part of your behaviour plan that involves risk, be sure to carefully analyze that the risk is worthwhile. For example, if part of the plan involves a student being removed from his classroom, potential risks involved include: missing academic time, being singled out by peers. Ask yourself (and other team members) if this is worth the potential benefits.

8. Consent

When implementing any behaviour plan, parents (or caregivers) should be informed before beginning. They should be able to have any input into aspects that they want removed or included. Then, include their signature as consent to the plan.

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How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

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This policy assists Victorian government schools to create positive climates for learning and to support student behaviour.


Schools can find information and advice on promoting positive behaviour, prevention and early intervention strategies, a tiered response approach for student behaviour and wellbeing and professional learning opportunities in the Guidance tab.

Schools are expected to consider, explore and implement positive and non-punitive interventions to support student behaviour before considering disciplinary measures such as detention, withdrawal of privileges or withdrawal from class. Information about these consequences are set out in the Guidance tab.

Schools are responsible for ensuring a local school wide Student Engagement Policy is in place and that appropriate mental health and wellbeing supports are available for students. Refer to Student Engagement for policy requirements and guidance.


Refer to definitions in Guidance

Related policies or advice

Relevant legislation


For information about behaviour support strategies:
Principal Practice Leader-Education
Professional Practice Leadership Division
Schools and Regional Services
Phone: 03 7022 0528

For information about school-wide positive behaviour support framework:
School-wide Positive Behaviour Support Unit
Phone: 03 7022 1383
Email: [email protected]

For information about detention and other consequences:
Regional offices may be contacted for queries regarding detention and other consequences

Download our template of an individual behaviour plan. Plus, see examples as well as guidance on writing behaviour plans.

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Adapt the plan to meet your school’s needs and to suit the age and interests of individual pupils.

In the plan you’ll find:

  • Prompts to help someone working with the pupil to support their behaviour
  • Space to provide a fuller picture of the pupil’s personality and record recent behaviour incidents

Our associate education expert Jeremy Bird helped us write this template.


Suffolk County Council has published an example behaviour support plan.

The sample content shows how staff will prevent a pupil from biting others.

You can download it from this page.

Maidstone Specialist Teaching and Learning Service has created a template plan on how to respond to different behaviours.

It splits responses into 4 stages: proactive, active, reactive and recovery.

You can access the template on Five Acre Wood School’s website (where the service is based) – see appendix 4.

North Somerset Council has published a behaviour plan as part of its early years inclusion support resource pack for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.

The plan includes sections to record information about:

  • Concerns about the pupil’s behaviour
  • Strategies for how to meet targets
  • An adult’s response to the unwanted behaviour

Find the plan on page 53 of the inclusion support booklet on their website. On page 54 you’ll find a sample plan.

Guidance on writing behaviour plans

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, a charity for people with behaviour challenges and learning difficulties, has published advice on behaviour support planning (see ‘how to create a behaviour support plan’).

It sets out 8 ‘key steps’ in creating a behaviour support plan, and these could also be helpful in creating individual behaviour plans (IBPs).


Jeremy Bird has extensive experience of primary headship. He has also worked with local authorities and published guidance for new and aspiring headteachers and senior leaders.

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

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The following video is designed to give the viewer assistance in completing a “Behavior Support Plan” work form and gives tips on implementing a BSP program.

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The video provides an overview of Anne Fitzgerald School’s journey towards designing and implementing behaviour supports to meet the needs of their school.

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How to write a CareSys support plan.

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Joe Zima, Behavior Specialist for St. Clair County RESA, explains how to effectively enter information into a Functional Behavior Assessment.

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Like Autism Live on Facebook at Today on Autism Live: Dr. Adel Najdowski gives important information about BIPs, what they are, .

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Created for Shendandoah Career Switcher Program – Ken Harman, Andrew Koslow, Ken Price, Mara Schneider.

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“Positive Unified Behavior Support: A Model of School-Wide Positive Behavior Support” The Behavior and Reading Improvement Center of the University of .

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The Positive Behavior Support Plan Fidelity Data Checklist outlines the targeted behavior(s), prevention strategies and the replacement skills to be taught, .

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Evelyn Gould, BCBA, MSc, shares important information about how to break down a challenging behavior and work towards finding a BIP to eliminate it. Autism .

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Positive Behavior Support for Young Children Learn the evidence-based models to promote social-emotional development for young children. Register for .

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Positive Behavior Support: Reviewing Behavior Change Plans

2012-11-09 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH)

This purpose of this procedure is to establish the standards and guidelines to be used in providing behavior support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the District of Columbia. Behavior support is an appropriate service for a person who displays a pattern or patterns of behavior which are likely to seriously limit his or her ability to engage in activities or relationships that are meaningful to the person; or which threaten the physical safety of the person or those around them. These procedures will govern how Department on Disability Services (DDS), Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) providers develop behavior support plans for the people they support.

Person-Centered Thinking

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Person-centered thinking is a philosophy behind service provision that supports positive control and self-direction of people’s own lives. DDS is working to implement this through training sessions and other agency wide initiatives.

Employment First Initiative

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Under the Employment First philosophy, competitive, integrated employment is the first and overwhelmingly preferred option for working-age youth and adults with disabilities.

Positive Behaviour Support Planning is the third information sheet in this series. It is recommended that it is read alongside ‘‘Understanding Challenging Behaviour: Part 1’’ and “Finding the Reasons for Challenging Behaviour: Part 2’’


What is a Behaviour Support Plan?

This plan provides carers with a step by step guide to managing challenging behaviour. It is based on the results of a behaviour assessment. Two important parts of the plan are:

1. Proactive strategies. These are used to make sure that the person has got what they need. They also describe ways to teach the person communication and other skills. Examples include:

  • Look for triggers
  • Teach skills e.g. a sign for “finished”
  • Be aware of how you talk to the person e.g. firm, funny and calm
  • Adjust the environment e.g. dim the lights, tie hair back to stop someone pulling hair
  • Rewards
  • Routine and structure
  • Boundaries

2. Reactive strategies are designed to keep the person and those around them safe. Examples include:

  • Do not respond to the behaviour
  • Give reminders
  • Distract the person
  • Give the person what they want
  • Remove yourself from the situation e.g., leave the room

A good plan has more proactive than reactive strategies.

