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Challenging Behavior in Young Children



Thirteen reasons to buy Challenging Behavior in Young Children, Edition 2

1. Practical and realistic. This book has a frontline perspective rarely found in textbooks. Examples featuring real children in real classrooms make the information and strategies come alive.

2. User-friendly. Besides being fun to read, this book is well organized, logical, and academically rigorous. Numerous text boxes add spice and illuminate specific points.

3. Comprehensive. The text brings together knowledge from neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, child development, special education, early care and education, cross cultural research, and proactive social skills programs and organizes it into a single comprehensive (and comprehensible) whole. The research-based strategies can be used separately or together, providing you with a collection of tools appropriate for many different children and situations, whether you’re a student or an experienced teacher.

4. Culturally sensitive. Besides dedicating an entire chapter to the vital role of culture in children’s lives, the text considers cultural influences throughout. Snapshots of the country’s largest minority groups point out important cultural values that may lead to behavior being misperceived as challenging.

5. Strategies for preventing challenging behavior. Two full chapters tell you how to prevent challenging behavior by creating a physical space, program, and social context that promote and teach appropriate behavior and social skills.

6. Strategies for responding to challenging behavior. The book is loaded with strategies for reacting to challenging behavior. There is a balanced overview of positive reinforcement, consequences, and time-out; a clear description of positive behavior support and functional assessment, which view challenging behavior from the child’s perspective; and a new approach, WEVAS, that focuses on the teacher’s response to the child and furnishes easy-to-use techniques.

7. Inclusion. IDEA legislates inclusion as the norm, giving all children, regardless of abilities, the right to participate actively in the regular schools and child care centers they would attend if they were developing typically. This chapter helps you to minimize challenging behavior when you welcome children with disabilities into your classroom.

8. Relationships and self-reflection. Relationships are critical to good teaching, and especially to teaching children with challenging behavior. In this chapter you’ll learn how to make them work and how self-reflection can help.

9. Bullying. An entire chapter on bullying describes what’s known about children who bully, children who are targeted, and bystanders, and suggests ways to prevent and respond to bullying. There are also useful tips for working with parents of children involved in bullying.

10. Risk factors and protective factors for challenging behavior. The biological and environmental risk factors are all here—temperament, substance abuse during pregnancy, language and cognitive disorders, the violent media, poverty, and more. You will also learn how to strengthen the protective factors that make children more resilient and enable them to overcome the risk factors in their lives.

11. The brain. The mystery of behavior and the brain gets a whole chapter, revised to include the most recent research.

12. Family-friendly. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of teacher-family partnerships. This book helps you to understand and communicate with families, even when you’re saying things they don’t want to hear.

13. Questions for discussion. A section called “What do you think?” at the end of each chapter asks questions to help students make the material their own.

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Challenging Behavior in Young Children    

Table of contents

Foreword by Sue Bredekamp
1: What Is Challenging Behavior?
     Isn’t challenging behavior sometimes appropriate for very young children?
     Do children outgrow challenging behavior?
     What is aggression?
     Does culture play a role in aggressive behavior?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
2: Risk Factors
     What causes challenging behavior?
     Biological Risk Factors
          Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
          Complications of pregnancy and birth
          Substance abuse during pregnancy
          Language and cognition disorders
     Environmental Risk Factors
           Family factors and parenting style
           Poverty and the conditions surroundings it
           Exposure to violence
           Turbulent times
           Violent media
           Child care
           Understanding risk
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading

3: Protective Factors
     Who is the resilient child?
     What makes a resilient child bounce back?
     How does the family contribute to resilience?
     What is the community’s role in resilience?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
4: Behavior and the Brain
     How do babies’ brains develop?
How does experience spur nerve cells to connect?
     Is there a critical period for social or emotional behavior?
     What does caregiving have to do with it?
     What about neurotransmitters?
     What role do genes play?
     Which parts of the brain are involved in aggressive behavior?
     What does all this mean?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
5: Relationship, Relationship, Relationship
     The caring connection
     Understanding Yourself
           “Who are you?” said the caterpillar.
           What influences the way you relate to a child with challenging behavior?
           What is self-reflection?
           How do you reflect?
           What do you reflect about?
           Are there any techniques to help you reflect?
     Understanding the Child
           What is the role of attachment?
           How does attachment affect behavior?
           Is attachment culture bound?
     Establishing a Relationship
           How does being securely attached to a teacher protect a child?
           How can you develop a secure attachment to a child with challenging behavior?
           Back to the beginning
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
6: Understanding the Child’s Family and Culture
     Collaborating with Families
           Getting to know you
     Opening the Culture Door
           What is culture?
           What does culture have to do with identity?
           Are cultures really so different?
           How can you see your culture?
           The culture of child care and school
           What happens when children move from one culture to another?
           How does culture influence behavior?
           What happens when a child speaks a different language?
           Does each culture have its own special characteristics?
           Why all this matters
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
7: Preventing Challenging Behavior with the Right Physical Space and Program
     How does prevention work?
     We’re all the same, yet we’re all different
     The Physical Space
           Wide open spaces
           What will go inside each area?
           What about the people?
           Does the level of stimulation make a difference?
           Consider the results
     The Program
           Offering choices
           Choosing materials
           Are some activities harder for children with challenging behavior?
           How do you get from A to B?
           When circumstances change
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
8: Preventing Challenging Behavior with the Right Social Context
     Creating the Social Context
          What kind of social context fosters prosocial behavior and discourages aggressive behavior?
          What is the teacher’s role in the social context?
          How can you create a cooperative and inclusive community?
     Teaching Social Skills
          Why are social skills important?
          How do children learn social skills?
          Why should we include children with challenging behaviors?
          How do you teach social skills?
          What skills do children need to learn?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading and resources      
9: Guidance and Punishment
     What information will you need?
     How useful is positive reinforcement?
     Which is better: Praise or encouragement?
     What if positive reinforcement provokes challenging behavior?
     What about natural and logical consequences?
     Is it good practice to use time-out?
     What’s wrong with using punishment?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
10: The WEVAS Strategy
     Calibration: Zeroing in on the child’s state of mind
     The anxious state: The early warning system
     The agitated state: Reactions intensify
     The aggressive state: The fire inside
     The assaultive state: Involving the community
     What about using restraint?
     The open state: A time to debrief and learn
     Returning to the group
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
11: Positive Behavior Support and Functional Assessment
     How do you figure out the function of a behavior?
     What functions can behavior serve?
     What about appropriate behavior?
     Why do you need to work as a team?
     How do you get the information you need for a functional assessment?
     How do you develop a hypothesis?
     How do you create a positive behavior support plan?
     How does the plan look?
     How do you evaluate the plan?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
12: The Inclusive Classroom
     About Inclusion
          Why is inclusion important?
          How does IDEA work?
          What’s happening on the front lines?
          How is a child who needs special education identified?
          What services does IDEA offer young children?
     Preventing and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Children with Disabilities
          What is the connection between disability and challenging behavior?
          How can you organize the physical space to prevent challenging behavior?
          How can the program and schedule prevent challenging behavior?
          How can an inclusive social context prevent challenging behavior?
          How can you respond effectively to challenging behavior?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
13: Working with Families and Other Experts
     How do families react to news of challenging behavior?
     How do you feel?
     How can colleagues help?
     How do you arrange a meeting?
     What should happen in a meeting with the family?
     How do you close a meeting?
     What if you and the family disagree?
     How do you handle challenging behavior when the parent is present?
     What should you say to the parents of the other children?
     What about getting expert advice?
     What if the child needs more help?
     What about asking a child with challenging behavior to leave?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading
14: Bullying
What is bullying?
How common is bullying?
Who are the children who bully others?
Who are the targets of bullying?
Who are the bystanders?
How can you prevent bullying?
What helps children cope with bullying?
How do you respond to bullying?
What do you do if you don't see the bullying?
How can you work with the parents of children involved in bullying?
     What do you think?
     Suggested reading and resources
Appendix A: The Functional Assessment Observation Form
Appendix B: The Functional Assessment A-B-C Chart

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Expert praise

“What you’ll learn from reading this book will have a significant positive effect on you as a teacher and on the hundreds of children you will eventually touch.”
—From the preface by Sue Bredekamp,
author of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs

A deeply sensible and valuable book that presents interesting, practical, and academically rigorous material in a style that’s always easy to read. What a great contribution to the field.
Frances Stott, Erikson Institute

A powerful resource for understanding and working in a caring and respectful way with the neediest children.
Diane Levin, Wheelock College,
author of Teaching Young Children in Violent Times

Im very enthusiastic about this book. Its interesting, reader friendly, and has a solid research foundation. Best of all, the information is extremely useful!
Janet Gonzalez-Mena,
author of The Young Child in the Family and the Community

“What makes the authors’ work so valuable is that it’s as much about relationships as it is about strategies. Barbara has consulted with us at Family Communications about our Challenging Behaviors project. Now through this book, people who work closely with young children can benefit from what she and Judy have learned in their search to provide meaningful help to these children.”
Fred Rogers, creator and host of the PBS children’s program,
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Because this book really helps provide a framework for thinking about behavior, it is an extremely useful primary text for courses in elementary education.
Ed Greene, Montclair State University

This textbook has been needed for a long time. It pulls together so many aspects of dealing with problem behavior and covers the field very well. It is up to date, accurate, and interesting to read. I particularly appreciate the fact that these authors are dealing with real children, real adults, and real situations.
Dorothy Hewes, San Diego State University

The authors scholarship and experience are evident throughout. The direct references to cultural sensitivity are extremely well done. The chapter addressing reflective teaching is also a welcome addition. Multiple references to various theories and philosophies of intervention provide an effective and eclectic approach.
Diane E. Strangis, University of Florida

Dont let the idea that this is a textbook put you off. I have been teaching for almost 30 years and there is no doubt in my mind that this book is for teachers as well as students. No matter how many years youve been teaching, you never know when youre going to meet that child who makes you question your choice of profession. Challenging Behavior in Young Children is fun to read and packed with useful information. It helps you to prevent aggressive behavior and respond to children who are out of control, and it provides insight and food for thought even for teachers like me who have many years of experience.
Joan Rosen, Pre-kindergarten teacher, New York

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