Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions about the Incredible Years Programs
1. Who do the Incredible Years programs serve? What is the right program for my agency?
The Incredible Years offers a variety of group based programs that can be broken up into three main categories: programs serving parents, programs serving children, and programs serving teachers. Within each category, there may be more than one program for individual sale, and depending on the populations your agency anticipates serving, you may want to implement one or more of the programs. Please see the information below to begin determining which programs are the right match for your agency and the population you serve.
• Incredible Years Baby and BASIC Toddler programs are sold as a unit and are designed for use with parents of children ages 0-2 years. The baby program is a specific protocol for parents and babies ages 0-12 months, and the toddler program covers protocols for parents of toddlers 1-2 years. The Baby program is the only parent program that includes the children in the parent group time.
• Incredible Years Preschool BASIC program is used with parents of children ages 3-6 years old.
• Incredible Years School Age BASIC serves parents of children 6-12 years old. There is a 6-8 year old protocol and a 9-12 year protocol.
• Incredible Years School Readiness program is for use with parents of pre-schoolers ages 3-5 years.
• Advanced program may be offered to parents of children ages 4-12 years old who have already participated in a BASIC series parent group (either the preschool or school age Basic).
• The Dina Dinosaur Classroom Prevention Curriculum is designed for use by teachers and other adults working with students or other groups of children ranging from age 3 to 8 years old. There are two versions of the program which are sold separately. The preschool teacher protocol includes level one (preschool) and level two (kindergarten) lesson plans. The primary grade protocol includes level two (kindergarten or grade one) and level three (grade one or two.)
• Small Group Therapy Dina Treatment Program is formulated for use by therapists working with children ages 4-8 years with diagnoses.
• The Teacher Classroom Management Curriculum is designed to train teachers working with students ages 3-8 years. See a complete description of the goals and objectives of each program under the research section.
2. Are these programs culturally sensitive?
All of these programs have been delivered to multi-cultural groups in USA, Canada, and UK. Data is available on the web site Data showing comparable results and positive outcomes with Asian, Hispanic, African-American and Caucasian groups can be found on our website. The programs have also been evaluated by researchers working with Maori tribes in New Zealand, and Korean and Native Americans in USA. Additionally, these programs have now been delivered in many countries including Russia, Turkey, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Holland. These programs are designed to promote cultural diversity and to be delivered in a collaborative way with parents and teachers using a focus on helping participants achieve their own goals, which will be specific to themselves and their own culture. An article describing ways the programs can be delivered with cultural relevance may be found on the web site.
3. What research evidence is there for these programs?
Over the past 25 years, numerous randomized control group studies have been conducted on all of these programs both by the developer and also by independent researchers in several different countries. These studies can be obtained in our Knowledge Library. Of note, is a recent publication showing a 10-year follow up of families of children with conduct problems who were treated with the parent program. Two-thirds of the children were in the normal range on standardized measures and none were in jail or detention. 23% had engaged in major delinquent acts, 46% reported some drug use, and 18% had some criminal justice involvement. Factors predicting negative outcomes in adolescence (delinquent acts) were immediate post treatment levels of observed mother-child coercion. This suggests continuing treatment until coercion is reduced sufficiently.
4. Who can deliver these programs? What kind of educational background is needed?
Please see this progression document on the background required for the various levels of program delivery and training. Training progression for certification.
Group leaders of the Parenting Training programs and the Small Group Therapy Dinosaur Treatment program may come from a variety of helping professions such as social work, psychology, nursing, medicine and education. It is required that they have taken a course in child development and it is recommended that they have had training in social learning theory. We also recommend that at least one of the two leaders running a group have a Masters degree or higher. We recommend this in order to ensure that group leaders will have the background needed to identify when children or parents need additional services. Moreover, group leaders with a masters level education and higher will be more likely to have the therapeutic skills needed to manage parents and children with mental health problems.
For the Teacher Classroom Management training program, the group leaders may be experienced teachers, school psychologists, principals, or social workers and nurses with school-related experience. We have found that group leaders who become certified in the parent program are often good candidates for leading teacher groups. Since it is recommended that TCM workshops be facilitated by two leaders, an ideal combination might be a leader who is a school psychologist alongside a leader who is a teacher or principal.