How to create a Behaviour Support Plan

Everyone involved with the person’s care should be involved in creating a behaviour support plan. Here are 8 key steps to make a plan:

Obviously, the first step in writing a behavior management plan is to identify the student and the behavior you want to change. After you have done that, you are ready to write the plan.

What is a Behavior Management Plan?

A behavior management plan is a plan for changing behavior. They are great tools for teachers to employ because they require active involvement from the student, teacher, and whoever else needs to be included.


The purpose of a behavior management plan is to develop a plan of action to manage a student’s behavior.

What Should a Behavior Management Plan Cover?


The specific actions of everyone involved with the plan should be covered. Determine what the teacher, student, parent, administrator, and so on will do to implement the plan and ensure its success.

Be specific.

For example, let’s say you have a student who is constantly putting her head on her desk and not turning in her work. Address those two problems specifically.

Action of Student: Student will sit upright in her desk. Student will place completed classwork in basket as soon as the work is completed.

Action of Teacher: Teacher will walk by student’s desk every fifteen minutes. Teacher will place hand on student’s shoulder if student’s head is on her desk. Teacher will call home every other day to report if student turned in assignments.

In my experience, the more specific you are, the better. In the past, when I have written a plan for the behaviors I mentioned in the example above, I kept a clipboard with me and marked each time I noticed the student’s head on her desk. If the plan was working, there were fewer marks as time passed, until eventually there were no marks at all. This sounds tedious, and it can be, but your goal is to extinguish the problem behavior. So, as time passes you should find yourself in less need of the clipboard because the behavior should be improving.


Determine how you will measure the student’s behavior so you will know whether or not the plan is working.

I use the clipboard that I mentioned above. You can also look at grades, how often work is being turned in, parent feedback, etc.

Rewards and Consequences

Determine which rewards and consequences will be used. This is where it helps tremendously to know your student and to get her input. Some kids will do anything for a 15 minutes pass to use the computer. Others could care less. Some children are devastated by a negative phone call home while others are not bothered in the least. Know the child!

In my experience, positive reinforcement works best. If you give the child something tangible to work toward, he or she usually responds pretty well.


Establish a timeline for when you will meet to go over the plan, the measurements, and everyone’s general feelings about it. It does no good to write a plan if you never go back and use it!


As you consider how to write a behavior management plan, think about ways to ensure its success. One way I do this it to have everyone who is to play a part sign the plan. It makes it feel more official and like a real contractual agreement.

Remember that the ultimate goal of writing a behavior management plan is to longer need a behavior management plan. If the plan is successful, the undesirable behaviors will be replaced by desirable ones, and everyone is happy.

At a Glance

Kids who misbehave in school have a harder time learning.

To help a child who struggles to behave, a school can put in place a formal plan.

The behavior intervention plan tries to prevent bad behavior, not just punish the child.

Most kids get in trouble now and then at school. But if a child acts out over and over again, it can be hard for them (and their classmates) to learn in school. To help a child behave, a school may put in place a formal plan.

Here’s what you need to know about behavior intervention plans (or BIPs).

What’s a Behavior Intervention Plan?

A BIP is a written plan that teaches and rewards good behavior. It can be a single page or many pages. The purpose is to prevent or stop misbehavior, not just punish the child.

The plan has three key parts. First, the plan lists the problem behavior. Second, it describes why it’s happening. Third, it puts in place strategies or supports to help.

How do schools figure out why a child is misbehaving? And how do they know what strategies or supports to use? They put together a team of school staff to look into it.

The school team may interview the child, the teacher, and other staff. They should also observe the child and talk to the child’s family to figure out what’s happening. Testing might be used, too, as well as a review of past report cards or incidents. (This process is called a functional behavior assessment.)

Here’s an example of how a BIP might work. Say a middle-schooler is cracking jokes in history class every day. When the teacher asks the child to stop, the child responds with insults.

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The child is sent to the principal’s office almost every day. And neither the child nor the child’s classmates are learning any history.

There are many possible reasons kids might disrupt class like this. They might be restless. They may not understand what’s being taught. They might want attention from the teacher or other students.

Sometimes, kids don’t know why they do what they do. The school team has to do some detective work to figure out why the child is acting out.

Once the team understands the reason (or reasons), it puts together the plan to prevent it from happening.

For example, if a child wants attention, the school may try to channel this in a more positive way—maybe letting the child perform in a talent show. If the problem is restlessness, the child could take breaks when feeling antsy. The plan may even include teaching the child strategies for staying focused.

Educators refer to these strategies and supports as interventions. This means they’re formal and done for a specific amount of time. The team also will keep an eye on how they’re working. That’s why the plan is called a behavior intervention plan.

Who Gets a Behavior Intervention Plan?

Not every child gets a behavior plan. They’re meant for kids who have a lot of trouble behaving appropriately, and only when it gets in the way of their learning.

Some kids already have 504 plans or IEPs to help them thrive in school. For these kids, the 504 or IEP team will decide whether to add a BIP. If added, the plan becomes part of their education program. Sometimes, the law requires schools to consider giving a child a behavior plan—for example, if a child with an IEP or 504 plan is suspended from school for several days.

But kids don’t have to have a 504 plan or IEP to get a behavior plan. If kids act out in school and it’s hurting their learning, they might get a BIP. It’s up to the school to decide how to help.

What to Watch Out For

Kids change over time, and so should their behavior plans. The school should review the BIP every so often, and adjust it if there’s new information or if the child needs a change.

Sadly, lots of behavior plans don’t work out at first. That could happen if there’s a mismatch between the behavior problem and the strategies in the plan. Sometimes, the school assumes a child is acting out for one reason, but it’s not the real reason.

For example, if a child is cracking jokes to hide a reading difficulty, then letting the child be part of the talent show might not help.

Another pitfall is that a school and a family set up a plan but don’t come back to review it. If the behavior plan doesn’t change with the child, it can get outdated quickly—especially if there are rewards or incentives in the plan. What works at first might soon become “old hat” and need to be switched out.

