The 5 Main Elements Of A Behaviour Support Plan

May 27, 2024

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When it comes to managing challenging behaviours, having a plan in place is key. That’s where a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP) comes in. Think of it as a roadmap that helps you understand why behaviours happen and what we can do to support you through them.

In this blog post, we break down the five main parts of a Behaviour Support Plan. We’ll cover everything from what a support plan is to how it can be beneficial for navigating challenging situations. Whether you’re a parent or carer, understanding these elements can make a big difference in helping someone achieve their goals.

What is a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP)?

A behaviour support plan (BSP) is a document that helps address challenging behaviours with strategies to improve behavioural outcomes. It is used for children or adults in various settings who might be having trouble managing their behaviour due to disability, mental health or emotional challenges.

The plan focuses on understanding what triggers behaviours of concern and then outlines specific steps to encourage a change in behaviour. Here’s a detailed look at how these plans are typically structured:

  • Identifying Triggers: The plan starts by figuring out what causes the challenging behaviour. This could be specific events, emotions, or interactions.
  • Setting Goals: Clear and achievable goals are set to replace negative behaviours with positive ones.
  • Developing Strategies: Specific actions and techniques are outlined to help meet these goals. This can include anything from learning new skills to changing the environment.
  • Providing Support: Carers, family  or colleagues must understand how to support the individual consistently and empathetically.
  • Review and Adjust: The plan is regularly reviewed and adjusted based on what is working and what isn’t.

Who Will Benefit From a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP)

These plans are particularly beneficial for:

  • Those with Behaviour Disorders: Individuals diagnosed with conditions that make it challenging for them to control their behaviour or interact with others. 
  • Individuals Displaying Challenging Behaviours: This includes people who struggle with behaviours that disrupt their daily lives, such as being aggressive, non-compliant, or disruptive in social settings.
  • Anyone Needing Additional Well-Being Support: Even individuals without a specific behaviour disorder can benefit from BSPs to enhance their overall emotional and psychological well-being.

Need help with Behavior Support? Get in touch with us to learn how our Behavior Support Plans can help you or someone you care for.

What Does A Behaviour Support Plan Have?

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the essential elements of a BSP, explaining what they do and why they’re important.

1. Baseline Information and Behaviour Assessment:

The first point in a Behaviour Support Plan involves collecting baseline information and conducting a thorough behaviour assessment to create an individualised program plan.

We gather baseline information and study behaviour to understand how a person acts and why they might behave in certain ways in different situations. Knowing this helps us create plans that are specifically made for their needs. This careful approach helps us not just manage difficult behaviours but also improve the person’s overall happiness and how they interact with the world around them. Here’s a more detailed look into this process:

  • Personal Information: We collect basic personal details like age, any medical diagnoses, how they communicate, and other important information about the person.
  • Current Skills and Strengths: We discover what the individual is good at. This helps us use their strengths to encourage good behaviour.
  • Preferences: We note what they like and dislike, including what motivates them and their interests. These preferences can help us motivate them to show the behaviours we want to see.
  • Daily Routines and Environment: We look at what a typical day looks like for them and where they spend their time. This helps us find out what might trigger unwanted behaviours and what supports are currently helping them.
  • Health and Medical Information: We gather information about any health issues or medications they’re taking that might affect their behaviour.

Behaviour Assessment: A behaviour assessment–often conducted through a Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA)–is a systematic process to identify the specific purposes the challenging behaviours serve. This step involves key components such as:

  • Identifying the Problem Behaviour: We need a clear and detailed description of the behaviour causing concern. 
  • Contextual Factors: We look at when and where the behaviour happens. This involves understanding what happens right before the behaviour (antecedents) and what happens right after (consequences).
  • Functional Analysis: In some cases, structured situations may be set up to observe the behaviour under different conditions. By systematically changing what happens before or after the behaviour, we can gain insights into the specific triggers and reinforcements that influence it.
  • Interviews and Questionnaires: We talk to people who know the person well, like family and carers. We also talk to the individual. This helps us understand the behaviour from different perspectives.
  • Direct Observation: We track how often, how long, and how strong the behaviour is in different places and times. This helps us get a complete and accurate picture of the behaviour.

2. Behavioural Goals

Teacher showing behaviour signs to kid

Behavioural goals need to be clear, specific, and measurable. They should describe exactly what the individual is expected to do and under what circumstances. This clarity helps everyone involved— carers, family members, and the individual—understand what is expected.

Characteristics of Effective Behavioural Goals

  • Specific: Goals should be detailed, avoiding vague terms. For example, instead of saying “behave better,” a specific goal would be “raise your hand to speak during class.”
  • Measurable: There must be a way to measure progress towards the goal. This could be quantitative, like counting the number of times a behaviour occurs, or qualitative, like descriptive feedback on the behaviour’s improvement.
  • Achievable: The goals should be realistic, considering the individual’s current abilities and available resources. They should challenge the individual but also be attainable to keep them motivated.
  • Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the individual’s needs and address the behaviours most impactful to their daily life and interactions.
  • Time-bound: Each goal should have a timeframe within which it should be achieved. This helps plan and assess progress and makes it clear when to expect changes or improvements.

Our behaviour support services are available across a wide range of locations to ensure no one is left without the support they need. We proudly offer behaviour support to Blacktown, Castle Hill, Central Cost and Newcastle residents.

3. Intervention Strategies

Intervention strategies are the specific methods and approaches to encourage positive behaviour changes and manage challenging behaviours. 

