- Observe the child in different settings across time. There are several ways to collect the data (frequency, duration, etc.). An effective method is through the use of an A-B-C chart.
- Gather information from familiar adults (and maybe the child) through interviews and behavior checklists.
- Define the behaviors concretely.
- Document the environmental factors and setting events that reliably predict the behavior.
- Record the antecedent triggers or cues that indicate an inappropriate behavior will happen. "What would make the behavior happen?"
- Identify the maintaining consequences that continue to allow the behavior to happen in this environment (i.e., reinforces the behavior).
- Develop a hypothesis (educated guess) about the function of the behavior.
Example: Barry pulls a peer's hair because he wants the teacher's attention. The behavior is reinforced because the teacher takes Barry aside, puts him on her lap, and talks about his behavior.
How do "Behavior Improvement Plans" work?:
- The goal is to teach a child how to get his/her needs and wants met while demonstrating socially appropriate behavior.
- Determine the Desired Behavior: "What do you want him to do instead?"
- Decide on an acceptable Replacement Behavior.
- Teach and practice the new skills. You will have to meet the child "where he is."
- Maintain use of the new behavior by eliminating the success of the old, inappropriate behavior (it cannot meet the same need anymore).
- Set up the environment for success. Match academic expectations to the child's skills. Provide social supports as needed.
- Provide pre-corrects (advanced reminders) and redirection (prompts) as needed.
- Reinforce use of the new behavior and fade as possible. You may need to use tangibles, but they should always be paired with verbal identification of appropriate behavior. Fade to only verbal cues and/or a smile or thumbs up.
- Collect data on changed behavior and adapt the plan as indicated.