The Classroom Dinosaur treatment program is delivered by preschool or primary school teachers possessing a bachelor’s degree at minimum.
The certification process for group leaders working with any of the IY programs requires submission of session or lesson protocols, evaluations and DVDs for review, plus additional paperwork to support the application. The emphasis on the DVD review of group leader’s program sessions assures that the quality of program delivery is measured by observations of their performance. In other words, the certification is based on competent skills, rather than educational background per se.
NOTE: For progression from certified group leader to coach and mentor status, the group leader must possess a masters degree or higher.
Please see our website for more information: Group Leader Certification Process
Questions About Training
1. What kinds of training are there?
BASIC 3-day Training The 3-day BASIC parent training program equips group leaders to lead 3 different protocols including the Toddler, Preschool, and early portion of the School Age parent programs (for parents of children ages 6-8 years old).
School Age BASIC 3-day Training - A 3-day SCHOOL AGE BASIC training is also available. This workshop trains group leaders in implementation of both the early school age protocol (6-8 years) and the preadolescent protocol (9-12 years).
School Age Add-on Training Day - A 1-day add-on training day is available for leaders who have already received the BASIC parent training and are seeking training in the preadolescent protocol of the School Age program (for parents of children ages 9-12 years old)
Baby 2-day Training - This 2-day is for group leaders seeking training in the Baby program.
ADVANCED 2-day Training - The ADVANCED training is 2-days and is offered once group leaders have become comfortable with the BASIC program methods. Participants in this workshop have ideally completed the accreditation/certification process for the BASIC programs.
Teacher or Therapist Programs
Teacher Classroom Management 3-day Training - This 3-day workshop trains group leaders to deliver the TCM curriculum to teachers. (The group leaders then deliver the curriculum to the teachers throughout 6 full day monthly workshops.)
Classroom Dina 3-day Training - This 3-day training equips teachers to implement the Dina Dinosaur Prevention Curriculum in the classroom to all students 3-8 years old.
Small Group Dina 3-day Training - The Small Group Dina training is for therapists and counselors seeking training in implementing the Small Group Therapy treatment version of the Dina Dinosaur curriculum for children ages 4–8 years with behavior problems.
2. Is training required before running a parent or child group?
Training is not required, but is highly recommended. Many people find that they are able to deliver the program more effectively if they have the training first. In general, the training and certification/accreditation process helps leaders provide fidelity to the program and achieve the evidence shown in the numerous research studies conducted on the programs. Moreover, training by a certified mentor or trainer is the first required step if you plan to become certified/accredited as a group leader. What’s more, if you hope to conduct any research projects using The Incredible Years programs, group leader certification is required.
3. When/where will there be authorized training for Incredible Years programs? What is the cost?
Seattle Workshops - Parent, teacher and child program workshops are offered regularly in Seattle, and upon request elsewhere in North America and the world. Check out our current list of workshops for our current listings.
The prices for training depend on which training program you attend, and where it is offered. In Seattle, a 3-day (21 hours) parent, teacher or child training is $400, 2-day trainings (Baby, Advance) are $300, and a single day update or consultation day is $175. Transportation, hotel, and per diem are the responsibility of the participants. Seattle parent workshops are scheduled 5-6 times a year and the child and teacher workshops are scheduled according to interest. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in a particular training.
Workshops Elsewhere - If an agency wants at least 15 of their clinicians to be trained, they may contract with us to host a workshop at their site. In the event that these contracting agencies have additional spaces for participants outside of their own staff, the price of attending the workshop will be determined by that hosting agency. They are not permitted to have more than 25 participants in a training workshop in order to allow for everyone to actively participate and interact with each other and the trainer. Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like to be notified in the event that a training spot becomes available in your geographic area. If you are scheduling a training at your own agency, please do so 6-9 months in advance. Please click our workshop page on the left side menu on this page for more details.