These strategies are tailored to the individual’s needs and the goals set out in the plan. They often require careful planning, execution, and monitoring to be effective. Here is a more in-depth look at various types of intervention strategies:

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding desired behaviours to increase the likelihood of them occurring in the future. This technique can be effective for both children and adults, including those with disabilities. Rewards can vary based on the individual’s preferences and needs, ranging from tangible items to social reinforcement.

For example, for children, rewards might include tangible items like stickers or small treats, privileges such as extra playtime, or social reinforcement like praise. For instance, giving a child a sticker each time they complete a homework assignment without complaining can encourage a positive attitude towards homework.

For adults with a disability, positive reinforcement can also be highly effective. An example could be providing verbal praise and additional break time to an adult who successfully completes a task at work without needing extra assistance. Another example might be offering a preferred activity, like listening to music or a short walk, to an adult who uses appropriate communication methods instead of displaying challenging behaviour.

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Teaching Alternative Behaviours

Sometimes called replacement behaviours, these are actions individuals are taught to perform instead of the problematic ones. 

This strategy often involves skill-building exercises tailored to the individual’s needs and capabilities. For example, instead of yelling or disrupting others when feeling overwhelmed, individuals can be taught to ask for a break.

For an adult with a disability, this might involve learning to use a stress ball or a fidget toy when feeling anxious in a meeting, rather than engaging in disruptive behaviour. This approach not only helps in managing the immediate behaviour but also equips the individual with skills to handle similar situations more effectively in the future.

Modifying the Environment

Changes are made to the individual’s surroundings in an effort to reduce triggers of challenging behaviours or to make positive behaviours easier to accomplish. 

For an adult with sensory sensitivities, the workplace environment can be adjusted by reducing background noise with sound-absorbing panels, providing noise-cancelling headphones, and ensuring a well-lit but glare-free workspace. Additionally, creating a designated quiet area where the individual can retreat to when feeling overwhelmed can help them manage their sensory inputs and reduce stress.

For a child, rearranging a classroom to minimise distractions can help an individual who has difficulty focusing. This could include placing their desk away from windows or high-traffic areas and using partitions to create a more contained and focused workspace. Providing a quiet corner with soft seating and low lighting can also give them a place to calm down and regroup when needed.

Structured Routines

Establishing predictable routines and schedules to reduce anxiety and confusion that might lead to challenging behaviours.

An example of this can be creating a daily visual schedule to follow, helping the individual understand what to expect throughout the day.

Social Skills Training

This involves teaching individuals how to interact appropriately with others, which can be particularly useful in managing interpersonal conflicts. 

An example could be role-playing different social scenarios to practise proper greetings, turn-taking, and polite conversation.

Cognitive Behavioural Strategies

Techniques that help individuals understand and change their thoughts that influence negative behaviours.

An example could be teaching individuals  to recognise and challenge their negative thoughts about peer interactions and replace them with positive, realistic ones.

Contact us today to get started on a personalised plan that fosters positive behaviour change and growth.

4. Prevention Strategies

Prevention strategies within a behaviour support plan aim to create an environment that supports positive behaviour and reduces the likelihood of challenging behaviours occurring. 

By implementing proactive measures such as environmental modifications, teaching coping skills, and using positive reinforcement, individuals can develop the necessary skills and support to thrive in their environment.

Some prevention strategies include:

  • Change the Environment: Make the surroundings comfortable and predictable by adjusting lighting, noise levels, and seating arrangements to suit individual needs.
  • Stick to Routines: Keep daily schedules consistent with visual aids like schedules or timetables to help individuals know what to expect and reduce anxiety.
  • Teach Coping and Social Skills: Help individuals manage their feelings and get along with others by teaching relaxation techniques and how to communicate effectively.
  • Identify Triggers: Figure out what sets off challenging behaviours by looking at the situations or things that happened right before. Then, try to change those things or find ways to handle them better.
  • Encourage Good Behaviour: Reward positive actions with praise, rewards, or points that can be traded for something special. This makes good behaviour more likely to happen again.
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5. Crisis Management Plan

The main goal of a Crisis Management Plan is to ensure the safety of all individuals involved and effectively manage crises to prevent harm and promote positive outcomes. 

By implementing proactive strategies, training staff on de-escalation techniques, establishing safety protocols, and fostering a collaborative team approach, crises can be managed safely and effectively within the framework of the Behaviour Support Plan.

A crisis management plan typically includes the following: 

  • Identify Early Warning Signs: Recognise the initial signs of crisis, such as increased agitation or aggression.
  • De-escalation Techniques: Calmly address the situation using active listening, empathy, and offering choices to help de-escalate the crisis..
  • Safety Protocols: Establish safe zones, train staff, and have clear communication procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • Team Collaboration: Collaborate with carers and professionals to manage crises effectively and cohesively.
  • Post-Crisis Support: Provide debriefing sessions, review incidents thoroughly, and offer ongoing support to prevent future crises and enhance coping strategies.

Why Choose Interaction for Behaviour Support Services?

Our behaviour support team comprises professional practitioners dedicated to improving your physical and emotional well-being. With a commitment to personalised care, we work alongside you to address your unique needs and improve your daily life.

Our psychologists are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and come from diverse backgrounds. This variety in experience equips our team with the skills necessary to support individuals with disabilities and their families effectively. We also cater to people with any type of disability. Feel free to explore our client stories to see how we’ve supported those we work with. Contact us today to discuss how we can support you or your loved ones.

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