The best way to see if a plan is the right move is for teachers and families to talk about a child’s behavior. Use these conversation starters to get the ball rolling. You can also learn about behavior strategies that teachers use in classrooms.

Key Takeaways

To make a BIP, the school has to understand why a child is misbehaving.

A behavior plan can be part of a 504 plan or an IEP.

It’s important for the school to keep an eye on and adjust the plan as needed.


About the Author

About the Author

worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.

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Definition of Positive Behavior Support

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a set of research-based strategies used to increase quality of life and decrease problem behavior by teaching new skills and making changes in a person’s environment. Positive behavior support combines:

Valued Outcomes

In the past, intervention strategies were designed to decrease problem behavior without considering how these interventions might affect other areas of an individual’s life. A single intervention, implemented to reduce problem behavior, often resulted in narrowly focused behavior support plans. The effectiveness of today’s behavior support plan is judged by different standards. Positive behavior support (PBS) strategies are considered effective when interventions result in increases in an individual’s success and personal satisfaction, and the enhancement of positive social interactions across work, academic, recreational, and community settings. Valued outcomes include increases in quality of life as defined by an individual’s unique preferences and needs and positive lifestyle changes that increase social belonging.

Behavioral and Biomedical Science

Positive behavior support is based upon behavioral and biomedical science. Research in applied behavior analysis has demonstrated the importance of analyzing the interaction between behavior and the environment. From this perspective, behavior is considered purposeful and is under the control of environmental factors that can be changed. Positive behavior support assessment and intervention strategies are based upon research in applied behavior analysis and emphasize the importance of implementing intervention strategies that are effective in natural everyday settings.

Positive behavior support assessment and intervention strategies are also based on biomedical science. In the past, behavioral and psychiatric interventions have often been managed separately with very little collaboration between behavior consultants and medical personnel. Information related to an individual’s psychiatric state and the knowledge of other biological factors can assist professionals in understanding the interaction between the physiological and environmental factors that influence behavior.

Validated Procedures

Individual interventions in applied behavior analysis have been validated using a research method called single subject design. Single subject designs are very effective when studying a small number of variables that influence a person’s behavior. However, professionals often implement multiple interventions while dealing with numerous variables in complex and ever-changing systems. As a result, a number of different research strategies are needed to evaluate a behavior support plan’s success. These strategies move beyond single subject experiments that isolate one variable while holding all others constant. Positive behavior support professionals implement system-level interventions to ensure the success of multiple interventions while working within everyday settings. Data collected to evaluate positive behavior support outcomes can include program evaluation measures, qualitative research, surveys, rating scales, interviews, correlational analyses, direct observation, and self-report information.

Systems Change

Many excellent positive behavior support plans are never implemented because of problems that are related to how a PBS plan was developed. These problems can be related to resource allocation, staff development issues, team building and collaboration, and the extent to which a positive behavior support plan is a good fit for the people who will implement it. Assessment and intervention strategies that consider the larger environment within an organization or home are needed in order to ensure the success of a positive behavior support plan.

PBS Practices From the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

PBS Practices are brief fact sheets that describe effective practices in Positive Behavior Support. Each Practice includes a rationale, overview, examples, issues and needs, and frequently-asked questions on a designated topic. The purpose of the series on PBS Practices is to provide information about important elements of positive behavior support. PBS Practices are not specific recommendations for implementation, and they should always be considered within the larger context of planning, assessment and comprehensive support.

  • Methods of Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)PDF
  • Collaborative Teaming in PBSPDF
  • Proactive Support StrategiesPDF
  • Teaching Replacement SkillsPDF
  • Systems Change in Positive Behavior SupportPDF
  • Competing Behavior ModelPDF
  • Group Action Planning and PBSPDF
  • Addressing Cultural and Economic Diversity in PBSPDF

School-wide and Organization-wide PBS

Positive behavior support is a community based approach that involves learning more about the environment in which a child or adult lives, and working collaboratively with everyone in that setting to design strategies for promoting positive social and communication skills. Preventing problem behavior becomes the focus of planning for larger groups so that all children and adults within a setting are interacting in positive and meaningful ways.

The triangle below provides a way to think about systems change in positive behavior support. A systems-wide approach to PBS means that strategies for teaching social and communication skills and for reinforcing those skills are established so that all of the children or adults within a setting are receiving support in a preventative manner. In addition, plans are made to make sure everyone is consistent when responding to the occurrence of problem behavior. Strategies that address all children within a school, or all of the adults in a community setting are referred to as Primary Prevention strategies.

However, some children or adults may need additional support to be successful. Creating strategies for the early identification of children and adults in need of additional support is a critical part of positive behavior support. Intervening early and providing extra individualized or targeted group instruction in social and communication skills and changing the environment in ways that prevent problem behavior is an important part of Secondary Prevention strategies. Finally, a more comprehensive and individualized positive behavior support plan may be needed to ensure a child or adult receives that support needed to be successful and happy and to decrease the occurrence of problem behavior. These strategies are referred to as Tertiary Prevention.

Although PBS implementation may look different in early childhood settings, in public schools, or working with adults with disabilities, the systems and processes are similar.

Guidelines, papers and websites

Foundations of Positive Behaviour Support films – form part of the NDS Zero Tolerance initiative. A series of vimeo links; a useful resource for staff training and induction and whilst they are primarily targeted towards Disability Support Workers, they are suitable for a wide-ranging audience.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission – Behaviour support is about creating individualised strategies for people with disability that are responsive to the person’s needs, in a way that reduces the occurrence and impact of behaviours of concern and minimises the use of restrictive practices.

An introduction to PBS – An Introduction to PBS is a short animation – just six minutes long – that gives an overview of PBS and how PBS approaches work in practice when supporting an individual (BILD).

NDS Zero Tolerance – an initiative led by NDS in partnership with the disability sector. It assists disability service providers to understand, implement and improve practices which safeguard the rights of people they support. Built around a national evidence-based framework.

The Association for Positive Behaviour Support Australia – aims to improve the access to and scope of PBIS (Positive Behaviour Interventions and Support) implementation across Australia.

The Association for Positive Behaviour Support (APBS) – Its Mission: “Enhance the quality of life of people across the life-span by promoting evidence-based and effective positive behavior support to realize socially valid and equitable outcomes for people, families, schools, agencies, and communities.” Has an Australian network.