4. How can I schedule a trainer to come to my site? How much will it cost?
If you have at least 15 people seeking training in your agency, it is generally more cost effective to contract with us to send a trainer to your site. Please, send us an e-mail with an official request for the type of training you are pursuing. While we will try to accommodate your desired dates, please understand that our training schedule fills up quickly. Most training dates need to be arranged at least 6 to 9 months ahead of time, so please be sure to plan in advance. The cost to have a trainer at your site is $1,500 - $2000 per day, depending on your location or which trainer or mentor is sent, plus the trainer's airfare, lodging, travel, and meals. Please see our workshop page on the left side menu and Hosting A Workshop page for more details.
5. What do I do if I can’t find a training soon? Can the manuals be used effectively for self-study?
If you are waiting to attend a workshop, it is highly recommended that you begin the self-study protocol to learn this program. This self-study involves reviewing the leader’s manual for whichever program you are learning, parent or teacher book and the DVD vignettes you will be showing the parents or children. You are also encouraged to watch the "experts in action" DVDs which show some of our best certified group leaders and trainers delivering the program. You can find this self-study protocol in our implementation section. Doing this self-study before attending the training will allow you to get more from the workshop itself because you will already have a handle on the specific areas you have questions about. In some cases, where practitioners have had a lot of prior experiences with group work, they may pilot the program before attending the training workshop. Regardless of experience, we find that the workshops help prepare all levels of group leaders in delivering the IY program, because of the highly experiential nature of the trainings. The learning strategies used during the workshops model the group delivery processes and methods that participants will use when delivering the program to their own groups. While the content of the IY programs is described with detail in the manuals and books, the therapeutic process of delivery is hard to gain from the manual without this experiential component.
6. Do you have a train the trainer model? I have attended your trainings for leading parent, teacher and child groups, would it be acceptable for me to train others in my agency in this program?
We do not have a traditional train the trainer model. Authorized training in the IY programs may only be offered by certified mentors or trainers. Mentors and trainers are first certified as group leaders in a particular program and have had extensive personal experience delivering the program first hand. After certification they have completed rigorous additional training in coaching, supervision and workshop delivery skills. They have been certified/accredited by the Incredible Years as “mentors” to offer authorized group leader trainings. The Incredible Years recommends that agencies plan for development of both coaches and mentors in-house as a method for future sustainability of their programs and ongoing support and training when there is turn over of staff.
It is recommended that there are 2 leaders for each parent or child group or teacher workshop, and that agencies train a minimum of 2 leaders in the program they plan to implement. In order to interest others and help familiarize them with the program, trained group leaders may invite other people in their agency to shadow them as they deliver the program, however, it must be made clear that this is not a substitute for an authorized training. Moreover, if a group leader hopes to be eligible for 'certification' in one of the Incredible Years programs (which we highly recommend) they first must receive training from a certified mentor or trainer. If a group leader is interested in teaching others at their agency to use the program, we suggest they begin by pursuing their own group leader certification in order to gain eligibility to apply for coach and mentor status. All the requirements for group leader certification and for coach and mentor status can be found in the certification section of this website.
7. What is involved in a consultation day? How do I schedule one?
Separate consultation days are designed for therapists and group leaders who have already received a 3-day "authorized training" in the parent, teacher or child program and have conducted at least one parent and child group or set of teacher training workshops. Consultation day participants are asked to bring a DVD recording of one of their parent, teacher or child group sessions. Participants select a short segment for presentation in order to demonstrate both video clips they feel will benefit others, as well as ones to present for feedback on aspects of group dynamics they found difficult to manage. Participants showing these DVDs have the opportunity to receive feedback and supervision on group therapy or their workshop delivery issues, particular family dynamics or specific child developmental, behavioral or learning issues they have encountered in their groups. Participants partake in role-play practices, buzzes and problem solving discussions as they view video clips together.
Once an agency has hosted their first training workshop, it is advisable to schedule a follow-up consultancy day with an accredited IY mentor or trainer within a year. These workshops help group leaders continue their peer supervision and provide the support needed to complete their certification process. The IY mentor or trainer gives detailed feedback and direction regarding specific issues relevant to participants. You may submit a request to schedule a consultation day specific to the Incredible Years Program you are implementing by emailing us. Remember to plan ahead, as our training schedule fills up quickly. Consultation days are also offered in Seattle and are scheduled by interest. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in a particular consultation day.
