Are You Ready for Some Behavior? The Rationale Behind Using a Team Approach to Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans

by Kristin Holst, M.Ed.

"For their third pick the Lincoln Elementary School Improvement Team chooses Kenneth Epstein." Is this a draft for some fantasy football fan? No, this scene is played out more or less at the beginning of every school year as teachers are mandated to volunteer for the various teams in their buildings. In fact, some would say that there are now more teams in the average school than there are in the entire National Football League. Teams range from grade-level and content-area teams to teams to support school-based initiatives such as Instructional Support Teams. Adding required participation in IEP teams, is there room for one more team? The answer, friends and fellow fantasy draft enthusiasts, is "yes."

The Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Intervention Plan (FBA/BIP) process also requires a team approach. A collaborative versus "expert-driven" approach is most effective for designing and implementing FBAs and BIPs (Office of Special Education Programs, 2005). School-wide support is essential to ensure that building-level initiatives and priorities do not conflict with the time and commitment needed to develop FBAs and implement BIPs (Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice, 2005). The benefits of using a collaborative approach include:

  • Students and those who will be responsible for implementing the behavior interventions can ensure that the information contained in the FBA is accurate.
  • Paperwork and stress levels are reduced when the workload is shared.
  • Behavior interventions are implemented with a high degree of integrity and fidelity when a team is responsible for the outcomes.
  • Team members hold each other accountable for the portions of the behavior intervention plan they are responsible for implementing.
  • Interventions designed for the target student may be applicable to other students in the classroom.

Henry Ford once stated, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." When initiated effectively, a team approach is paramount to behavioral success. Then, having sipped from the victory cup, educators can look forward to the future and next season's draft.

References

Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice. (2005). Obstacles to effective functional behavioral assessment and behavioral intervention plans and supports. Retrieved September 1, 2005, from http://cecp.air.org/fba/problembehavior3/obstacles3.htm.

Office of Special Education Programs: Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. (2005). School-Wide PBS. Retrieved September 1, 2005, from http://www.pbis.org/school/default.aspx.

Date: November/December 2005