Yesterday, I amended my son’s IEP and behavior plan. It was another 2 hour meeting. My last meeting was 2.5 hours and was to determine eligibility (the longest IEP…) At our last meeting, the behavior plan was so terrible that we had to agree to meet again to change it. A draft copy of the new behavior plan was emailed about one week before our scheduled meeting. This was enough time for me to read and review the changes made from the initial document. The meeting was scheduled for the end of school on a Monday. On Friday, at 1:30 a second updated version of the behavior plan was emailed to my work email.
Relevant information to this…I use my personal email from my phone to communicate with the school team including sending and receiving documents. Also, Friday I leave work by 2:20 to pick my son up from the clinic. So, Friday my son is not at the school. This is the school writing and amending the behavior plan. If I would not have checked my email at the end of the day, I would not have read the plan until Monday; the day of the meeting. I forwarded the email to myself so that I could review it over the weekend. Mind you, I have already read, reviewed, and noted the changes that are needed from the first draft. I felt that the team was trying to pull one on me with a last minute change.
So, the big change?! They changed the target behavior to non compliance! So, on a positive behavior intervention plan (PBIP), the target behavior to reduce and replace is non compliance? Absolutely not!
It was NOT difficult to get the team to remove the term but I had to move quick and fast. As soon as I got to the school, I found the parent advocate. She did not receive a copy of this “new draft” email; only I did. She was totally on board with my concerns over a very negative and systematic discipline phrase. She was able to ask the teacher several key questions that guided the teacher to the primary concern/behavior that was impeding my son’s ability to excel academically. It was smooth and organic as the teacher talked. The team immediately removed the term, went back to the second draft to fine tune the target behavior.
This time the team had data! Go team! The data allowed everyone to see that the interventions were being successful. We were able to collect feedback and actually write a more challenging goal for him and have the behavior plan align with his IEP.
Tips for IEP amendment/developing behavior plans:
- always put in writing that you need a draft copy before the meeting
- always bring a parent advocate
- be prepared for a long meeting, bring water, food, dress in layers for hot or cold meeting rooms
- if you want everyone in the meeting, you need to make the request ahead of time
- take time from work if needed, so that the meeting time is during school hours and more staff members can be present
- demand data, baseline data for behavior plan is key
- write measurable goals that could be used by any teacher or observed by any adult. example: Student will __(action)__________ with no more than _(number)___ verbal and non verbal cues within a 6 minute period.
- when writing a primary behavior goal in a PBIP, align it to an IEP goal. Select an IEP goal that is most challenging or most impeding on the learning of the child.
- insist on a follow up meeting to revisit the primary behavior, strategies, and data collection
- a PBIP is an editable document, not a “living document”. With the IEP, comments are added as layers and never deleted. A behavior plan can have the words deleted and altered to create a new updated file and the old plan is replaced.
- behavior plans are serious and can be negative to students because they give the impression that a student has a behavior problem
- behavior plans are positive when the strategies are effective to reduce or eliminate the behavior.
- behavior plans are also helpful in boosting your McKay Scholarship matrix score
- behavior plans are very rarely written by behavior specialists and almost never have applied behavior analysis (ABA) language
- be prepared for something in the meeting to be over your head!