New resource: Individual Behavior Support Plan Template

Title text: New resources: Individual Behavior Support Plan Template by Tim Grivois, Ed.D. Two figures holding a blue heart between them on a grey background.

-by Timothy (Tim) Grivois, Ed.D.

This article is for school (and perhaps nonprofit) personnel involved in designing Behavior Support Plans for individual students. If your school has been implementing solid school-wide social, emotional, and academic supports, you likely have an opportunity to design a successful plan, collaborate with outside providers, and improve the overall health and well being of children and youth who truly need our best.

This template begins when you have a complete Individual Student Drill Down Worksheet (45 minutes, maybe 90 minutes if there’s a lot to read) or a complete Functional Behavioral Analysis (weeks). Schools can use this template as part of their Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), Response to Intervention (RTI), or Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) protocols to develop a behavioral support plan for youth.

The goal of this template is to be comprehensive and efficient. As your school develops your own systems, data tools, and practices, you might modify tables to match your workflow. However, the core elements of effective behavior support plans are on the template, and I would not recommend simplifying any further.

If any of the features are new to you, click here to schedule a call to talk them over. It’s free to talk, and our call will definitely improve your success with this way of planning behavioral supports. 

Quality of Life Supports

Quality of life supports tend to be the most effective solutions in a behavior support plans. Yet many plans I read either omit this component entirely or bury a sentence or two among long lists of much more complicated interventions.

I recommend that schools structure quality of life supports around the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. When I meet with teams, we list all eight dimensions on a whiteboard and brainstorm classroom-possible opportunities for youth and family to engage each dimension. Often, addressing one dimension of wellness in a small way leads to dramatic overall well-being….and an equally dramatic decrease in unexpected behaviors.

Don’t skip this step. To read more about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, click here.

Outside Supports

Many schools partner with outside agencies to provide mental health support or behavioral health services. Few schools write down what the service is and what the intended outcome of the service is supposed to be. Having a place for this information helps ensure that we refer families to services that are likely to help.

Target Behavior Strategy

Again, Behavior Support Plans build off of either the Individual Student Drill Down Worksheet or a complete Functional Behavioral Analysis. Once you have developed a precise hypothesis of why unexpected behavior occurs, you and your team can reframe the environment to prompt behavior more likely to support social, emotional, and academic achievement. 

Note that there is a student, teacher, and family section for target behavior strategies. Most behavior support plans focus on what the student will do. This template invites us to be explicit about what school adults and family will do to support expected behaviors. This is different than how we often think, so it might be worth scheduling a call to talk through how this works. It’s free, and is always really helpful.

Exit Criteria

A Behavior Support Plan’s purpose is to support social, emotional, and academic achievement. One weakness I often see in Behavior Support Plans is that there is often no sense of how a student might demonstrate that the plan worked. This section is for the team (youth, family, and school personnel) to develop shared language around what the plan is supposed to achieve. Make sure that your exit criteria includes numbers.

Safety Plan

This section might be the only part of the template that teams could skip, but only when the behaviors we’re addressing aren’t dangerous. For students who run away from class, demonstrate aggression, or engage in self-harm, knowing exactly what staff will do ahead of time both increases student safety and reduces uncertainty for school personnel.

Fidelity

When designing Behavior Support Plans, fidelity will either accelerate a student’s success or prevent a plan from ever beginning. You’ll notice weekly and quarterly questions to answer regarding how much of the plan actually occurred. As your team assesses fidelity, you’ll decide whether at least 80% of each component actually happened. And, if less than 80% of the plan occurred, you’ll note what steps you’ll take to address this.

When fidelity is low, always consider whether an aspect of the plan is feasible. Often, teams struggle with fidelity because the plan itself is too complex to implement well. It is better to focus on strategies that are both effective and feasible.

Building Systems

A large portion of my work with schools and nonprofits is to help build systems to ensure that every student or client receives the highest possible level of support. This is difficult to do without dedicated time to work on processes, try them out, and adjust as your team learns what works for you.

If you have a hunch that the Individual Behavior Support Plan Template will help your team, please give me a call and let me help you get started. It’s free, and it’ll help you get the most out of your planning.

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