Early Intervention Versus Wait and See: Improving Academic and Behavior Success for Children with Challenging Behaviors and Disorders

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Ritter, Chandy
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Classrooms throughout North America are experiencing increasing stress as a growing number of children exhibiting behavior difficulties and disorders enter into the public school system. If left unsupported, children who display early behavior difficulties and disorders are at a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, school dropout, delinquent actions and incarceration. Research indicates that early interventions, including early identification and screening measures, help reduce, eliminate or control problem behaviors in preschool and school aged children. Many experts recommend implementing early intervention strategies prior to the age of eight to nine in order to increase the success of improving or reducing challenging behaviors In the introduction of this paper school success and behavior difficulties and disorders are defined along with a brief overview of Special Education policies in Canada and the United States. Based on research, this paper describes and evaluates several early interventions focusing on child-centered, parenting, school-wide and classroom approaches. Following a detailed literature review, this paper further explores the limitations associated with using early interventions and possible recommendations for school district to consider when implementing early interventions. This paper proposes that implementing early interventions in a child's education program dramatically improves their chances of achieving academic and behavior success in a school environment.