Challenging Behaviour and Learning Disabilities: Prevention and Interventions for People with Learning Disabilities Whose Behaviour Challenges – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); 2015 May. (NICE Guideline, No. 11.) Guideline Development Group members and National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) review team.

What-is-your-childs-Challenging-Behaviour-trying-to-tell-you: A guide for families. – This guide is for parents, family members and carers who are worried about their child’s/family member’s behaviour. For the sake of readability we will refer to ‘parents’ and the child as ‘your child’ throughout the resource.

I-Am-Trying-To-Tell-You-Something-May-2019-PDF: Supporting adults who can behave in challenging ways: Supporting adults who can behave in challenging ways. June 2019.

Positive behavioural support for adults with intellectual disabilities and behaviour that challenges: an initial exploration of the economic case. Iemmi, Valentina, Knapp, Martin, Saville, Maria, McLennan, Kathy, McWade, Paul and Toogood, Sandy (2015) International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, 5 (1). pp. 16-25.

Practice Guide No1 – QLD Centre of excellence – What is positive behaviour support? (Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support, August 2018).

The efficacy of PBS with challenging behaviour – LaVigna, G & Willis T. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability. July 2012

Behaviour Support and the Use of Medications: a guide for practitioners – Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support Program (2018) Behaviour Support and the use of medication, guide for practitioners. UNSW Sydney.

Understanding Behaviour Support Practice Guide Children to 8 years of age – Dew, A., Jones, A., Horvat, K., Cumming, T., Dillon Savage, I., & Dowse, L. (2017). Understanding Behaviour Support Practice: Young Children (0–8 years) with Developmental Delay and Disability. UNSW Sydney.

Understanding Behaviour Support Practice Guide Children 9-18 – Dew, A., Jones, A., Horvat, K., Cumming, T., Dillon Savage, I., & Dowse, L. (2017). Understanding Behaviour Support Practice: Young Children (9-18 years) with Developmental Delay and Disability. UNSW Sydney.

Complex Support Needs Planning – Living the life I want: A guide to help with planning has been developed with and for people with cognitive impairment and complex support needs to assist them to engage in making plans.

Positive Practices in Behavioral Support Through Non-Linear Applied Behavior Analysis, Facilitator’s Manual – Gary W. LaVigna, Thomas J. Willis, John Q. Marshall. © 2009 Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis® Los Angeles, California.

PBS Academy – The PBS Academy is a collective of organisations and individuals in the UK who are working together to promote Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) as a framework for working with children and adults with learning disabilities who are at risk of behaviour that challenges (UK).

Positive Behaviour Support Working together to make things better – A document in easy read about Positive Behaviour Support to use when working with people with learning disabilities (Centre for the Advancement of Positive Behaviour Support).

What is Positive Behaviour Support? – This animated video produced by the Centre for the Advancement of PBS at BILD gives a very helpful overview of PBS and how PBS approaches work in practice when supporting an individual.

Applied Behaviour Analysis – information about ABA by Educate Autism

PBS Plans and Guides

Positive Behaviour Support and Active Support – Esssential elements for achieving real change in services for people whose behaviour is described as challenging. Written by John Ockenden (United Response) with assistance from Bev Ashman (United Response), Julie Beadle-Brown (Tizard Centre, University of Kent) and Andrea Wiggins (The Avenues Group).

Preparing a positive behaviour support plan — guidelines and model plan – An example of a PBS Plan in detail (Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services).

Positive Behaviour Support Plan Guideline: How to write a PBS Plan – The Senior Practitioner has issued this Guideline to assist service providers to develop a PBS Plan, consistent with the objects and requirements of the SP Act, for a person with behaviours of concern that may cause harm to themselves or others (Office of the ACT Senior Practitioner, April 2019).

PBS Strategies

PBS Data Gathering Tools

Compendium of Resources for Positive Behaviour Support – This compendium of resources provides behaviour support practitioners with a comprehensive list of positive behaviour support assessment tools that can be used for the purposes of behaviour support assessment, planning, intervention, monitoring and review (NDIS Q+S Commission).

Positive Behavior Support Setting Checklist – Examines relevant environmental aspects (Hieneman, 2016).

Behaviour Support Planning toolkit section 4 – Useful assessment tools and forms (word) including Frequency Recording, STAR chart, Questions about behavioural function, FBA (Health and Human Services, Victoria).

Reinforcement inventory for adults and children – Behavior Assessment Guide © 1993, IABA, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Preference Assessments/Reinforce Inventories – One way to reduce problem behavior is to provide a specific schedule of reinforcement. Preference assessments are a formalized way of identifying what an individual likes. (Autism Teaching Supports).

Monitoring tools

Behaviour Intervention Plan Quality Evaluation Scoring Guide II – To Evaluate Behavior Intervention Plans. Diana Browning Wright.

Positive Behaviour Person-Centered Plan Report Scoring Criteria & Checklist – Adapted from the Kansas Institute for Positive Behavior Support Person-Centered Positive Behavior Support Plan (PC-PBS) Report Scoring Criteria & Checklist (Rev. 3-5-07).

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How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Positive behavior support is a system set up to understand behavior that can be challenging, such as consistent bad behavior among students. Most of the time inappropriate behaviors serve a purpose for the person acting them out, so it is hard for others to understand and deal with it. Positive behavior support is an attempt to understand and help improve bad behaviors by studying and documenting their causes in an attempt to isolate and solve the problems.

How to Write a Behavior Support PlanPositive reinforcement for good actions can help support behavioral changes.

The process of changing the negative habits begins with analyzing specific details of the behaviors and finding triggers for them. The positive behavior support group begins by observing and documenting when bad behavior appears, and then compares the incidents to previous notes that have been made. This allows the assessment to show what factors or activities contribute to the bad behaviors. In order to solve challenging behavior, the triggers have to first be identified so that they can be reversed, or eliminated if possible. From this point the group can figure out what the consequences are for the person, and for those around them.

