A Synthesis of Knowledge Relevant to Pathways of Service Delivery for Young Children with or at Risk of Challenging Behavior


The serious consequences of challenging behaviors in young children have become an increasing concern of caregivers. Without intervention, the presence of challenging behaviors in young children is associated with unfavorable outcomes in school and later life. This paper describes a synthesis of the existing knowledge related to the processes of identification and access to services for children with challenging behaviors and their families. A variety of data sources were examined to extract findings relevant to national initiatives. Findings are presented as a description of the existing federal programs and funding streams that provide pathways to services and associated mandates relating to cross-system convergence, along with the limited empirical data related to their implementation, utilization, and effectiveness. Service pathways for identification and referral were found to be fragmented with less than complete implementation of many mandates, largely unaccompanied by utilization and evaluation data. These gaps are described and recommendations are offered to guide research for addressing the paucity of systems information for this important group of children.


Journal of Early Intervention


  • Dean Fixsen
  • Lise Fox
  • D. Powell
  • B. Smith

Prevention Levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary

System Impacts

  • Classroom Level
  • Targeted Groups
  • Whole School


  • Early Childhood
  • Systems