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Maximising Resources for Servicing the Needs of Children Exhibiting Behaviour Problems in Primary School: The Shift from Withdrawal to Outreach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 October 2014

Alan Ralph*
Affiliation:
Murdoch University
Linda Strong
Affiliation:
Murdoch University
Kath Vaughan
Affiliation:
Coolbellup SPER Centre, Western Australia Ministry of Education
*
Department of Psychology and Sociology, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia

Abstract

Socio-psycho-educational resource (SPER) centres were first established in Western Australia in 1977 for the purpose of educating and managing primary school-aged children with severe behaviour problems. Each centre functioned as a separate unit located on the campus of a host primary school. Selected children were initially withdrawn from their regular schools to attend the SPER centre where they received a specialised program aimed at decreasing their problematic behaviour. The host school assisted re-entry of SPER centre children into the mainstream by providing part-time integration within its regular classes prior to eventual return to the regular school. In 1988 the Coolbellup SPER Centre began to replace this withdrawal service model with an outreach model. By 1991 the preferred method was to deliver intervention programs within a child's home school. Data revealed that the outreach model was able to service in excess of three times as many children each year as the withdrawal model, with only a minimal increase in teaching staff and with an associated reduction in the length of waiting lists. Post hoc evaluation of student records demonstrated high levels of success for the outreach model, based on teacher ratings of improvement in rule following, peer interactions, and overall school behaviour and performance. Other benefits of the outreach program are discussed.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 1996

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Maximising Resources for Servicing the Needs of Children Exhibiting Behaviour Problems in Primary School: The Shift from Withdrawal to Outreach
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