After the analyzing and documenting phase, the positive behavior support group comes up with a plan to eliminate the behaviors. The first step is to set a goal for the person, and then design a plan that will work for the specific case. Along with these tasks, the group is also responsible for figuring out a way to implement the plan. While the plan is in effect, and after it has been completed, the group will continue to analyze and document the person’s behaviors so that they can personally view any changes, whether for the better or the worse.

How to Write a Behavior Support PlanPositive behavior support can help people understand why they might have a desire to harm themselves.

The actual plan is where the positive behavior support group gets its name. The group will use positive behavior modifications within the person’s environment to effectively change the habits that are undesirable. As with most parenting plans throughout the world, positive reinforcement and change is used in order to reverse bad habits. This group, along with the family and friends that support the person, may effectively change the bad behaviors into more appropriate ones. Good behaviors that are learned in this manner are almost always retained by the person, allowing them to continue good habits and to remove the bad ones.

How to Write a Behavior Support PlanPositive behavior support can be used in training pets, as well as with children or adults undergoing rehabilitation. How to Write a Behavior Support PlanA positive behavior support group will come up with a plan to eliminate undesirable behaviors.

PBS Case Study: Brendan

How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

Meet Brendan!

Brendan is a very happy, energetic, young boy. Prior to implementing Positive Behavior Support (PBS), Brendan had severe challenging behavior. Brendan and his family were physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted and in desperate need of help. Brendan’s parents had tried absolutely everything in their “bag of tricks” but nothing seemed to work with their youngest son. They felt like they were failing!

PBS provided Brendan’s family with new hope. PBS was a match with their family routines and values and allowed Brendan’s parents to view their dreams and visions for their son as achievable.

Brendan is an example of a young boy who benefited from the process of Positive Behavior Support. This case study provides specific details of the success that Brendan and his family experienced with PBS. Below you will find products, videos, and materials produced and utilized that illustrate the steps the support team went through to determine the purpose of Brendan’s behavior and how they moved from conducting a Functional Assessment through the steps of the process to finally developing and implementing Brendan’s Behavior Support Plan.

“Positive Behavior Support is a set of tools that has allowed our children to more fully participate and succeed in everyday life.”

-John Hornbeck, Brendan’s father

Components of Brendan’s Case Study

Brendan Before PBS

by Barry K. Morris B.ScWk

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a behavioral intervention gaining in popularity for use with Autism Spectrum Disorders for resolving behavior problems. Children are supported in adopting socially meaningful behaviors, avoiding inappropriate behaviors, and learning functional skills as a replacement for problem behavior. It is based on principles regarding the rights of all children to be treated with dignity and have access to educational opportunities.

Principles of Positive Behavior Support

PBS implies an understanding that people (including parents) do not control others, but seek to support others in their own behavior change processes. There is a reason behind most inappropriate behavior of difficulty in acquiring skills, so the child should always be treated with respect. There should always be a focus on humane changes in the child’s life to learn better behavior, instead of using coercion or punishment to manage behavior.

Positive Behavior Support involves a commitment to continually search for new ways to minimize coercion. This does not mean that parents should be judged too harshly if they occasionally resort to yelling. We can tend to fall back on patterns of care giving that have worked for us in the past, especially when we are challenged by difficult behavior. PBS (in this case) means that we have recognized when we have resorted to coercion, and continually seek to find alternatives that we can use next time challenges occur.

Functional Behavioral Assessment

This is a process for describing behavior, including environmental factors and setting events that predict the behavior, and guiding the development of effective and efficient support plans. Assessment lays the foundation of PBS. The assessment includes:

• a description of the problem behavior
• identification of events, times and situations predictive of problem behavior
• identification of consequences that maintain behavior
• identification of the motivating function of behavior
• collection of direct observational data.

The results of the assessment help in developing the individualized behavior support plan. This outlines procedures for teaching alternatives to the behavior problems, and alterations to the circumstances most associated with the problems.

Identify strengths and needs

What skills does the child have? For example a student who cannot sit still in class may be a great help to working on the stage crew for a production. It is important to establish the child’s level of insight, reasoning skills and capacity to control their behavior.

What does the child enjoy and hate? This can help to establish positive and negative reinforcements of behaviors. Other points to be included for consideration are, values/culture, biomedical/physical factors, environmental factors, motivation, intervention history, learning history, learning style, and relationships.


There are many different behavioral strategies to encourage individuals to change their behavior. Some of the most commonly used approaches are:

• Modifying the environment or routine

• Distracting the child
• Positive reinforcement for an appropriate behavior
• Changing expectations and demands placed upon the child
• Teaching the child new skills and behaviors

• Modification techniques such as desensitization and graded extinction
• Changing how people around the child react
• Time out
• Medication.

behavior management program

The key questions in developing a behavior management program include:
• What are the specific behaviors to address?
• What is the current pattern of behavior?
• What is the goal for change?
• What are the steps towards achieving the goal?
• How will change be recognized and monitored?
• What approach or combination of approaches is most likely to be effective?

For all carers and family members involved in the program, a consistent approach is often the most significant factor influencing success. The expectations of behavioral change also need to be clearly defined and realistic. It may not be possible to change all behaviors at once, or in all situations.

Consequential management

Consequential management is a positive response to challenging behavior It serves to give the person informed choice. It gives the person an opportunity to learn. Consequences exist within our society, and we live with the consequences of our actions on a daily basis. For example, if we speed and are caught, the consequence is more than likely to be that we will get a speeding ticket. The use of consequential management is a positive response to behavior, it allows a person informed choice and an opportunity for learning.

Consequences must be clearly related to the challenging behavior. For example, if a glass of water was thrown and the glass smashed, the logical consequence would be for the person to clean up the mess and replace the glass. If an unrelated punishment was enforced, such as not being able to go to the movies the next day, the person would not be able to see or understand the link and the learning benefits of the process would be lost.

Providing choices is very important and staff can set limits by giving alternatives that are related to a behavior they are seeking. It is important that the alternative is stated in a positive way and that words are used which convey that the person has a choice. For example:

Not so good way
“If you don’t cut that out you’ll have to leave the room.”

Better way

“You can watch TV quietly or leave the room.”

