Preventing and Ameliorating Young Children’s Chronic Problem Behaviors: An Ecological Classroom-Based Approach

Conroy, M., Sutherland, K., Haydon, T., Stormont, M., & Harmon, J. (2008)

The number of young children who demonstrate chronic problem behaviors placing them at high risk for future development of emotional and behavioral disorders is increasing. These children’s problem behaviors often exist prior to entering school and become apparent as they interact with their parents at home. In fact, researchers have suggested that children who demonstrate chronic problem behaviors and their parents often end up developing well-established negative interaction patterns than can evolve into coercive relationships and persist upon entry into school. This article describes an ecological classroom-based approach, which emphasizes changing teacher-student interaction patterns as a means of preventing and possibly ameliorating coercive interaction patterns demonstrated by young children and their teachers. First, a brief overview of the current service delivery models and intervention programs addressing young children’s behavioral excesses is presented. Next, a description of the ecological classroom-based intervention model for addressing the behavioral needs of these children is described. This section includes the theoretical frameworks on which the model is based an an overview of model components. Additionally, the application of the model to a school-wide systems approach is explored. Finally, future research directions are discussed.