8. Is there any training available in Australia by certified trainers?
There is currently one certified mentor in Australia who only delivers workshops in a very specified geographic area. IY trainers from Seattle may be contracted to do workshops in Australia or interested leaders are welcome to attend trainings in Seattle. Please see our workshop page for more details.
9. Is there any training available in United Kingdom by certified mentors or trainers?
Yes, training programs (particularly in the parent programs) are regularly offered by certified mentors throughout UK. There are currently 17 certified/accredited mentors and 91 accredited group leaders in UK. Mentors are able to train and provide coaching to other group leaders within their defined district. UK is currently developing a number of IY coaches within individual agencies. Coaches are experienced group leaders who have been certified/accredited in the program who provide individual support to new group leaders within their agencies. They have received additional training in the coaching process. They do not offer authorized workshops but can be very helpful in assisting group leaders to become certified. See a complete list of our certified mentors & trainers.
10. What other countries have accredited mentors or trainers?
Norway has 14 accredited mentor trainers, Denmark has 2, Canada has 3, USA has 16, Wales has 3, and New Zealand has 3. A few other countries have certified group leaders moving towards coach status with the plans to develop mentors. These countries include Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Finland.
Questions About the Program Materials
1. What materials do I need to purchase before beginning my group?
Each program includes a set of basic materials specific to the program. To see what is included when you order a particular program please see our Parenting Series Materials, Child Series Materials and Teacher Series Materials. Supplementary books and magnets are the most common additions to the program packages. Magnets serve as economical and fun prizes for each parent or child to hold weekly refrigerator notes or homework assignments, and as described in question two, we highly recommend providing books to each parent in your group. In addition to the materials included in the program packages we also have a number of helpful resources that can be purchased separately. Please see our parent programs supplemental materials and our child and teacher programs supplemental materials.
2. Should we provide the parents or teachers in our group with copies of the book? How many copies of the book are included in the program materials and how do we purchase more?
As there are homework and reading assignments in the book, it is strongly recommended that each parent be provided with a book while they are enrolled in a parent group. If your agency is unable to provide parents with books free of charge you may ask parents to buy them from you, or return them at the conclusion of the group. The first ten chapters of "The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 2 – 8” is available in Spanish, as well as on audio book in both English and Spanish. Each program set includes a basic set of materials including one copy of the corresponding book (parent programs receive "The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 2 – 8” while child and teacher programs receive "How to Promote Children's Social and Emotional Competence.") The Preschool Basic Program and the Small Group and Classroom Dinosaur curriculums also receive one set of four Wally's Detective books. For a complete list of all the materials included in each program, please see the Parent Series Materials, Child Series Materials and Teachers Series Materials pages on this website. (Use the left side menu on this page and look under "Parenting Programs", "Child Programs", "Teacher Programs".) Additional copies of the books are available for purchase, and the parent books may receive bulk order discounts. Please see the price sheet-order form.
3. Are the parent "homework" assignments and the refrigerator notes reproducible?
Yes, if you have purchased the basic set of materials. We provide you with a starter set of 25 copies in the form of tear off pads. After your first group, leaders may use the masters provided in the leader's guide to make copies for subsequent groups. You may also access the masters on the Resources for Parent Programs page of our website. Please note that these are copyrighted materials, solely for use with your program delivery and not for publication elsewhere.
4. Can we get extra copies of the Facilitator/Leader/Teacher manual?
Each curriculum comes with one leader's manual. If you would like a second copy of the manual, you may purchase one by writing in your request on our price sheet-order form. Manuals may only be purchased if the program DVDs have been purchased.
Questions about Ordering the Programs
1. How can we preview the programs?
For a small fee covering shipping and handling we can send you a preview DVD for either the parent, child or teacher programs. Simply fill out the price sheet-order form section that reads "Program Previews" and indicate which programs you would like to preview.
2. How long does it take to receive the materials?
Shipment of materials usually occurs 7 to 10 business days from the day we receive your order. Your receipt of the materials depends on your location. We ship via UPS; please see their website for estimated times in transit. Generally, shipments to areas closest to the West Coast of the U.S. will take 1 to 3 days, and shipments to the East Coast will take 5 to 7 days in transit. Overseas shipments are made by airmail and typically require 7 to 14 days in transit. Our handmade child puppets are frequently on backorder; please plan ahead when ordering puppets.
