Challenging Behaviour in the Regular Classroom: Empowering Teachers Working with Children and Families at Risk through the Early Impact Program
The prevalence of challenging behaviours in children impacts upon families, educational settings, and within the broader society of Australia. Challenging behaviours develop early in an individual's life and can lead to more serious problems including substance abuse and delinquency in adolescence and adulthood. Given the high incidence of challenging behaviours in children, the need for prevention and early intervention strategies to target the onset and development of this phenomenon is paramount. Further, research in prevention needs to focus on how approaches to early intervention and prevention operate within a cross-cultural context. The Early Impact (EI) program is an early intervention and prevention program designed to reduce the incidence of conduct problems in children. It provides a framework for regular classroom teachers to equip them in working with children presenting challenging behaviours in the school setting. Further, the EI program serves to promote stronger partnerships between schools and families to best address the diverse needs of this population of children and ameliorate the stresses for school personnel and families associated with working with children at-risk of challenging behaviour. This paper explores the psychosocial variables that influence the child's trajectory towards dysfunction. It also provides a description of the EI program design including its philosophical framework that has been informed by current advances in the psychology literature which underpins the various EI program components. Finally, the paper emphasises the significance of comprehensive interventions programs for children and families at-risk that focus on both school and home settings and that are easily implemented in, and cost-effective to, community populations.
Keywords: Challenging Behaviour-Children-Teachers-Families, Early Intervention, Prevention
Dr. Stephen Anthony Larmar
Lecturer, School of Human Services, Griffith University
Dr Terry Gatfield
Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing, Griffith University