School Psychology Review

Bridging the Gap Between Clinical and Classroom Intervention: Keystone Approaches for Students With Challenging Behavior

Joseph M. Ducharme and Carly Shecter

pp. 257-274

Special Topic: Assessing and Preventing Behavior Difficulties

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Abstract: Although not trained as treatment providers, teachers are increasingly faced with students who present challenging behavioral issues that require intervention. Teachers often resort to reactive and punitive strategies that have many negative side effects and drawbacks because they lack specific training in managing problem behavior in the classroom. Functional analysis and assessment approaches are commonly recommended by clinical researchers and have been demonstrated effective for managing problem behavior, but are sometimes impractical for regular classroom use. In this article, we propose a “keystone” approach to classroom management that may meet the clinical needs of children with challenging behavior while potentially serving as a more practical classroom alternative to commonly recommended strategies. With this approach, teachers are taught to focus on a circumscribed set of skills that have the potential to produce widespread improvement in child outcomes and render problem behavior unnecessary. Empirical support for individual components of this approach is discussed.