3. What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept payment by check for prepaid orders, or we can invoice you with an institutional purchase order number, with terms being "payment due upon receipt." Subsequent payments should be made by checks made out to the Incredible Years Inc. All payments should be in US Dollars. International customers may also make payments by wire transfer. Please email for details. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to process credit cards at this time.
4. What are the shipping costs?
Shipping charges vary according to the total price of your order. There is a shipping chart at the end of the PDF price list/order. Please note that shipping costs for orders that include bulk books will be priced separately. Due to the extra weight of books, an additional shipping charge will be added to your invoice according to the quantity. Please contact us if you require an exact quote. If you are ordering from overseas or Canada, there will be an extra tax charged to you by the government upon delivery, for your country’s customs charges.
5. Can the Incredible Years programs be purchased elsewhere? Are there any distributors in United Kingdom?
Incredible Years programs and all other support materials may only be purchased from the Incredible Years Inc. in Seattle. There are currently no plans to move sales to any other distributor.
6. Am I qualified for a discount? How can I get the best deal?
We offer a number of discounts when you order bulk books, designated packages of multiple programs, or several copies of the same program. At this time we offer bulk discounts only on “The Incredible Years: A guide for Parents of Children Ages 2-8 Years.” Please contact us for details on discounting. Please note that bulk books and multiple program packages are discounted by individual order and will be reflected on the particular order’s invoice. Discounts on multiple copies of the same program are cumulative for numerous orders placed over time within your agency. Our office will keep record of your agency’s purchases and automatically include these discounts on your invoice when applicable.
Questions About Delivering these Programs to Families
1. How should we address childcare while parents are attending a group meeting? Do you separate children according to their ages?
Providing childcare during parent groups is fundamental to assuring parental attendance and the success of parents in completing the program. It is important to offer high quality childcare and for your childcare providers to model the skills leaders are teaching the parents during groups. We recommend training your childcare providers with the same DVDs that group leaders show during the parent sessions. If the group is for parents of children ages 4-8 years old, we suggest combining those age groups for childcare. If there will be siblings attending as well, especially if they include infants, you will need a much higher ratio of supervision. Often in schools, teachers will agree to provide childcare. In some schools we have had parents who participated in our parent training groups during a previous year help with the child care in a subsequent year.
It is recommended that the Dinosaur Curriculum eventually be integrated into the childcare provided during parent groups, especially if this is a treatment model. IY research has shown that the addition of the Dina Dinosaur Small Group Therapy Treatment program alongside an IY Parent Program contributes to enhanced outcomes for children, including improved peer social skills, problem-solving and classroom behavior. It is therefore advisable to simultaneously offer the Dina Small Group Therapy Intervention program if the children of the attending parents are experiencing difficulties at school as well as a home. Ideally teachers of such children will also receive the IY Teacher Classroom Management program.
2. What are the differences between the prevention intervention and the treatment model?
There are two models and delivery protocols for parent programs: indicated and selective prevention and treatment. Generally the prevention model is shorter than the treatment model. The prevention model for the Preschool BASIC parent program recommends a minimum duration of 14 weeks and has been researched with high risk, socioeconomically disadvantaged families. It is not recommended that the Preschool BASIC or School Age BASIC prevention programs be offered in less than 14 sessions for the prevention model. Groups with translators usually require at least 18 sessions to complete the prevention version.
The School Readiness program was designed as a universal intervention for non high risk populations. It takes 4-6 weeks to complete and can be offered by teachers to parents in schools. This program is currently undergoing evaluation but there is no research at present to determine its effectiveness.
The treatment models of the Preschool and School Age BASIC programs vary from 18-24 sessions and often include the Advanced Program giving attention to family interpersonal issues, anger and depression management, communication skills and adult problem solving. Additionally, there are protocols for recommended DVD vignettes for children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder or ADHD.
