Teacher Tips for Writing Behavior Plans for ADHD Students

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Writing Behavior Plans

Students with ADHD may benefit from a behavior plan. Behavior plans do not have to be complicated and time-consuming for a teacher to write. There are several sample behavior intervention plans online to view when you are writing them for your students. Here are a few things to consider when you are writing a behavior plan for a student with ADHD:

  • Students with ADHD need to focus on one or two goals at a time. Pick the two behavior issues that most affect your student’s ability to achieve or function in the classroom setting. For example, if the student is constantly out of his seat, blurts out answers, and plays alone on the playground, pick the two that need to be worked on first. Once these behaviors improve, you can add to or amend the behavior plan.

  • Allow the student with ADHD to be involved in writing the behavior plan. When a student is involved in setting his goals, rewards and consequences, he may work harder to achieve his goals.

  • The behavior plan should use positive reinforcement. Be careful that you are not negatively reinforcing behaviors you want to stop. Remember, consequences should stop a behavior. If the behavior continues or increases after the consequences are given, then the consequences are reinforcing the unwanted behavior. For example, if a student with ADHD speaks out of turn and his consequence is to lose computer time, then once he loses computer time, the speaking out should decrease or stop. If it doesn’t, then the consequence is not working. Maybe the student doesn’t really want computer time. These are issues to look at when writing behavior plans.

Using Behavior Charts

Behavior charts work well with most students with ADHD. When a behavior chart is used, a student can see their progress toward their goal. For a student who has trouble focusing and controlling his body, it is important for him to see his progress and not just KNOW his progress. Behavior charts come in all shapes and sizes, but remember when you are writing behavior plans for students with ADHD, you only want to focus on one or two goals. The behavior charts should also be short and simple.

A sample behavior chart:

Joey’s Behavior Chart. A star means he achieved the goal. A plus sign means he is working toward it and almost there. A blank means he needs to improve in this area.

  • Joey stays in his seat while the teacher is giving a lesson.
  • During math: *
  • During writing:+
  • During art:

Each day, his teacher fills out the behavior chart and puts the appropriate symbol next to the goal, based on Joey’s performance. The behavior plan would outline what Joey is working toward if he receives all stars for a certain number of days.

Set Students Up for Success

If the student’s behavior is not improving or he seems to be feeling more frustrated, then it’s time to revisit the behavior plan. The first thing to look at is what you are expecting the student to do in order to receive his “reward.” In the above example, let’s say Joey is supposed to get all stars for one week (five school days), and then he earns time helping the P.E. teacher with a younger class. The plan has been set into motion for three weeks, and Joey has not accomplished his goal yet. Pretty soon, Joey will give up, and the plan will be a failure.

So, re-evaluate and revise the plan. Maybe a week of stars to begin the behavior change is too much. Try five mornings with all stars because perhaps Joey can focus better in the morning. Another thing you can do is set up a hierarchy of rewards. If he goes two days with all stars, then he gets to help the P.E. teacher for 30 minutes. If he gets stars all five days, then he gets to help for an hour.

The important point is to make sure the student with ADHD is feeling some success and working hard toward his goal. With small steps, the hope is that the student will learn to incorporate these behaviors into his everyday routine and not just to receive a reward.