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Institute of Education Sciences


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IES Grant

Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Dunlap, Glen Grantee: Board of Regents, University of Nevada, Reno
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 04/01/2012–03/31/2016 Award Amount: $2,667,001
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A120097
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Phillip Strain (University of Colorado at Denver)

Purpose: Students with serious behavioral challenges may experience a host of negative school and life outcomes if their behavior is not addressed early in life. Of students with any category of disability, students with emotional disturbance are at greatest risk for school failure and have the poorest academic records and highest dropout rates. To help improve outcomes for these students, the research team is evaluating the efficacy of a promising intervention to provide young children in preschool settings with the readiness skills that they need to succeed in elementary school and beyond. The purpose of this project is to determine whether a manualized intervention model called Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children is more effective than typical practice in reducing preschoolers' challenging behaviors and increasing their social skills and engagement.

Project Activities: Approximately 240 preschoolers who have challenging behaviors will participate in this research. The population will include children identified as having disabilities as well as children deemed at risk for disabilities due to the extent of their challenging behaviors. The Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children model is a fully developed strategy that had been adapted from one previously used with elementary and middle school students. The model includes a school-based team that sets goals for individual students, establishes a strategy for measuring targeted behaviors daily, develops an intervention plan, and monitors student progress. A randomized controlled trial will be used to study the efficacy of Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children. Teachers will be randomly assigned to the treatment or business-as-usual condition. Students will be assessed at multiple time points—before, during, and immediately after the intervention. Data will be analyzed to estimate the effects of Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children on measures of children's behavior, social skills, and engagement.

Products: The products of this project will be published reports on the efficacy of the Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children intervention for reducing challenging behaviors and improving the social skills and engagement of children with serious behavior challenges.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research project will take place in early childhood classrooms in Nevada and Colorado.

Sample: Approximately 240 preschoolers who have challenging behaviors will participate in this research. The population will include children identified as having disabilities as well as children deemed at risk for disabilities due to the extent of their challenging behaviors.

Intervention: The intervention model is a fully developed strategy that had been adapted from one previously used with elementary and middle school students. The model includes elements that have shown promise when used in isolation—functional behavioral assessment, antecendent manipulations, educational strategies, and consequence manipulations. A school-based team, which includes the child's family members, will be established and meet regularly to ensure that the model and its components are being implemented with high levels of fidelity. The team will set three personalized goals for individual students to reduce or replace inappropriate behaviors or improve academic outcomes, establish a strategy for measuring targeted behaviors daily, and develop an intervention plan. The team will monitor student progress and revise the intervention plan if students are not responding to the intervention strategies. Students will participate in this intervention model for 2 to 4 months.

Research Design and Methods: A randomized controlled trial will be used to study the efficacy of Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children. Teachers will be randomly assigned to the treatment or business-as-usual condition. Students will be assessed at multiple time pointsóbefore, during, and immediately after the intervention. Approximately six cohorts, with 35 to 40 students per cohort, will participate in this project over a 4-year period.

Control Condition: Children in the business-as-usual condition will receive instruction typically provided by the schools.

Key Measures: Key outcome measures include teacher reports of children's behavior and social skills, observations of engagement, and direct child assessment of language skills. The team will also collect fidelity of implementation data and other observational data measuring teachers' practices in treatment and comparison classrooms.

Data Analytic Strategy: A series of data analysis techniques, including multi-level modeling, will be used to estimate the effects of the Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children on measures of children's behavior, social skills, and engagement. The team will also examine the relationships between children's social skills, language skills, and quality of classroom instruction.

Publications from this project:

Dunlap, G., & Fox, L. (2013). Supportive interventions for young children with social, emotional, and behavioral delays and disorders. In H. M. Walker & F. M. Gresham (Eds.), Evidence-based practices for addressing school-related behavior problems and disorders (pp. 503–517). New York: Guilford Press.

Dunlap, G., Lee, J. K., & Strain, P. (in press). Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children: A user-friendly, tertiary model for challenging behaviors. In M. Ostrosky & S. Sandall (Eds.), Addressing young children's challenging behaviors (YEC Monograph #15) .

Dunlap, G., Wilson, K., Strain, P., & Lee, J. K. (2013). Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for young children: The early childhood model of individualized positive behavior support. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.


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