Preschoolers who lack sufficient home stimulation for language development often fall behind their peers in the vocabulary they will need for reading. A Canadian study finds that if educators at childcare centers use specially developed storybooks and actively engage the children, at-risk preschoolers learn more “magic words.”
Rigorous research in prevention science often depends on persuading the right people to take part and then keeping them involved. Recruitment and retention strategies used successfully to evaluate an anti-obesity program in New Mexico show just how much foresight, care and effort it can take.
Severely antisocial children are at particular risk of developing into juvenile offenders repeatedly involved in violence and increasingly serious crime. An independent evaluation of the Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) program underlines the need to ensure that early prevention services reach more families.
Shy children often struggle to feel comfortable and accepted at school. In a recent study in Northern Ireland, a targeted program helped many children with the worry, unhappiness, and peer problems that often go along with shyness.
Neuroscience is a rapidly developing field. Can a better understanding of what is happening in a child’s brain inform educational practices? Ongoing work by the UK-based Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Wellcome Trust examines the potential use of neuroscience in the classroom, highlighting areas such as reading and mathematics where developments in neuroscience could help inform education.
Cultural barriers can prevent ethnic minority families from accessing child abuse prevention services, but program adaptation requires far more than language translation. Research with Latino families in Oklahoma shows how much care and effort may be needed to succeed.
Preschoolers with developmental disabilities and behavioral difficulties may find it especially hard to adjust to kindergarten and school. Kids in Transition (KITS), an innovative program for families, has been helping children to control their emotions and behaviors while improving their attentiveness in class.
Intensive, early intervention with maltreated children placed in foster homes can reduce emotional and behavioral problems while lowering the risk of added disruption when care placements break down. But if “intensive” equals “expensive” can the cost to taxpayers be justified?
Poverty and the stress it places on parents are key factors explaining why black and other minority children in America’s disadvantaged neighborhoods are at high risk for school underachievement, antisocial behavior and poor health. An evaluation of the ParentCorps program makes the case for delivering parenting and other preventive support through early years schooling.
When parental relationships break down with mom and dad in acrimonious conflict, it harms kids. Yet couples often find it hard to seek early preventive help when things start to go wrong. Research in the UK highlights the benefits of specialist training for frontline practitioners.
Half a million mothers are served by home visiting programs in the US alone. Thousands of them – in some studies, nearly two-thirds – have depression. They rarely get treatment. A new study suggests that home visiting could bring treatment to them with a cognitive behavioral therapy approach.
Parenting programs help improve parenting skills and children’s behavior in the short term – but do the effects last? They can, says a study in Ireland among disadvantaged families. 12 months after the program, parents were still happier, able to parent better, and less worried about their kids’ behavior than before the program. What’s more, the cost of other service use fell by 40% - pointing to major long-term savings.
You are growing up in a war zone where a ceasefire has just been declared. How might prevention science help you to avoid the potential for long-term harm caused by exposure to armed conflict and stress?
New evidence from Germany on the widely used Triple-P parenting program finds parents maintaining improvements in their skills an impressive four years after they took part. But a lack of evidence for matching, long-term reductions in children’s behavior problems may leave service planners scratching their heads.
Could schools play a more active part in preventing eating disorders as children reach adolescence? Research from Germany’s “Torera” project suggests a positive answer when teachers are equipped with well-conceived program materials and training.
People with ADHD often struggle with tasks that require them to hold information temporarily in mind, such as paying attention and pursuing goals. It seems logical that training working memory could, in turn, help with ADHD. So why didn’t a recent study of a working memory training program in the Netherlands show significant effects on ADHD?
It is generally accepted that when parents participate in their children’s education, their kids do better. Are there times when parent participation really matters? A randomized trial examining the effects of a parent engagement program on early learning and literacy may have some answers.
When we have a headache we reach for the painkillers: scientifically proven remedies that we know will make things better. So why do we not rush with the same speed to evidence-based remedies for social problems? What is it that gets in the way?
New research suggests that training parents referred to Child Protective Services to act more nurturing and less frightening can help children control their anger and sadness during challenging events.
Resources may be scarce and policy makers might have to make difficult decisions about what to buy. But a more rational strategy that invests early for later benefits would make sometimes nitpicking and frequently complicated comparisons between the value of one "flagship" prevention program and another irrelevant.
The family systems approach that underpins parenting programs such as Multisystemic Therapy, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and Functional Family Therapy may have a value in the treatment of juvenile sex offending, psychologists at the Medical University of South Carolina suggest.
Nick Axford explains the differences between English and Welsh approaches to implementing and evaluating Sure Start – and considers the lessons for the future.
Results of introducing an American parenting program to parts of Wales under the aegis of the well-established UK prevention initiative, Sure Start, have been so encouraging that they pose important challenges to makers of UK policy.
A popular program for helping children with language learning difficulties is found to have no impact and even detrimental effects in some cases.
Introduction of year-round schooling with shorter breaks to limit the damage holidays do to the education of poorer children has failed a test in Ohio. "Year-round calendars do not fix the problem of summer learning," the research team reports. "They simply sweep it under the rug of fall, winter, and spring."
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There is more to the international transfer of prevention programs than just hitting the “copy and paste” buttons. The introduction of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program to Ireland offers insights into how to succeed.
Few people working with children will have heard the term “prevention scientist,” let alone know what one is or does. Yet this relatively new breed of researcher is behind the growing list of evidence-based programs being promoted in western developed countries. A new publication puts them under the microscope.
Crime and antisocial behavior prevention efforts have flourished over the last 10 years in the US. This progress can and should be used to help communities improve the life chances of their young people, a recent update urges.
Given the well-known barriers to implementing evidence-based programs, is it better to identify their discrete elements and trust practitioners to combine them in tailored packages depending on the needs of the child and family in question?