There is a universal classroom prevention model which includes teacher classroom management training as well as delivery of the Classroom Dinosaur Curriculum. It is recommended that preschool and Head Start teachers complete the teacher classroom management program before doing the Dinosaur Classroom Curriculum.
For the treatment model, it is recommended that the child small group model and the teacher classroom management programs are combined along side the parent program for the most sustainable outcomes. Please see the Pyramid on the web site that shows how to choose your program according to the degree of risk of the population you are addressing.
3. Can we take referrals? How should we advertise and recruit for our groups?
If you are offering the program as a prevention program in a school setting, we recommend that you develop a brochure newsletter and/or a poster that explains the objectives of the programs, who can participate and how families can sign up for it. In a clinic setting a brochure explaining the programs, cost, and admission criteria will be helpful. You may use the information and sample brochures and invitations (Resources for Parenting Program) from our website in developing your own materials to distribute among your target group. If you would like to include any of our graphics please contact us for approval. We do not recommend listing our website on parent recruitment materials.
Please direct interested parents to our Just for Parents section for resources targeted toward parents.
4. I am trained in more than one parent program; is it acceptable to combine parents of children of different ages in the same group?
It is important that groups are not comprised of parents of children ages ranging from 0-12 years. Separate groups should be recruited for the baby program (babies 6 months or younger at first meeting), toddler program (ages 1-2 years), preschool program (3-6 years), early school age (6-8 years) and preadolescence (9-12 years). Each of these programs focuses on the major developmental tasks of these specific age groups and helps parents learn about normal development and to have age appropriate expectations and discipline strategies. While families will have other children of different ages and group leaders will help them learn strategies for these children as well, the main focus of the training is on one specified age range. Combining strategies for older children with younger children can be confusing for parents and they may start to mix up strategies in developmentally inappropriate ways. In order to assure the soundest learning, it strongly recommended that the training remain more focused on one developmental age and not become too complex.
5. What kinds of families do you accept into parent groups? Do you disqualify parents with mental health problems?
We do not disqualify parents with mental health problems. In fact many parents with children with behavior problems are experiencing depression, stress, isolation and marital conflict. Research on this program indicates that treatment outcomes show reduced stress levels and depression and improved confidence and marital satisfaction. For families with drug abuse problems or severe depression it is recommended they also receive treatment for this problem in addition to their parenting intervention.
We select families for specific groups primarily on the age of the target child. This means that all families have a child in the age range that is appropriate for the program being shown, i.e., those with toddlers are in the toddler group, or those with 9-12 year olds are in the presadolescent group. Children in the treatment or prevention programs may have a variety of problems including depression, anxiety, aggression, phobias, and developmental delays. Research with this program has shown significant improvements in internalizing problems as well as externalizing problems.
6. What kinds of children do you accept in to child small group treatment groups? Do you disqualify children who have depression and/or internalizing problems?
Children with both externalizing and internalizing problems are included in these small groups together. In fact, most children with behavior problems are comorbid for several disorders. About 50% of children with conduct problems will also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), 30% will have depression symptoms and many will have Attachment Disorder. About 1/3 of children with ADHD will also have language and developmental delays. When comprising a group try to do the following:
1. Keep your group to no more than 6 children.
2. Have at least 2 girls in every group. There are usually 3-4 boys for every girl in the 3-8 year age range.
3. Mix children with different ages; remember it is not chronological age that is important but developmental level. It is a good idea to try to have 2-3 children developmental ages 6-8 and 2-3 children 4-5 years. Children with more language skills will help model this for younger children or children with language delays.
4. Mix children with different diagnoses. It is prudent not to have a group of 6 children with ADHD together if possible. It is helpful to have some less active children who can serve as models for waiting and
5. If feasible in a school setting, include in the break out groups a few children who are leaders, popular and have good social skills. These children can act as coaches and help model and demonstrate appropriate behaviors for the other children. Often they form friendships with these children which helps change their reputation in the classroom.
7. In a mental health setting, how is parent screening done to determine who may qualify to be a member of a specific program?
