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Behavior Intervention Plans

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

What is a behavior intervention plan (BIP)?

A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is a written plan for addressing individual needs of students. There are nine components of a behavior intervention plan (BIP). Shepherd and Linn (2014) share the nine components within a behavior intervention plan (BIP): a target behavior definition, attempted interventions, summary of FBA, a behavioral hypothesis, first alternative behavior, intervention strategies for first alternative behavior, second alternative behavior, intervention strategies for second alternative behavior, and evaluation of effectiveness of plan.

In the first component, an operational definition of a target behavior is included which tells the target behavior is measurable, observable, and repeatable. In the second component of a BIP, any ineffective interventions are noted. In the third component, an FBA summary is included, along with data collection of the behavior. In the fourth component of an BIP, the behavioral hypothesis represents the function of behavior identified. In the rest of the components, some alternative behaviors and some intervention strategies are created and implemented. The final component of a BIP is continuous evaluation of a behavior intervention plan through many kinds of observations and assessments. A behavior intervention plan (BIP) can change overtime based on individual needs.

One of the components of a behavior intervention plan (BIP) involves interventions. Positive and negative reinforcement can maintain a student’s behavior. Negative reinforcement is removing or getting rid of something to increase positive target behaviors. Extinction is about eliminating undesired or unwanted behaviors. An interfering behavior in the classroom that can be maintained through negative reinforcement and extinction. For example, Jimmy throws a tantrum when he doesn’t want to eat his food during snack time. The paraprofessional working with Jimmy lets him continue to throw a tantrum while having him eat his food during snack time. The tantrums will increase at first, and then decrease overtime because his actions will no longer provide the desired outcome he wants. This scenario demonstrates negative reinforcement with extinction.

On the other hand, positive reinforcement is reinforcing positive target behaviors to occur more likely in the future. Differential reinforcement is reinforcing a specific class of behavior while withholding reinforcement of undesired behaviors. For instance, if the target behavior for Jimmy is to learn to point to the color blue when instructed, he is only reinforced when pointing to the color blue. For any other response, reinforcement is not provided. This scenario demonstrates positive reinforcement with differential reinforcement. Different behavior interventions, from reinforcement to extinction and differential reinforcement, are used to teach new alternative behaviors as part of a behavior intervention plan (BIP).

Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) are helpful for promoting positive behaviors, but there are barriers to the development and application of BIPs in the classroom. Schools are still following traditional rules and consequences as part of their behavior management in classrooms. For example, schools still use punishment methods as part of their classroom behavior management. A solution to this is providing more training to teach teachers and administrators about many kinds of behavior interventions to use in classroom management while keeping in mind the individual needs of students.

Although, lack of training is a barrier as well, especially for teachers who teach in general education classroom settings. The main solution for all of these barriers is for schools to dedicate professional development times throughout the school year to train teachers and administrators, provide them support, and let them practice creating and implementing BIPs. Making behavior management in the classroom is key to helping students be successful in their education.

Cultural influences can impact approaches to behavior modifications. Educators and professionals have to make sure to understand a student’s cultural background within the behavior intervention plan (BIP). For example, some cultures do not believe eye contact is important. Therefore, educators and professionals would have to make sure to learn from a student’s family prior to providing behavior intervention and data collection, involve the family in behavior intervention and data collection, and adapt procedures based on family interactions. Culturally responsive strategies of behavior modifications and culturally sensitive data collection is key for implementing effective behavior intervention plans (BIPs).

Did you know that a behavior intervention plan (BIP) is used in school classrooms and in therapy sessions? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


Shepherd, T. L., & Linn, D. (2014). Behavior and Classroom Management in the Multicultural Classroom : Proactive, Active, and Reactive Strategies. SAGE Publications, Inc.


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