Prevention of problem behavior by teaching functional communication and self-control skills to preschoolers

Kevin C. Luczynski, Gregory P. Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We evaluated the effects of the preschool life skills program (PLS; Hanley, Heal, Tiger, & Ingvarsson, 2007) on the acquisition and maintenance of functional communication and self-control skills, as well as its effect on problem behavior, of small groups of preschoolers at risk for school failure. Six children were taught to request teacher attention, teacher assistance, and preferred materials, and to tolerate delays to and denial of those events during child-led, small-group activities. Teaching strategies included instruction, modeling, roleplay, and differential reinforcement. Six additional children randomly assigned to similarly sized control groups participated in small-group activities but did not experience the PLS program. Within-subject and between-groups designs showed that the PLS teaching procedures were functionally related to the improvements and maintenance of the skills and prevention of problem behavior. Stakeholder responses on a social acceptability questionnaire indicated that they were satisfied with the form of the targeted social skills, the improvements in the children's performance, and the teaching strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-368
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • delay tolerance
  • early child care
  • functional communication
  • maintenance
  • mands
  • preschool life skills
  • prevention
  • problem behavior
  • self-control
  • social skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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