Behaviour Intervention Planning (BIP)
Purpose and Background: Explanation of Critical Component
This section of the Behaviour Intervention Plan summarizes the conclusions reached by the team regarding the purpose of the program and the causes or functions of the behaviours. It summarizes the team's understanding of the child's challenges (organic and psychological) and how the child tries to interact with his/her world. There are two critical questions addressed in this section. They are:
- What is the overall purpose of the program?
- What is the function or cause of the behaviours?
The purpose is generally a single sentence that states the overall intent of the program. If successful, it defines what will be accomplished for the child by the program interventions. When the team meets, it is important to agree on the purpose of the Behaviour Intervention Planning session. It is not just to develop a plan, but to develop a plan that will accomplish a specific function. If you have a team that identifies a number of specific objectives, consider using these as outcomes. However, the question will remain: "If we accomplish all of these outcomes, what will be achieved for the child?" Is it that the child will be accepted by and belong in the larger school community? Or that the child will have a safe place to stay while others address critical treatment needs? Or is it simply that the child will behave consistent with the school's expectations? If the latter, how will this benefit the child?
The background is more than a history of the child's behaviours. It is a statement on the child's critical life experience and the ways the child has learned to cope with life. Underlying organic disorders may influence some of the coping strategies. However, the specific ways that the general characteristics of a disorder are displayed are influenced by the interaction between child and his/her environment. Children come to us with established strategies for dealing with life.
Background information may include information on life experiences that have moulded the child's life view and selection of survival strategies. This is not a litany of all the child's horrendous experiences. Many of those are private and should remain so. It is a sharing of information about pertinent experiences that influence the child's present behaviour within the school or home setting - information that will help the team understand and help the child.
Background information may also include the identification of specific organic, genetic, or biochemical disorders that limit a child's range of coping strategies and produce behaviours that may appear maladaptive in classroom or community settings. It is important for the team to be aware of these disorders, their impact on the child's behavioural choices, and the needs associated with them. Combining knowledge of the child's life experiences with information on disorders gives the team an understanding of how a particular child will try to respond to their environment within the limitations of their disorder.
Background information includes an analysis of the behaviour based on caregivers' experiences with the child and on formal analytic procedures. Caregivers working with a child may get a strong sense of the function or purpose of the behaviour or of the events that tend to trigger problem behaviours. Some children vary in their behaviours depending upon their psychological state. With these children it is helpful to know what actions trigger negative states. School teams that are unable to identify any patterns or purpose in behaviour may want to rely on a formal Functional Analysis of the behaviour.