Behavior Services

As part of the TN-TAN network, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s TRIAD provides technical assistance for complex behavior support needs and associated training within Tennessee schools. TRIAD’s focus is to improve student and educator outcomes related to safety, engagement, inclusion, and/or independence.

The majority of requests for technical assistance received are related to individual students presenting with severe and complex behavior, including aggression, self-injury, and elopement. TRIAD provides student-specific staff training, consultation, and ongoing coaching on individualized behavior assessment and intervention implementation, as well as the skill acquisition required to maintain communication, academic, and social growth opportunities for these students. Much of TRIAD’s evidence-based work is individualized to the needs of the students and educators TRIAD serves.

Intensive (student-specific) technical assistance is designed for school teams interested in support from TRIAD to improve an individual students’ safety, engagement, inclusion, and/or independence. This program is intended for school teams working with a specific student who has been receiving a high level of support and has utilized most/all services in their district. Together the student, caregivers, the school team and TRIAD will identify a 12-week goal to be prioritized for technical assistance. Goals might include decreasing behavior related to student safety, the use of restraint/isolation and other disciplinary actions which will allow the student to have increased cooperation with learning goals and autonomy.

Technical Assistance Format

Most assistance, including training, will be conducted remotely using technology tools when possible. Site visits can be conducted when coaching and consultation activity/goals cannot be achieved remotely. School participants should expect to be able to participate in daily data collection, weekly remote team meetings, weekly remote observations, as well as implementing student assessments and interventions. It is required for educators to be able to implement 1:1 intervention with the target student for at least 30 minutes per day.

Student Behavior

Technical assistance is designed for students engaging in behaviors similar to self-injury, physical aggression towards others, elopement, tantrum, disruptive behaviors, or goals related to cooperation with instruction, social or prevocational opportunities.

School Team Composition

The school team needs to be committed to improving outcomes for a student with severe and complex behavior needs. All team members are required to consent for video recording, data collection, and document sharing. Team members will include:

  • Special education teacher
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Building level administrator (required)
  • District SPED administrator (required)
  • Behavior specialist/BCBA (if applicable)
  • General education teacher (if applicable)
  • SLP or other related service providers (if applicable)

Intensive (Student-Specific) Technical Assistance Components

In order to meet team goals the school team will progress through phases of technical assistance.

  1. Screening (Pre-enrollment)
    Prior to enrolling, the team will complete a series of applications/sub applications for TRIAD to learn more about student needs and team goals. An enrollment decision will be made collaboratively between the school team and TRIAD.
  1. Orientation
    Once enrolled, the team will complete a series of activities to allow TRIAD to become oriented to the student. This will include:
    • Online learning modules/data collection training
    • Baseline data collection (3-5 days collected by school team)
    • TRIAD review student records (IEP, FBA, BIP, existing data, etc.)
    • Remote student observation
    • Data analysis training
    • Student and Family Interview
  1. Assessment and Intervention
    Once baseline data is collected the TRIAD and the school team will work together to identify additional behavioral assessments to support intervention planning. Assessment could include a preference assessment, concurrent operants analysis (COA), structured ABC data, or a functional analysis. TRIAD and the school team will collaborate to analyze all data to develop an intervention. TRIAD will provide training to team members regarding intervention plan and support implementation through remote observations and ongoing data analysis and intervention monitoring.
  1. Fading/Generalization
    TRIAD will collaborate to fade support and increase school team independence for implementing intervention.

Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans: 3 Part Training Series

This year long, three-part training, is an opportunity for each school system within the state of Tennessee to send one representative to become trained in completing legally compliant FBAs and BIPs. As such, it is designed for individuals who may be new to the FBA and BIP process and may have minimal resources. This three-part series will describe the updated Tennessee State Board rules for FBAs and BIPs, information about using state-approved forms to draft an FBA and BIP or make amendments to existing forms, and opportunities to practice using a rubric to identify areas of strength or where improvements are advisable. Enrollment is open to one person from each school system in Tennessee, with a waitlist forming for any additional attendees from each system. An employee who will be responsible for completing FBAs/BIPs for the district and/or supporting others in the district in the process is an ideal candidate.

Approval from the director of special education is required before admittance is granted. Attendees will be assigned up to 6 hours of asynchronous work to complete as part 1 of the training. Attendees who complete part 1 will be invited to participate in Part 2, a live workshop, in May of 2024. Attendees who complete part 1 and 2 will have access to monthly, synchronous, online sessions, starting in August of 2024 for additional follow up and feedback on using the tools described to complete FBAs and BIPs. Attendees who attend all three parts of the training and are able to submit a de-identified FBA and BIP that is scored as compliant on the TN rubric will be able to receive a certification of completion for TRIAD’s FBA/BIP training.

