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Education & Treatment of Children (ETC)








Children's behavior problems pose challenges to families, schools, and society. The research literature argues that early detection/intervention is the most powerful course of action in ameliorating these problems in children at risk of emotional/behavioral disorders. However, specifying precisely what constitutes a quality program of early intervention is not a simple task. Current conceptualizations suggest that successful early intervention cannot be unidimensional in nature, but must consist of a complex series of interactions and transactions that synergistically serve to nurture and enhance both the development of the child and family. In this paper, we reviewed the accumulated research to learn more about the critical elements of early intervention. Specifically, we examined three major areas addressed in the literature. First, we describe literature search procedures and criteria for study inclusion, along with methods for analyzing these early intervention studies. Second, we examine the conduct of the intervention, including characteristics of study participants, types of interventions, types of measures, age of onset and length of intervention, treatment fidelity, and social validity measures. Finally, we draw upon that review to offer recommendations for future research.


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Original Publication Citation

Hester, P. P., Baltodano, H. M., & Gable, R. A. (2003). Early intervention with children at risk of emotional/behavioral disorders: A critical examination of research methodology and practices. Education & Treatment of Children (ETC), 26(4), 362-381.