Managing Crisis Situations

When behavior becomes violent towards others or self-injurious, what options do we have to help the individual whilst also protecting the rights of others? Should the person be removed and if so how? Where should he go and for how long? Should he be left alone or supervised? What are the expectations of the individual and the caregivers during this period of removal? Whatever action is taken it should be calm, unemotional and not use excessive force.

Dealing with others’ expectations

Often parents’ reactions to crises are more influenced by the ‘spectators’ than they are by the most effective way to deal with the behavior. Outside observers are often quick to make judgments such as ‘what a tantrum’ or ‘spoilt brat!’ and those judgments do affect how a challenging situation is responded to. Parents need tools to deal with the expectations of others, whether real or perceived, if they are to be effective in helping their child to gain control of their behavior.

Behavior contracts are formal written agreements regarding behavior, which are negotiated between a child and a school staff member, parent, or other individual.

These contracts are effective in altering behavior in students of all ages (Mathur et al., 1995; Rutherford and Nelson, 1995). Contracting has contributed significantly to behavioral changes in children and youth who are disruptive, delinquent, or antisocial (Rutherford and Polsgrove, 1981).

The contract should include these things:

  • A clear definition of the behavior the child is expected to exhibit
  • The positive consequences for performing the desired behavior
  • The negative consequences for not performing the desired behavior
  • What the student — and each adult involved — is expected to do
  • A plan for maintaining the desired behavior (Schloss and Smith, 1994)

The contract should be in written form with copies for all parties involved.

Following is a sample behavior contract that addresses the issue of limited work accuracy. Adapt the language for the specifics of each student’s situation.

Behavior Contract: James Smith

Each week, James will hand in all class work done acceptably in:

Every Friday he will give his Reading, English, and Math teachers a travel card to check YES or NO , telling if the goal was reached.

When James earns three YES checks, the following week he receives these privileges:

    James has the privilege of playing at lunch recess.

James has __ hour(s) computer time on Monday.

  • James goes home at 3:30 p.m. every day on the school bus.
  • If James does not earn three YES checks, or loses his travel card, or forgets to take his travel card to his teachers on Friday, these consequences occur the following week:

      James spends Monday through Friday in noon detention doing school work.

    James has no computer time on the next Monday.

  • James will stay after school until 4:00 p.m. on Friday and take the city bus home if he misses any noon detentions during the week. The school will call James’s parents and tell them he will be getting home late.
  • ___________________________

    Adapted from National Education Association’s “I Can Do It” Classroom Management training module, developed by California Teachers Association. For more information about this program, contact NEA Teacher Quality at (202) 822-7350.

    Copyright © 1999 by the California Teachers Association. Republished with permission.


    marget boyes | 2016/11/11

    My business partners were requiring TX TREC 20-11 earlier this week and learned about a company with lots of fillable forms . If you are requiring TX TREC 20-11 too , here’s

    Drafted courtesy of Calvin and Tricia Luker

    Letter requesting Functional assessment of behavior and positive behavior support plan

    (Name of Special Education Director)

    (Name of School District)

    (Address of School)

    Dear (Name of Special Education Director):

    My child, (child’s name) (date of birth) attends (school name). I believe that (child’s name) behavior is beginning to interfere with his/her ability to learn and to reach his/her IEP goals and objectives. The following difficulties support my concern:

    (List your observations – here are some examples)

    S/he does not know how to respond constructively to name calling or teasing;

    S/he is not cooperative in groups;

    S/he needs assistance to distinguish between socially acceptable and unacceptable behavioral responses to various situations and environments;

    S/he does not recognize situations in his/her self-control is needed;

    S/he does not know how to cope with stress-provoking situations he/she cannot avoid; and

    S/he does not understand the consequences of appropriate and inappropriate expressions of his/her feelings.

    Please provide (child’s name) with a functional assessment of behavior as is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]. Please consider this letter my formal request for and consent for the school district to provide the functional assessment. I understand that a positive behavior support team will be assembled to review the functional assessment of behavior and develop an appropriate behavior intervention plan. I expect to be included in the functional assessment of behavior and as active participant on the team developing the behavior intervention plan Please provide me with copies of all FBA data and results as soon as they become available to you. I hope that this request can be expedited as (child’s name) already has been suspended in/from school on (number of times) for a total of (number of days) days.

    Thank you for giving this request for a functional assessment of behavior your immediate attention. I will work with you to address and achieve (child’s name) educational goals using positive behavior support and an effective behavior intervention plan.

    Positive Behavior Support Plan
    (Example for high functioning Autism/Asperger’s, grade 1-2)

    Behavior impacting learning is : non-compliance, attention seeking, aggression, off-task, awkward social interactions

    It impedes learning because : when exhibiting these behaviors, is unavailable for learning, disrupts others, is unable to complete tasks in class

    Estimate of current severity of behavior problem : moderate to serious

    Current frequency/intensity/duration of behavior : 3-4 times/week to multiple times/day; lasts a few seconds for aggression, a few minutes to a few hours for non-compliance

    Current predictors for behaviors : inability to express himself, sensory challenges, not understanding task or instruction, challenging task, uncomfortable emotional state (e.g. anxiety, embarrassment, shame, anger, frustration), being misunderstood, peer rejection, entering into a new social situation

    What should student do instead of this behavior : verbally express difficulties and feelings appropriately, complete activities and assignments with appropriate attempts to seek help when needed, participate in activity/conversation in context, use socially and situationally acceptable strategies for calming himself

    What supports the student using the problem behavior : return of control, escape from demands, attention for inappropriate behaviors, sensory stimulation (sometimes in the form of confrontation or power struggles)

    Behavioral Goals/Objectives related to this plan : compliance, development of age and context appropriate social skills, coping skills and self-monitoring, increased tolerance to frustration, sensory stimulation and challenging assignments, staying on task, development of positive replacement behaviors

    To achieve this outcome, both teaching of new alternative behavior & reinforcement is needed. yes

    To achieve this outcome, reinforcement of alternative behavior alone in emphasized. no

    To achieve this outcome, environmental supports are needed. yes

    Are curriculum accommodations necessary? . yes
    Is there a curriculum accommodation plan. . to be developed

