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Posted 08.21.06


Early Intervention Key to Avoiding Failure at School, Researcher Finds

New Book Details Tactics for General Educators to Use in the Classroom

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- School reforms and the No Child Left Behind Act have made it more important than ever to take a preventative approach to young children at risk for failure, according to a new book released this week by a researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

"Young children are resilient, and general education teachers can make a difference with children who have unique needs for social, emotional and academic support," said Melissa Stormont, associate professor of special education in the MU College of Education.

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Stormont's book - "Fostering Resilience in Young Children at Risk for Failure" - details intervention strategies and provides tools and authentic examples to facilitate success in school settings for children in kindergarten through third grade.

"You can't ignore the data that shows children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder are two years behind in at least one area by grade five," Stormont said. "We need to give children individualized academic and behavioral support before we just push them through to the next grade."

Stormont said the purpose of her research has been to prepare general educators to be more understanding of children's differences and be more willing and able to accommodate for such differences in the classroom.

"My research has not focused on children with identified disabilities; rather I am passionate about trying to prevent children from developing more serious problems wherever possible," Stormont said. "This book is about the children who are vulnerable, who have specific characteristics that have been associated with risk for failure, and who often fall between the cracks."

Stormont encourages teachers to recognize characteristics instead of waiting for children to fail over and over again. She said by the third grade is it already obvious who will not be successful academically and/or socially in future grades, which makes early intervention so important.

"The window of opportunity is in the primary grades. Where children are by age eight is very predictive of where they will be in their future education endeavors," Stormont said. "Teachers can have such a significant influence on students. Teachers do know that but it is often hard to remember this when they get bogged down with everything else."



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