Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a comprehensive strategy designed to address and modify challenging behaviors in individuals, particularly those with autism and other developmental disorders. In the context of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, a BIP is an essential tool for both therapists and caregivers. It serves to identify problematic behaviors, understand their underlying causes, and implement targeted interventions to improve the individual’s overall functioning and quality of life.

What is a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)?

A BIP is a structured document that outlines specific strategies and interventions to manage and reduce challenging behaviors. These plans are tailored to the individual’s unique needs and are based on thorough assessments conducted by behavior analysts. The primary goal of a BIP is to replace undesirable behaviors with positive alternatives, promoting better social, emotional, and academic outcomes.

Key Components of a BIP

  1. Identification of Target Behaviors: The first step in developing a BIP is to identify the specific behaviors that need to be addressed. These behaviors are often those that interfere with learning, social interactions, or daily functioning. Examples include aggression, self-injury, tantrums, and non-compliance.
  2. Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA): An FBA is conducted to understand the reasons behind the target behaviors. This assessment involves gathering data on when, where, and why the behaviors occur, as well as identifying the triggers and consequences that maintain them. The FBA helps to determine the function of the behavior, whether it is to gain attention, escape a task, or obtain a tangible item.
  3. Hypotheses About Behavior: Based on the FBA, behavior analysts develop hypotheses about the causes of the target behaviors. These hypotheses guide the selection of appropriate interventions.
  4. Intervention Strategies: The core of the BIP consists of specific strategies designed to modify the target behaviors. These strategies can be categorized into three main types:
    • Preventive Strategies: These are proactive measures to reduce the likelihood of the target behavior occurring. They may include changes to the environment, modifications to routines, and the implementation of antecedent interventions.
    • Teaching Strategies: These involve teaching the individual alternative, appropriate behaviors that serve the same function as the target behavior. For example, if a child engages in tantrums to escape a task, they may be taught to request a break verbally or through a communication device.
    • Consequence Strategies: These outline how to respond when the target behavior occurs. The goal is to minimize reinforcement of the undesirable behavior while providing positive reinforcement for the appropriate behavior.
  5. Data Collection and Monitoring: A BIP includes a plan for ongoing data collection to monitor the individual’s progress. This data helps to determine the effectiveness of the interventions and allows for adjustments to be made as needed.
  6. Crisis Plan: For individuals with severe behaviors that pose a risk to themselves or others, a crisis plan is included. This plan outlines specific steps to take in the event of a behavioral emergency.

The Importance of a BIP in ABA Therapy

In ABA therapy, a BIP is a vital tool for ensuring that interventions are systematic, evidence-based, and tailored to the individual’s needs. It provides a clear roadmap for therapists, teachers, and caregivers, fostering consistency in the application of strategies across different settings. A well-implemented BIP can lead to significant improvements in behavior, enhancing the individual’s ability to learn, communicate, and interact with others.

Steps to Develop a BIP

  1. Conduct an FBA: Begin with a thorough Functional Behavior Assessment to gather data on the target behaviors.
  2. Analyze the Data: Use the data from the FBA to identify patterns and develop hypotheses about the function of the behaviors.
  3. Develop Intervention Strategies: Based on the analysis, create preventive, teaching, and consequence strategies to address the behaviors.
  4. Create a Data Collection System: Design a system for ongoing data collection to monitor progress and adjust interventions as needed.
  5. Train and Support Caregivers: Ensure that all individuals involved in the individual’s care are trained in the implementation of the BIP and understand their roles.
  6. Review and Revise: Regularly review the data and make necessary adjustments to the BIP to ensure its continued effectiveness.

Challenges in Implementing a BIP

Implementing a BIP can be challenging, especially when behaviors are severe or deeply ingrained. Common challenges include:

  • Consistency: Ensuring that all caregivers and educators consistently apply the strategies outlined in the BIP.
  • Generalization: Helping the individual apply the new behaviors in different settings and situations.
  • Resistance to Change: Addressing resistance from the individual or caregivers to the changes required by the BIP.
  • Resource Limitations: Managing the resources needed for effective implementation, such as time, training, and materials.

Success Stories

Numerous success stories highlight the effectiveness of BIPs in improving the lives of individuals with challenging behaviors. For example, a child with autism who previously engaged in frequent tantrums and aggression might learn to use communication strategies to express their needs, resulting in a significant reduction in disruptive behaviors and an increase in positive interactions with peers and adults.


A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a crucial element of ABA therapy, offering a structured approach to understanding and addressing challenging behaviors. By identifying the function of behaviors and implementing targeted interventions, a BIP can lead to meaningful improvements in an individual’s behavior, enhancing their ability to learn, communicate, and thrive in various settings. For families and professionals working with individuals with developmental disorders, a well-crafted BIP is an invaluable tool in promoting positive behavioral change and improving overall quality of life.

For more information and resources on Behavior Intervention Plans and ABA therapy, visit the Chicago ABA Therapy website.

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