We recommend the program to parents and/or children (ages 0-12 years) if their children meet the DSM IV criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or fall in the borderline or clinical range for behavior problems on standardized measures such as the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist or the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Otherwise, we have very few exclusion criteria, beyond the limiting groups to parents of children in similar developmental stages and ages as discussed above. (Information about assessment tools may be found in our research papers.) We also offer the parent and child program to parents referred by child welfare services for child abuse and neglect. We combine single parents, couples, mothers, fathers and parents of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, as well as mandated and volunteer families in the same groups to provide a rich mix of perspectives on parenting.
It is recommended that an extensive parent interview be conducted in the clinic or, for high-risk parents, in the home. These interviews help group leaders gain information about parents' parenting perspectives, childhood experiences, current family stressors (e.g., depression, marital stress, family issues,) as well as their approaches to managing their child's problems to date. These interviews in turn establish a one-to-one relationship prior to starting the group and aid group leaders in understanding parents' needs and goals. From these interviews clinicians may become aware of potential barriers to parents attending groups such as lack of transportation, childcare needs, unsupportive partners and so forth. Moreover, this first home interview will likely contribute to parental attendance of the first sessions.
8. How can we implement the Incredible Years in a school setting? In this setting how do we conduct parent screening and determine who will qualify to become a member of the group?
How can we implement the Incredible Years in a school setting? In this setting how do we conduct parent screening and determine who will qualify to become a member of the group? We have adapted the Small Group Dinosaur Treatment Curriculum for use as a prevention program in the classroom with all children. This Classroom Dina prevention program is delivered 2-3 times a week during a 15-20 minute circle time followed by a 20-minute small group (6-8 per group) practice activity. There are more than 60 lesson plans, as well as lessons spanning a second year of delivery of the program.
If resources permit we recommend that the parent program be offered to all parents in a school setting in order not to stigmatize parents with children who are more difficult to manage. This builds a supportive school community where parents understand one another’s situations and learn to help each other. Prior to starting groups, a brief assessment of the child's social competence can be completed by each child's teacher and parents using a standardized measure (with normative data). These assessments can be repeated at the conclusion of the group so that leaders, teachers, and parents can see their improvements.
If resources prohibit a universal intervention, parents and children may be selected for the parent and/or child groups based on teacher and parent reports using standardized measures as well as by targeting those children who exhibit externalizing and internalizing behavior in the borderline and clinical range. The "pull out" small group treatment version of the Dinosaur Curriculum can be offered in the school by 2 school counselors and is typically offered twice a week for 1 hour with groups of 4-6 children. We also recommend that groups include children who are highly competent who can befriend struggling children and help model some of the desired social skills.
University of Washington Parenting Clinic website. Read more about the tools we use at the Parenting Clinic to do screening.
9. Dosage - Is it permissible to condense the Basic parent program down to 10 weeks? Is it possible to reduce the child Dinosaur group to the same 10-12 week period of time?
It is not possible to reduce the core baseline dosage of intervention without compromising the fidelity of the program delivery and its effectiveness. This would be akin to reducing your doctor’s prescription of ampicillin for your ear infection to half the dose. It takes 14-16 weeks to complete the Preschool BASIC prevention parent program, and even longer if one is working with high-risk families, child welfare referred families or those parents with diagnosed children. The delivery of the program in 10 weeks was evaluated in earlier studies during the 80’s and it was found that the content of the program could not be completed, nor was there time for parent practices, a key to learning new ways of interacting. Parents have consistently evaluated the program as not being long enough. What’s more, when using a 10-week model of the program there is a danger of concluding with the Time Out section and having insufficient time to discuss other discipline approaches and the integration of all the strategies that have been learned over the sessions. This final integration is important for parents to understand how to determine which parenting strategy is appropriate for particular behavior problems. A recent comparison of the 10-week program with the 20-week program showed that the effect sizes were significantly greater for the longer program and that the 20-week program also had significantly improved outcomes in child problem solving and consumer satisfaction evaluations.
It is also interesting to note that one of our treatment studies showed that the combination of the ADVANCED and the BASIC program into a 22-24-week parent intervention was more effective for parents than the BASIC program alone. The broader focus including communication, problem-solving, anger and depression management resulted in significantly improved outcomes for children in terms of problem-solving skills.
