Supporting the implementation of tiered models of behavior support in early childhood settings

Mary Louise Hemmeter, Lise Fox, Jessica K. Hardy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The design and delivery of effective interventions to address challenging behavior in young children is a critical concern for practitioners, families, and researchers. Challenging behavior in the early years of development, defined as “any repeated pattern of behavior or perception of behavior that interferes with or is at risk of interfering with optimal learning or engagement in pro-social interactions with peers and adults” (Systems of service delivery: A synthesis of evidence relevant to young children at risk of or who have challenging behavior, University of South Florida, Tampa, 2003), can have pervasive deleterious effects on the child’s social emotional functioning, learning, and longitudinal outcomes over time (Behav Disord, 32:29-45, 2006; Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2009). In this chapter, we describe a framework of promotion, prevention, and intervention practices with a focus on effective practices for children who have persistent challenging behavior. We begin the chapter by describing the developmental trajectory of challenging behavior and the importance of a prevention framework for the implementation of evidence-based practices that promote social emotional competence and prevent or reduce challenging behaviors. We then describe the design and implementation of individualized behavior interventions and the importance of partnerships with families. The final section of this chapter describes how professionals can support practitioners and programs in the implementation of effective interventions through coaching and consultation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Early Childhood Special Education
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319284927
ISBN (Print)9783319284903
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Challenging behaviors
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with special needs
  • Coaching
  • Collaboration
  • Early childhood
  • Early childhood special education
  • Early intervention
  • Positive behavior supports
  • Pyramid model
  • Special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine


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