Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children: A Program Description and Demonstration of Implementation in an Early Childhood Setting

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children: A Program Description and Demonstration of Implementation in an Early Childhood Setting

Article excerpt


This article describes Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children (PTR-YC), a model based on extensive research that is designed for feasibility and effectiveness for treating challenging behaviors in classroom settings. This model is designed to meet the needs of children with and without disabilities who engage in challenging behavior that interferes with their learning and social development. This article contains a description of the PTR-YC model and presents a case study demonstrating the use of the model in an early childhood educational setting. The case study illustrates the PTR-YC process as implemented by a school-based team and presents the effectiveness of the procedures.

Keywords: Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children, positive behavior support, challenging behavior, functional behavior assessment, function-based interventions


Case background: Chris is a 4-year-old boy who has been attendhig a public-school pre-khidergarten classroomfor ten months. He is diagnosed with Autism and has notable delays in communication. He produces a few words but his articulation is poor and limits understanding. Instead, he engages in problem behavior in order to have his needs met. Mrs. Fritz, Chris's teacher, has concerns about his aggressive behavior towards adults and peers, his noncompliance, and poor communication skills. Chris's problem behaviors include physical aggression, off-task behavior, and lengthy transition time. Throughout the time that Chris has been in her classroom, Mrs. Fritz has implemented differing developmentally appropriate strategies to address Chris's challenging behavior with little success. After speaking with Chris's mother and other classroom members, Mrs. Fritz decided that an individualized plan was needed in order to address Chris's challenging behaviors. Mrs. Fritz decided to use the Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children (PTR-YC) model.

Toddlers and preschoolers who engage in challenging behavior not only present difficulties for themselves, but also for their teachers, parents, and peers (Strain & Timm, 2001). Challenging behavior can take the form of tantrums, aggression, property destruction, noncompliance, withdrawal, and unresponsiveness. Regardless of the form it takes, when challenging behavior persists it interferes with the child's development of prosocial interactions and competencies. Thus, steps should be taken to assist the child in establishing a healthier social-emotional repertoire and to aid in the reduction of challenging behavior (Dunlap, Lee, & Strain, 2013), as such interventions can be essential in preventing short- and long-term histories of antisocial behavior and school failure (Dunlap et al., 2013; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).

Research documents the favorable effects of interventions for challenging behavior. Many of the techniques used in recent research are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis and the positive behavior support process (Bamabara & Kern, 2005; Carr et al. 2002; Cooper, Heron & Heward, 1987; Sailor, Dunlap, Sugai, & Horner, 2009). Data derived from functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) most often guide the intervention process. Interventions resulting from the data collected during an FBA are individualized to meet the needs of each child, but there are key components each may contain: (a) manipulations of antecedent and contextual stimuli; (b) instructional strategies designed to build effective alternative replacements to challenging behavior based on the function of the challenging behavior; and (c) consequences that emphasize positive reinforcement procedures (Dunlap, Lee, & Strain, 2013). Although the majority of research on challenging behaviors has been conducted with school-aged children, the same general findings have been found in young children ages two to five (e.g., Conroy, Dunlap, Clarke & Alter, 2005). …

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