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Special Education Law

Supporting Students with Behavioral Needs in the Classroom

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | IEP |

Students who have special education needs of various types may display behavior struggles in the classroom that can be disruptive and concerning. Behavioral challenges are often a symptom of more significant underlying concerns, and addressing these issues effectively and intentionally may need to be a part of a California student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Effective Behavior Management

The intent of an IEP is to provide students who have special education needs an educational experience in school that provides opportunities for them to make meaningful progress and to access their educational curriculum in the least restrictive environment. For those with behavioral struggles, this may include strategies and services to address these deficits and to provide them the tools to overcome these challenges. Students who have these struggles, often have difficulty learning, socializing and self-regulating. In these instances, teachers and school staff with specialized training, are required to address these challenges appropriately.

A behavioral intervention plan (BIP) is a custom-tailored document that addresses the individual needs of the student. It is often very helpful to conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA) prior to developing a BIP for a student, so that the IEP team fully understands the “function” of the student’s behaviors, which helps determine what supports and services are necessary to address them. The BIP strategies should both teach and reward positive behavior by addressing the student’s specific needs. When considering a behavior strategy, it is helpful to consider long-term goals for the student.

What Can Parents Do?

Parents who have children with special education needs, may not fully understand the specific ways schools should be supporting and helping them. It is in their interests and the interests of their child to understand how IEPs should address behavioral deficits. With the right help, students with behavior struggles and other types of learning needs can find success in their classroom and obtain the education they are entitled to.