Dates and Locations

  1. May 7, 2024: Jackson, TN
  2. May 14, 2024: Middle Tennessee
  3. May 21, 2024: Knoxville, TN

BCBA Community Group

The purpose of the BCBA Community group is to create an interactive, collaborative space for school based BCBAs to share resources, provide support to one another while navigating through school cases and to connect BCBAs to one another across the state of Tennessee. The topics covered in this group are dictated by the members current interest and needs with an emphasis on most effective practices for working in the school system.

Participant Requirements

  1. Currently working as a school based BCBA in a Tennessee school
  2. Currently supervising BCBAs in Tennessee schools
  3. Working towards your BCBA, and employed as a school-based professional to support students with challenging behavior, including designing and implementing FBAs and BIPs.

Group meets once a month online to discuss specifics related to working as a school-based BCBA in Tennessee. Participants are encouraged to read articles, listen to podcasts, or review other recommended media as it relates to each topic.

Download and print behavior resources below produced by VKC TRIAD. If you need materials in an accessible format, please contact or call (615) 322-8240.

FBA/BIP and Supporting Documents

A functional behavior assessment (FBA) involves evidence-based processes for understanding the factors in a student’s environment that are influencing the occurrence of dangerous and/or interfering behavior. Information from an FBA often directly informs a behavior intervention plan (BIP), which helps all members of the team implement consistent evidence-based practices aimed at reducing dangerous and/or interfering behavior while simultaneously ensuring that students and staff are safe and that student needs are met to the extent possible.

Here we offer some materials to (a) help develop FBAs, (b) use FBAs to inform BIPs, and (c) incorporate additional safety and rapport building practices into BIPs.

This 46 minute video provides an opportunity for viewers to

  • Examine the State Board of Education FBA and BIP requirements
  • Investigate the components of an FBA compliant with Tennessee regulations
  • Distinguish the components of a BIP complaint with Tennessee regulations

This 32 minute video provides an opportunity for viewers to

  • Distinguish between baseline data collection options available for a compliant FBA within the state of Tennessee
  • Critique a sample FBA using rubric on data collection metric
  • Judge sample FBA using rubric regarding systematic observation

This 24 minute video provides an opportunity for viewers to

  • Examine SMART goals within a BIP
  • Critique a sample BIP using rubric on replacement behavior
  • Evaluate a progress monitoring plan to make decisions and adjustments to intervention

Interested in additional FBA/BIP training? Please view this document for directions on how to access our online FBA/BIP training.

Crisis Management

Managing a crisis in a school setting can be stressful. The resources below include supports for approaching crisis situations in a way that honors the dignity of the individuals in crisis as well as others who may be present.

This 14 minute video includes an overview of why intervening early in the cycle of escalation to de-escalate challenging behavior is an ideal approach.

Behavior Supports

Educators and families frequently have questions about the best way to support students with behavioral goals. The videos and tip sheets below highlight some strategies to consider when addressing these goals.

This 22 minute video provides learners an opportunity to

  • Examine the intersection of trauma and intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Recommend basic trauma-informed strategies for use with students in schools
  • Distinguish TRIAD’s approach to trauma-informed care

This 40 minute video provides views an opportunity to

  • Recognize several of the common underlying reasons for challenging behavior in school.
  • Follow a process for determining which underlying reasons for challenging behavior are most likely through an analysis process.

This 46 minute video provides viewers an opportunity to evaluate how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) describes free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in regards to students engaging in severe challenging behavior.

Manifestation Determination

Manifestation Determination Reviews (MDRs) can be part of a student’s school experience. Please view our resources below for additional information about MDRs.

This 52 minute video provides information specific to Manifestation Determination Reviews

  • Change of Placement
  • The MDR Process
  • Zero Tolerance Offenses and Interim Alternative Educational Settings
  • MDRs for Non-IDEA Students
  • Prior Written Notices
Teacher with upset student

Sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Education, through the Tennessee Technical Assistance Network (TN-TAN) and available at no cost to LEAs in Tennessee.

TRIAD is a proud member of the Tennessee Technical Assistance Network (TN-TAN) through the Tennessee Department of Education. TRIAD, the autism institute at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, provides training, consultation, and coaching services for supporting educators and developing school and system-wide supports to address needs specific to autistic students, Pre-K-12.

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