Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



Kuhn, M. (2014). A mixed methods approach to examining the Getting Ready intervention for supporting young children with challenging behaviors (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Special Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Christine A. Marvin. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Miriam E. Kuhn


Families and preschool teachers of children with persistent challenging behaviors are taxed daily by difficulties presented in care and management of such children in their homes and early education settings. This study utilized a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach in three phases to better understand a collaborative partnership model of intervention, Getting Ready (Sheridan, Marvin, Knoche, & Edwards, 2008), for supporting preschoolers with challenging behaviors attending Head Start or state-funded pre-kindergarten programs. Preschool teachers received professional development and individual coaching to help them improve partnerships and collaboratively plan with parents to promote children’s growth, and enhance parent-child interactions.

In Phase 1, archival quantitative data for 19 children with challenging behaviors were analyzed for (1) relationships between teachers’ reports of problem behaviors and other child, parent, and teacher variables prior to beginning the intervention; and (2) change in 10 measures of child development/behavior, parent involvement in their children’s education, parent-teacher and teacher-student relationships after one year of preschool augmented by the Getting Ready intervention. In Phase 2, archival documents and audio-recordings from parent-professional team meetings, as well as newly collected data from interviews with parents, teachers, and early intervention coaches for four children from Phase 1 were qualitatively analyzed. Synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data in Phase 3 provided a rich description of children’s significant gains in expressive language skills and functional improvements at home and/or school despite some persistent difficulties with challenging behaviors, executive functioning, and social skills. In addition, participants described their engagement in, commitment to, and satisfaction with parent-professional partnerships, as well as frustration with some children’s persistent challenging behaviors, program limitations regarding the number of team meetings throughout the year, and some inconsistent efforts by adults in implementing strategies for children’s positive behaviors. Phase 3 highlighted promising implications for early identification of young children with challenging behaviors, the types and dosage of interventions for them, as well as training topics for teachers working with this population of children.

Adviser: Christine A. Marvin