Introduction to Special Issue: Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth

Article excerpt

This volume of Education and Treatment of Children marks the 25th anniversary issue of the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders Monograph Series on Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth. The 10 articles published here represent a peer-reviewed sample of papers originally presented at the 25th Annual Teacher Educators for Children with Behavior Disorders Conference held in Tempe, Arizona in November of 2001. This volume is devoted to providing in-depth information on the education and treatment of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). Consulting editors and field reviewers from both Education and Treatment of Children and Behavioral Disorders were responsible for reviewing and selecting these articles for publication. Collectively, these articles address a number of issues and challenges, suggest a number of programmatic strategies, and propose directions for future research and practice for students with EBD.

This issue begins with four research articles focused on preschool and first grade students with or at-risk of emotional and behavioral disorders. In the first of these early intervention studies, Mary Magee Quinn examines the effectiveness of a structured cooperative learning approach using positive peer role models to teach interpersonal problem-solving skills and foster increased academic engaged time in first grade boys who exhibited antisocial behavior. In the second article, Jolivette, Stichter, Sibilsky, Scott, and Ridgley present a descriptive study of what constitutes choice making opportunities for preschool children with and without disabilities in various environments. The purposes of the study were to determine: 1) the rate of naturally occurring choice making opportunities for young students; 2) what types of opportunities were offered/ initiated; and 3) the effects of these opportunities on students' social behavior.

In the third article, Lane, Wehby, Menzies, Gregg, Doukas, and Munton examine the effectiveness of a supplemental early literacy program for first-grade students identified by their teachers as at-risk for antisocial behavior and unresponsive to a comprehensive school-wide interventions. Lane and her colleagues found that all of the students made growth in word attack skills and demonstrated lower levels of disruptive behavior in the classroom. In the fourth article focusing on young children, Serna, Nielsen, Mattern, and Forness investigated the use of different measures to identify preschoolers at risk for emotional or behavioral disorders. These authors specifically analyzed the impact of these measures on the gender and ethnicity of the students in the study.

The next four articles in the Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth monograph focus on the role of academics in the education and treatment of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Gable, Hendrickson, Tonelson, and Van Acker emphasize the importance of establishing a classroom environment that reflects positive teacher-pupil interactions, encourages active student engagement, ensures high rates of correct responses, and affords students high rates of positive reinforcement. They discuss ways to identify predictable learning and behavior problems and to plan for instruction reflecting both acculturation and chronological age differences among children. In the next article, Lopes, Cruz, and Rutherford describe a study of fifth and sixth grade students in a public school in Porto, Portugal. The purpose of their study was to determine whether students who were low achievers and/or disruptive were less popular than their peers, if they tended to maintain their negative social status over a tw o-year period, and if they were prone to continue their low academic achievement and disruptive behaviors over that time period. Specifically, they analyzed: 1) the associations of low achievement and/or externalized behavior problems with peer social acceptance and social rejection; 2) the specific behaviors that promote positive or negative peer interactions; and 3) the stability of social status over a two-year period. …

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