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How to Recognize Difficult Behaviors

Preschool teachers and child care providers are in a very good position to recognize difficult behaviors. Play is one of the most important activities of childhood.  Patterns of play and interaction with peers are areas in which difficulties in attention, activity, and impulse control can be expressed.  The teacher’s factual observations of a child’s play are an important contribution to the assessment process.  Some pertinent documentations of a child’s activity may include the following:

  • Moving from one activity to another with very little sustained involvement.   
  • Frequent need for teacher redirection and verbal warnings of punishment.   
  • Disorganized, nonconstructive, and non-goal-directed play activity.   
  • Difficulty sharing with peers and being able to wait for turn.   
  • Mood swings and behavioral outbursts. 

*Diagnosis of a preschool child is more difficult to establish because behavior like hyperactivity can be typical of two- to five-year-old children and behavior changes rapidly during this developmental period.

*Many children who have behavioral problems also have learning difficulties or delays in their development.

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