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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Defining Yourself as a Leader

Understanding your journey
Learning to lead
How do you define your role?
What is your vision?
What leadership style works best when challenging behavior occurs?
Getting to know you
Enhance the climate
Think about it
For further learning

Chapter 2: What Is Challenging Behavior?

Why children behave inappropriately
Risk factors for challenging behavior

Biological risk factors
Environmental risk factors

For further learning

Chapter 3: How a Child with Challenging Behavior Impacts Your Leadership Skills

Finding ways to welcome a child with challenging behavior
Being in the classroom
When differences arise
Building a team
Developing a common approach to challenging behavior
For further learning

Chapter 4: Developing a Behavior Guidance Policy

Start with your vision and mission
Focus on prevention
Intervention strategies
The role of families
Supporting staff
Mental health consultation
Collecting data
For further learning

Chapter 5: Enabling Your Staff to Act

Helping staff to understand themselves
The amygdala hijack
Dealing with stress
Culture and teachers’ expectations
Implicit bias
Using data
For further learning

Chapter 6: The Power of Prevention

The influence of social climate
Physical space
Making things run smoothly
Teaching strategies
For further learning

Chapter 7: Why Change Is So Difficult and How to Navigate It

Recognizing the need for change
Why do educators resist change?
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
What can you do about resistance?
Implementing change
Take care of yourself
For further learning

Chapter 8: The Role of Professional Development

Begin with your staff
A learning climate
Create a professional development policy
Leaders should take part, too
Looking for professional development options
How can staff share their learning with their colleagues?
For further learning

Chapter 9: Facing the Reality of Challenging Behavior

How does your staff feel about having a child with challenging behavior in the program?
Getting your staff on board
Should the child remain in the program?
What about moving the child or the teacher to another classroom?
Supporting teachers when there’s a child with challenging behavior
How can staff meetings help?
When is it time to call in reinforcements?
For further learning

Chapter 10: Working with the Family

Open communication is important
Meeting with the family
The role of implicit bias and culture in teacher-family interactions
How should you handle disagreements with the family?
What about suggesting families seek outside help?
How do you work with the families of the other children?
Is there a better alternative to your program?
For further learning

Chapter 11: Helping Teachers Respond Effectively to Challenging Behavior

Why punishment isn’t effective
Helping your staff find effective alternatives
The importance of responding to early signs of challenging behavior
Several effective strategies
When a child loses control
For further learning

Chapter 12: Functional Assessment and Positive Behavior Support

How does functional assessment work?
Observing children with your teachers
Creating a behavior support plan
Using functional assessment and a positive behavior support plan: Ryan
For further learning

Chapter 13: Trauma and Behavior

What is trauma?
What can trauma do to the brain?
What can administrators and teachers do?
Create a safe, predictable environment
Help teachers to develop their resilience
Choosing trauma-sensitive care
For further learning


A. Sample Guidance Policy
B. Behavior Incident Report
C. A-B-C Chart (blank)
D. Ryan’s A-B-C Observation Chart
E. Ryan’s Behavior Support Planning Chart



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