Collaborative Home/School Interventions: Evidence-Based Solutions for Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Problems.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: McCloud, Cheryl
Pub Date: 06/01/2010
Publication: Name: Professional School Counseling Publisher: American School Counselor Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 American School Counselor Association ISSN: 1096-2409
Issue: Date: June, 2010 Source Volume: 13 Source Issue: 5
Topic: NamedWork: Collaborative Home/School Interventions: Evidence-Based Solutions for Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Problems (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Peacock, Gretchen Gimpel; Collett, Brent R.
Accession Number: 229067313
Full Text: Collaborative Home/School Interventions: Evidence-Based Solutions for Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Problems, by Gretchen Gimpel Peacock and Brent R. Collett, 2010, Guilford Press, New York, 207 pp., $32, ISBN: 978-1-6062-3345-0.

Books in the Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series address the complex academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of children and youth who are considered at risk. This series presents school-based practitioners with functional, research-based, and readily applicable tools to support students and encourage successful collaboration among teachers, families, and administrators. Each volume in the series includes step-by-step instructions for assessment and intervention, and lay-flat binding to facilitate photocopying of reproducibles.

Working collaboratively with parents to develop interventions to target children's emotional, behavioral, and academic problems is an important role for school-based clinicians. The need for evidence-based interventions becomes increasingly important as schools attempt to implement effective solutions and document responses to interventions (RTIs). Collaborative Home/School Interventions: Evidence-Based Solutions for Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Problems is a valuable contribution in helping school-based professionals involve parents as full partners in the assessment and intervention process. This book is intended as a resource for school psychologists and other school-based mental health professionals who would like to work collaboratively with parents in implementing evidence-based interventions for children and youth who are experiencing emotional, behavioral, or academic problems. Gretchen Gimpel Peacock, a professor of psychology, and Brent R. Collett, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, have outlined specific strategies that can be used to build and strengthen collaboration between school and parents. They also provide ways to overcome barriers and forms of resistance. The content of this book is congruent with its title and a major strength is the inclusion of abundant research and evidence-based solutions.

The book opens with a discussion of the importance of the collaboration process and potential barriers to collaboration. The authors are strong supporters of collaborative partnerships and provide a number of excellent resources for developing these relationships. They direct readers' attention to theoretical work and empirical research devoted to this topic (Christenson, 2004; Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Esler, Godber, & Christenson, 2008; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2008). Each chapter ends with a helpful and succinct summarization. Peacock and Collett creatively suggest the use of motivational interviewing to engage parents. They include a table and discussion of Prochaska's Stages of Change as Applied to Families, which provides understanding of the process from precontemplation to relapse. Examples of techniques practitioners can use when working with parents at each of the stages are additionally provided. These examples stress the importance of exchanging feedback regarding the progress of students and offer creative suggestions to maintain home-school communication.

A discussion of special education guidelines (the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act of 2004) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994), which classifies problem behaviors into different diagnostic categories, also is offered. Peacock and Collett suggest that school-based mental health professionals have a certain working knowledge of the DSM-IV even if they are not using DSM-IV diagnoses with children.

This book is presented in a logical and organized manner and information can easily be found. It concentrates on the treatment of behaviors in the broad categories of academic or learning problems, internalizing problems, and externalizing problems. The authors view these as the problems that will likely represent the most common cases that are seen by school-based mental health professionals. Academic problems cover a range of difficulties and require involvement of parents throughout the assessment and intervention process. Internalizing problems are identified as anxiety and depression and their subsequent manifestations of school refusal and absenteeism, somatic complaints such as stomachaches and headaches, impaired social function, and other depressive symptoms. Externalizing behaviors are identified as acting-out behaviors such as aggression, noncompliance, off-task behavior, inattention, hyperactivity, and defiance. The authors point out that children with anxiety or depression resist drawing attention to themselves. Therefore, in contrast to externalizing behaviors, internalizing symptoms may easily be overlooked by adults.

Readers are provided with an abundance of research-based interventions that could easily be used as resources for schools developing student support teams or as part of training for new school counselors, school psychologists, exceptional education teachers, and even new classroom teachers. Collaborative Home/School Interventions: Evidence-Based Solutions for Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Problems presents valuable information that counselor educators can apply in training future professional school counselors and offers a framework within which collaborative teams can be conceptualized. Although the term school-based mental health professional is used frequently, it is clear that school psychologists are the anticipated audience. The authors strongly advocate for a collaborative team approach, but unfortunately the school counselor's role is not specifically defined. Peacock and Collett recommend that school-based mental health practitioners advocate for school-based prevention programs, and they urge schools to collect their own outcome data to support the use of evidence-based strategies. Although the focus of the book is on the school psychologist, the professional school counselor will most likely be tasked with the significant quantity of implementation, data collection, observation, communication, monitoring, and follow-through with stakeholders.