    Teaching Strategies for new behavior instruction : discuss rules/consequences in advance and ensure comprehension, check for understanding of directions/expectations, validate feelings and offer alternative replacement behaviors in the form of limited choices, consistent encouragement to express difficulties, immediately reinforce all appropriate attempts at communication and other appropriate behaviors, model appropriate behaviors, role play challenging situations, probe to understand root causes of problem behaviors, behavioral aide to shadow and fade into classroom aide whenever possible, proactive and periodic checking for understanding and issues. By: teacher, aide, other specialists, parents

    Environmental structure and supports, time/space/materials/interactions : set up situations for success, designate a “safe place” to calm down (not for punishment), avoid confrontation through calmness, choices, negotiation, anticipate predictors of behavior and avoid or prepare for intervention, institute sensory diet, reduce visual distractions, implement Curriculum Modification Plan. By: teacher, aide, parents.
    Who monitors
    : Behavioral Consultant

    Reinforcers/rewards : immediately reward appropriate behaviors; smiles, verbal praise, thumbs up, pat on the back for sitting quietly, on task; read books, saying “Hi” to Principal or other special person, giving positive report to Principal, library time for work completed, checkout library book, borrow a video for a cooperative day. Standard aversive disciplinary techniques (e.g. red cards, benching, citations) are ineffective and will not be used. By: teacher, aide, parents. frequency. smiles, thumbs up, etc. every few minutes with gradual reduction according to consistent change in behaviors; reading books 2-4 times/day; library time/special person daily . By: teacher, aide, parents

    Reactive strategy to employ if behavior occurs again : Offer “safe place” to calm down, bring work to alternate location, validate feelings, offer limited choices. By: teacher, aide, parents

    Monitoring results and communication : options: daily reports by phone, voice mail, or communication buddy book to go to school/come home with _____. IEP team should meet weekly for 1st month, then 1-2 times/month for remainder of year after plan implementation to discuss results of plan, make any necessary changes, and ensure consistency. Less formal meetings between parents, teacher, aide, and behavioral consultant for new information/minor changes should be called when necessary.

    (Working document for in-services on behavior, Diana Browning Wright, So. Cal. Diagnostic Center, CA. Dept. of Education)

    Copyright © 2001 ASK
    All rights reserved.
    Revised: January 25, 2002

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    How to Improve an Operations Plan in Customer Service

    Improving an employee’s behavior and attitude requires patience and dedication to the task. It is important to treat employees in a legal and ethical manner while communicating the unacceptable issues and developing a plan of action for change. In some situations, normally outstanding employees may have situations that affect their behaviors and attitudes on a temporary basis. In other situations, employees may have been successful in moving through the hiring process, but are negative influences once hired and on the job.

    Document in writing all behavioral and attitude issues. Ensure that the documentation is in detail and that the negative attitudes are clearly defined. For example, John rolled his eyes and commented that the supervisor’s request was stupid. The more accurate the documentation, the better the chances of defending the actions legally and morally.

    Conduct a complete investigation of all employee relations complaints. Companies must demonstrate fairness to employees. The plan for improvement needs to relate directly to the employee’s behavior and attitude with specific examples given.

    Address the performance issues with the employee in a confidential setting. Be very specific with examples of behavior and attitudes. Since attitude is intangible, examples of the associated behaviors and actions should be presented. Refer to specific behavior, rather than attacking character.

    Involve the employee with developing the plan for improvement. The goal is to have the employee recognize the behavior and attitude issues and to agree with the plan for improvement. Ask how you may help them to improve and what cooperation you can expect in return.

    Plan to follow up in a mutually decided time frame.This is an important part of the improvement process as it will provide the necessary information for the next step. If there is significant improvement, the plan is working. If the improvement is not evident, new actions for change may need to be developed.

    Comment on the positive behaviors and attitudes of the employee.

    Open Minds have qualified and experienced staff to ensure support needs are understood by those providing support services to create a rewarding plan.

    Open Minds is an experienced provider in the application of evidence-based approaches to improve quality of life and promote recovery for people who have complex support needs. Our experienced specialist staff work with clients, families, support workers, stakeholders, decision makers and our network of professionals in the mental health and disability sector to support people to live meaningful lives in their community.


    • Functional analysis
    • Development, management & review of tailored support plans which include strengths-based strategies to overcome challenges
    • Evidence-based positive behavior support
    • Least restrictive approaches to risk management and behavior support
    • Minimizing and eliminating use of Restrictive Practices
    • Establishment of worker-client relationships which promote trust and positive outcomes
    • Access to medical and other health appointments to ensure best overall health
    • Education and training for support teams


    • Improved relationships
    • Improved health and wellbeing
    • Support to understand triggers and behaviours
    • Strategies for diffusing behaviours of concern
    • Skills development
    • Increased independence
    • Collaborative approach to recovery between client, family and care-givers
    • Improved relationships

    Meet our Complex Support Specialists

    How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

    Sarah started with Open Minds in 2012 as a Support Worker and quickly began to specialise in complex care support. Having held various roles within Open Minds since, Sarah is now Complex Support Specialist and works with clients who have complex care needs. By collaborating with clients, carers, and all other stakeholders involved in the client’s life, Sarah works to develop a positive behaviour support plan. This plan is the agreed way to best support a client to improve their quality of life, independence, and reduce any restrictive practices that may be in place.

    Sarah said: “The best part of my job is when the strategies I’ve laid out in the plan work, and I can see the client now has more choice and independence in their life. My goal is to always try and minimize or remove any restrictive practices placed on the individual.”

    How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

    Alicia is a qualified Social Worker with 9 years’ experience in the community setting. She has previously held roles supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

    Alicia started with Open Minds in 2014 as a Case Manager working both internally and across external organisations supporting individuals experiencing complex situations. Alicia provides internal support across Open Minds teams assisting with complex client situations. Alicia also works with clients under the NDIS receiving Improving relationship funding. This includes completing functional behavioural assessments to develop positive behaviour support plans both with and without restrictive practices.

    Where possible, Alicia will always seek to gain the involvement and views of the client. Including involving the individual’s support persons throughout the plan development. Alicia provides ongoing support and involvement throughout the duration of the plan.

    Alicia said: “What I love about working at Open Minds is collaborating with clients and their existing supports to reduce or eliminate restrictive practices, which ultimately means they can live a happier and more independent life.”



