NICHCY is pleased to connect you with sources of information for helping children who have behavior challenges. This particular Connections page is one of many focusing on behavior issues. That's because "behavior" is such a huge topic. We've divided the subject up into separate pages to make digesting it more manageable! The separate behavior pages are as follows:

If you want all of these separate pages rolled up into one resource you can print out, photocopy, and share with others, we've combined them all into: Behavior: The Works.

This Connections page focuses on Behavioral Assessment, Plans, and Positive Supports. Without a doubt, a critical first step in addressing problem behavior is determining why the student is exhibiting the behavior. To do so, a behavior assessment must generally be conducted. Only when more is known about the cause or causes of the student's behavior can appropriate positive supports be identified and provided.

The list below isn't intended to be exhaustive of the behavior resources available---it's ever-growing. We'll be adding to this page constantly, so check back often to see what's new!

Behavior as Communication

  • Behavior serves a purpose.
    The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice (CECP) offers a number of family briefs on behavior, but if you want to know more about how behavior is a form of communication and why some children choose inappropriate behaviors as a way of communicating, try CECP's brief called Functional Communication Training to Promote Positive Behavior. A natural follow-up is CECP's brief called Planned Ignoring as an Intervention Strategy for Parents and Family Members.
  • What are children trying to tell us?
    What Works briefs from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning summarize effective practices for supporting children's social-emotional development and preventing challenging behaviors. This 4-pager talks about functional behavior assessment and how it's used to figure out the purpose or function of a child's problem behavior--in effect, what the child is trying to say. Spanish version is available at:
  • Is this behavior normal, a phase, a development issue, or something more serious?
    Family members and teachers may see a range of behaviors out of children and still not be sure if a particular behavior they're seeing indicates a childhood behavior disorder. Visit Medline Plus's page, which connects with various resources to help you decide, including Development and Behavior; You and Your Child's Behavior; Children's Threats: When Are They Serious?; and specific aspects, such as aggressive behavior; children who won't go to school; conduct disorders; fighting and biting; helping the child who is expressing anger; and know when to seek help for your child.

Behavior Assessment

  • So what exactly is a Functional Behavioral Assessment?
    This page answers the basic questions of "FBA: What is it?" It covers how to conduct and FBA, and how to use the results to create a positive behavioral intervention plan and supports. The information is broken down into digestible sizes and is easy to read and consume.
  • Here's another reader-friendly overview.
    FAPE is the Families & Advocates Partnership for Education. Although the project is no longer in operation, its 8-page brief on functional behavioral assessment and positive behavioral interventions is still available online. So is the Spanish version, at:
  • What is "Multimodal Behavior Analysis"?
    The Duquesne University School Psychology Program provides a thorough description of the process of conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment and writing a Behavior Intervention Plan.

Behavior Intervention Plans

  • What are the components of Behavioral Support?
    This site offers information on a 3-tier model of behavior support: (1) school-wide, (2) small group, and (3) individual. It gives information on what all students need to be successful.
  • Positive behavioral interventions and supports.
    This article from LDOnline explains why PBIS is important and outlines key principles of practice.
  • More about PBS and its individualized approach to managing challenging behavior.
    This What Works brief from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning summarizes PBS and talks about how it works, factors that will limit its effectiveness, and whether it's really just "giving in" to the child. A Spanish version is available at:
  • Tips for parents: How to get behavior supports into the IEP.
    This guide, a collaboration between the Beach Center on Disabilities and the Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, contains a wealth of suggestions for parents.
  • Need training materials for parents on positive behavioral interventions?
    These training materials, subtitled Parents Need to Know, include 37 overheads and a curriculum for trainers. The set is available in Spanish as well and on CD-ROM.  

Yet More Resources

  • There's a center focusing exclusively on PBIS.
    The Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to provide information, training, support, and guidance to the nation on addressing behavior problems in research-based and effective ways. They offer information in English and in Spanish.
  • Check out this one-stop-shop on behavior!
    This site has info for both families and teachers on FBAs, behavior intervention plans, bullying, and discipline issues.
  • Don't forget to check out the other NICHCY A-Z pages on behavior.
    They're listed and linked at the top of this file, and offer quick connections and resources on other behavior-related issues.