Additional chapters provide evidence-based intervention strategies that can be used with parents, teachers, and students for externalizing, internalizing, and academic problems. The organization of these chapters is masterful. Each has an easy-to-read table describing specific interventions corresponding to the developmental levels within which the intervention is most effective. The authors then include a discussion of the proposed evidence-based interventions, which are strongly referenced and empirically supported. Each intervention is explained in detail and is accompanied by reproducible forms, suggestions for implementation, a summary, and a case vignette. The reproducible lessons could certainly become part of a pre-referral packet.

This book is perhaps equally balanced regarding strengths and limitations. While the strengths result from information that is included, the limitations are based on omissions. For example, the term school-based mental health professional is used frequently, yet the professional school counselor's role is not specifically acknowledged. Identifying and including the school counselor is warranted and would intensify support for this book, as school counselors are vital to the success of any behavioral intervention program. Further, this discrepancy leaves the reader wondering who in fact the school-based mental health professionals are if not the school counselors. Children who exhibit emotional, behavioral, externalizing, internalizing, or academic problems most probably have a personal relationship with the school counselor as these behaviors frequently necessitate prior counselor intervention. The school counselor likely has established a collaborative relationship with the child, teacher, and parent. School counselors may not fully appreciate the references to evidence-based interventions with the same level of enthusiasm as administrators, researchers, and school psychologists as they are usually the more hands-on practitioners who "know" the child. Nevertheless, the school counselors' contribution is invaluable and needs to be identified.

Although the authors present an array of support in favor of evidence-based interventions, they omit a discussion of response to intervention. RTI, a multilevel prevention system, seeks to prevent academic failure through early intervention, monitoring of progress, and increasingly rigorous research-based instructional interventions. Assessment, instruction, and parental involvement are essential components of RTI programs that strive to maximize student achievement and reduce behavior problems. The concept of RTI is consistent with the purpose of this book; therefore inclusion is merited.

The authors emphasize the importance of including parents and especially fathers in the collaboration process. Absent is a mention of the children of military service members or the special and unique needs and challenges of this population. When implementation of school-wide programs is discussed, these children often go unnoticed as their internalized anxiety and depressive behaviors may not be disruptive. Frequently children of military service members exhibit significant behavioral changes throughout the stages of deployment. Generally the school counselor and teacher are closely involved with these students and can facilitate appropriate strategies for engaging parents and keeping them connected.

The authors do not provide a discussion of multicultural issues or how to adapt interventions to diverse populations who may need extra encouragement to collaborate with school personnel. For example, the authors apply the word "problem" to performance, and interventions are referred to as "treatment." A positive reframe could be "behaviors" or "challenges" rather than problems. Perhaps interventions for externalizing behaviors could be used in place of interventions for externalizing problems. Inclusive language facilitates parental involvement and this terminology may be off-putting to the very parents schools are trying to engage.

Although the authors fall short of identifying the immense contribution and responsibility that is shared by school counselors, Collaborative Home/ School Interventions: Evidence-Based Solutions for Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Problems could nonetheless be useful in school counselor training programs. With the exception of the identified limitations, as a resource, this book does an excellent job facilitating understanding of the collaborative intervention process and the need for all stakeholders to participate. Interventions are strongly supported by research and are presented in easy-to-read table format and subsequently spelled out in detail throughout the chapters. Comprehensive examples of proposed intervention forms can be copied and used as part of pre-referral or RTI intervention packets. The evidence-based interventions provide a unique and functional aspect of this book.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Christenson, S. L. (2004).The family-school partnership: An opportunity to promote the learning competence of all students. School Psychology Review, 33, 83-104.

Christenson, S. L., & Sheridan, S. M. (2001). Schools and families: Creating essential connections for learning. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Esler, A. N., Godber, Y., & Christenson, S. L. (2008). Best practices in supporting school-family partnerships. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology-V (pp. 917-936). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Sheridan, S. M., & Kratochwill, T. R. (2008). Conjoint behavioral consultation: Promoting family-school connections and interventions (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Cheryl McCloud is a doctoral student in counselor education at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. She can be reached via e-mail at cmccloud@mail.ucf.edu.
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