How to Create a Behavior Plan for ADHD

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Students with ADHD have a number of behavioral challenges that can impact their success in school. Teachers and parents can help minimize these difficulties by developing a behavior plan to teach and encourage strategies that will help the students comply with age-level expectations. Like most types of special needs students, ADHD students can change their behavior and modify their course with the right kinds of guidance and motivation. There are four main areas of behavior that impact school success for these students, and a behavior plan can guide implementation of interventions to develop the self-control and self-monitoring needed for school improvement.

  • paper
  • pencil
  • stopwatch or timer
  • counter

1 Identify Needs

2 Observe the student

Observe the student in class to determine specific behaviors that are causing difficulty. Four areas to assess are focus, organizational skills, time on task, and follow-through. Talk with teachers, parents, group leaders and other adults to understand exactly which behaviors are interfering with academic performance or classroom order.

3 Create a form

Create a form to help you keep accurate records of behavior frequency and duration. An observation form will help you take complete notes.

4 Observe the student-2

Observe the student on several occasions and in several different settings. Use a stopwatch to measure behavior durations and a counter to keep track of discrete instances of a target behavior.

5 Analyze the data from the observations

Analyze the data from the observations to choose the behavior to be modified. Choose the behavior that has the greatest impact on the student's success if changed.

6 Design a Behavior Plan

7 Set a goal for the behavior plan

Set a goal for the behavior plan based on the prioritized list that you generated after your observations. A goal can be to increase or decrease a specific behavior, like time on task or inappropriate noises.

8 Write measurable

Write measurable, observable objectives as steps to achieving the larger goal. Objectives should be quantifiable. Everyone involved should be able to agree if the objective has been met or not.

9 Lead to fulfillment of the objectives

Design appropriate interventions that will lead to fulfillment of the objectives. Examples of interventions include applying meaningful rewards or consequences, offering practical teaching or assistance, and modifying the task to make success more likely.

10 Implement the Behavior Plan

11 Apply the chosen interventions

Apply the chosen interventions. For example, reward the student for increased time on task or for improved compliance with homework submission. Other examples include provision for increased teacher monitoring of notations about homework or providing cues for inappropriate behavior.

12 Keep detailed records

Keep detailed records. Only detailed records will help you determine if your objectives and goals are being met.

13 Evaluate and modify the plan

Evaluate and modify the plan as needed. Check progress on objectives at regular intervals, and if progress is not being made, modify objectives, interventions or consistency.

  • To be successful, all behavior plans rely on consistency. Follow through on your plan with necessary interventions, positive outcomes and consequences. Make necessary changes consciously rather than by omission or by accident.

Sandy Fleming is a writer and educator from Michigan with master's and bachelor's degrees in special education. She has been writing for the Web for more than 10 years and does private tutoring with children and adults. Her areas of expertise include educational and parenting topics as well as how-to articles and informative pieces. Fleming writes for numerous Internet publications and the local newspaper.