    How to Write a Behavior Support Plan

    A behavioral objective, also known as a learning objective and educational objective, is a tool that teachers use to let students know at the beginning of a course or lesson what is expected of them. Behavioral objectives that are written for students should have a minimum of three components: an explanation of what’s expected from them, a performance criteria and an explanation of what constitutes an acceptable amount of knowledge of what was taught during the course or lesson.

    Outline what’s expected from the students. The objective should plainly spell out what students should be able to do by the end of the course or lesson, as well as the stipulations under which the class or course is given. For example, a common phrasing used in outlining conditions of performance are “The student will be able to . ” and “The student will independently . “

    Create an acceptable performance criteria. The objective should outline performance standards relating to the accuracy, quality and speed of learning what’s taught. For example, an objective could be that a student be able to spell a group of words within a set amount of time, or that when given a list of words and a time limit the student should be able to underline all the verbs on the list.

    Explain what the student should know after the conclusion of the course or lesson. The objective should list specific, measurable goals, such as being able to describe something, to be able to make a list, to define a term or to explain something. The objective should not include phrasing that relates to goals that can’t be accurately measured, like “to know” or “to learn.”

    Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD are at a much higher risk of developing noncompliant or negative behaviors than a child who does not have ADHD.

    The very nature of ADHD implies that the child will have difficulty with self-control, paying attention, listening to instructions at home and school, and following directions. Some children seem to be predisposed to develop behavior problems by their temperament; however, the symptoms of ADHD—including hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention—seem to exacerbate these negative behaviors. Managing these negative behaviors often becomes a full-time job for parents.

    Treatment for the ADHD child usually requires a comprehensive approach. It includes school support, medications if needed, parent/child education regarding ADHD and its treatment, and behavioral management techniques. Managing the negative behaviors of a child with ADHD often seems like an overwhelming and daunting task; however, such behaviors can be managed effectively with a good plan in place.

    Behavior modification rewards positive behaviors and aims to decrease negative ones.

    Setting Up a Behavior Modification Plan

    1. Choose a negative behavior that you want to change and a positive behavior that you would like to see start or continue. Start by choosing a behavior that your child can begin to work on immediately and that he or she realistically will be able to change. It is not very motivating for children to fail in their initial attempts. Your child will want to give up right away.

    Make sure you set specific goals. For example, you would like to see your child make the bed each day, unload the dishwasher, come to dinner on time, or get an A in math. You would like to see your child stop refusing to get out of bed in the morning, interrupting when others are speaking, refusing to complete homework, or talking back.

  • Set up a Home Token Economy to implement your behavior management plan. A token economy is simply a contract between the child and parents. It states that if a child acts or behaves in a certain way, the parents will agree to trade tokens for a particular reward or privilege.
  • In setting up a token economy, focus on only a few goals at a time. Your behavior plan can be as short or as long as you want; however, I have found that more complicated plans are less likely to succeed.

    Allow your child to be involved in setting up the behavior plan but don’t let yourself be manipulated. Make sure you are firm and clear regarding the behaviors you want to see started and stopped. When a child becomes part of the plan and is able to pick the rewards and the consequences he or she usually will work harder to achieve it.

    For the plan to work, token values need to be high enough to be motivational. Assign each behavior a value between 1 and 25. The behaviors you really want to see changed are those that have a higher token value—and also are those that are more difficult to change. For example, you might assign a value of 5 to making the bed each morning, 10 to unloading the dishwasher, and 20 to getting out of bed on time. You would subtract tokens for negative behaviors such as interrupting others, refusing to do homework and getting poor grades.

    The behavior plan is to be implemented each day. Set up a convenient time to review your child’s performance and determine how many tokens have been earned or lost. Keep a running tab on the total number of tokens and how many have been “cashed in” for privileges or rewards.

    The Positive Behavior Support Plan Fidelity Data Checklist outlines the targeted behavior(s), prevention strategies, replacement skills to be taught, consequence strategies and the effect on behavior – all in a quick, easy-to-use checklist format. It provides an abbreviated reminder of what to do before and after behaviors occur, as well as the effectiveness of the strategies.

    One of my students has a Positive Behavior Support Plan that addresses his tendency to call out the answers in his general education classes. He has paraprofessional support in these classes, but he needs so much prompting to keep up with the school work that his behavior plan isn’t being implemented consistently. What can I do to help everyone follow the plan?


    One of my students has a Positive Behavior Support Plan that addresses his tendency to call out the answers in his general education classes. He has paraprofessional support in these classes, but he needs so much prompting to keep up with the school work that his behavior plan isn’t being implemented consistently. What can I do to help everyone follow the plan?


    Try a Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP) Fidelity Data Checklist to serve as a visual “walkthrough” of the plan’s implementation steps.


    The Positive Behavior Support Plan Fidelity Data Checklist outlines the targeted behavior(s), prevention strategies, replacement skills to be taught, consequence strategies and the effect on behavior – all in a quick, easy-to-use checklist format. It provides an abbreviated reminder of what to do before and after behaviors occur, as well as the effectiveness of the strategies.

    Quick Facts
    • Child’s Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Easy

    Positive Behavior Support Plan

    Fidelity Data Checklist


    1.Create a Fidelity Data template (or use the one provided.) Delineate sections for:

    • targeted behavior(s)
    • prevention strategies
    • replacement skill(s) to be taught
    • consequence strategies for performing the replacement behavior (new skill)
    • consequence strategies for performing the targeted behavior (“old” behavior)
    • effect on behavior (i.e. whether the strategy/step was effective or not)

    2. Review the Positive Behavior Support Plan. Extract the key information to fill in the Fidelity Data Checklist categories above.

    3. Explain the Fidelity Data Checklist to all staff who support the student in his classes and other school environments. Specify how to collect the data and when you’ll review it (daily? weekly?)

    4. Collect the Fidelity Data Checklists and compile the results. If after 2-3 weeks of consistent Positive Behavior Support Plan implementation, no improvement is observed, it may be time to revise the plan. Take heart: research shows that only 33% of initial PBSPs work without revisions!

    Documents and Related Resources

    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.