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Early intervention



Any remedial program aimed at preventing dysfunction, as opposed to remediation programs to correct dysfunction. A broad range of early intervention programs are available in education, of which Operation HEAD START may be the best known and most widely used. Developed in the mid- 1960s, Head Start gives economically and culturally deprived preschoolers the education needed for them to begin school on an equal footing with children who have not suffered such deprivations. Early intervention at the preschool level tends to decrease grade retention rates and the need for remedial services in primary and secondary school, while increasing high school graduation rates.
In 2000, the U.S. Department of Education released the results of a 25-year study that showed early intervention among disruptive preschoolers can reduce the need for special education when they enter school. Called the Regional Intervention Program (RIP), the government-subsidized program followed 40 families whose preschoolers had displayed extreme behavior problems, such as outbursts, temper tantrums, screaming and crying. RIP taught parents to monitor their children’s behavior, clarify their expectations for their children, give their children specific choices, reward good behavior and work closely and cooperatively with other childcare providers and teachers to teach their children self-control and ways to interact with others. Although the infants were not diagnosed for ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER or ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER, none developed either of these learning disabilities, and, indeed, after 25 years, all the children had completed high school, half had attended college and four were working on doctoral degrees. None had been placed in special education and only one had a juvenile justice offense—for smoking marijuana.
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