For children with conduct problems the Dinosaur program has only been evaluated using the 18 - 22 session model. We do not recommend any fewer than 18-20 weekly sessions because there is no evidence regarding the effectiveness of a shorter program. In another treatment study we compared the 20-22 week parent program with the combined parent plus child program and found that adding the child component significantly improved outcomes in terms of child peer interactions and classroom behaviors compared with parent only condition.
In summary, in order to bring about sustained change in parent interactions, it is necessary to have time for parents to new learn concepts about child development, to practice new behaviors and get feedback, and to develop trusting relationships with other families and group leaders. This change will be particularly difficult for those parents who are trying to parent differently from the way they were parented. In order to prevent the intergenerational transmission of child abuse and neglect it is necessary to provide parents with substantial support, adequate scaffolding and sufficient time to solidify their new thoughts, behaviors and feelings. What’s more, it is likely that this parental support and structure will be required throughout all their children’s major developmental phases. Please read the Fidelity Delivery of the Incredible Years Programs FAQ for more information
10. What is the difference between the updated programs and the old programs?
Currently our revised and updated Preschool and School Age BASIC programs include new topics on academic, persistence, social and emotional coaching as well as new content regarding predictability of daily routines and schedules for children and important developmental tasks of a particular age group. The Preschool BASIC program has substantial new content related to developmental tasks including ways to separate from children when leaving them at day care, home safety proofing and monitoring, ways to teach children to problem-solve, self-regulate and develop emotional literacy.
The School Age BASIC program has additional content related to household chores, rules regarding computer use and drugs, after school monitoring and homework coaching. In addition to new content, there are also new vignettes showing a greater diversity of families representing different cultural backgrounds and children with varying temperaments and developmental issues.
The Toddler program has been separated from the Preschool BASIC program in order to emphasize specific developmental tasks for this age range and home toddler-proofing, ways to promote Preschool Readiness and language skills and also to remove content in the Preschool program that are inappropriate for this age range (e.g., incentives, time-out and problem solving). Again, added multicultural vignettes are provided and new activities for toddlers include less costly every day items such as kitchen utensils, pots and pans, water and rocks.
11. The old prevention program worked with 12 weeks to complete with good results, why do I have to offer 2 more weeks with the updated prevention program?
With the addition of all the new content described above it is not possible to complete the revised prevention program in 12 sessions. It is our experience that it is optimal to have 14-18 weeks to deliver all aspects of this program, especially for high-risk populations or those with children with behavior problems. 14 sessions is considered the minimum number of sessions for accreditation in the prevention protocol. 18 sessions minimum is required for accreditation in the treatment protocol.
While the 12-week program did produce positive results with indicated prevention populations, our research indicated that the added content and sessions enhances the impact of the program with stronger results. The analogy can be made to why you might want to use a newer car: while your 10-year old car still works to get you where you want, it does not have the added improvements and technological advancements such as electric ignition, airbags, cruise control and power steering which give you greater safety and comfort. The updated IY programs and protocols have these enhanced components and innovations learned from years of experience, research and evaluation with the old model. Well heeled risk takers will begin using these new program innovations right away and while many will resist change because they don’t fit in their usual schedule or payment system, eventually as people experience these improvements they will find ways to incorporate them and they will become mainstream. Of course, there is always the option to choose another model according to what options you desire.
12. What is the difference between the Small group Therapy and Classroom versions of the Dina Dinosaur curriculum?
The classroom version is a prevention model and is offered 2-3 times a week in 20-minute classroom circle time followed by small group activities to practice the skills taught in circle time. There are 60 lessons for each year form preschool to kindergarten and grades 1 and 2. The program spans the year beginning in the fall and continuing until spring.
The small group treatment model is usually offered along side the parent group for 2 hours once a week for 18-22 weeks. There are no more than 6 children per group in these sessions. Dinosaur home activities are given to parents to do with their children each week and parent groups include a brief discussion of the lessons taught in Dinosaur School groups. If the small group model is offered as "pull out" sessions in schools, they are usually offered for 1 hour, twice a week.
A hybrid model of both treatment and classroom dinosaur curriculum has been offered in special education classrooms and for day treatment. These classrooms usually have 8-12 students and 3 teachers, and have offered the dinosaur lesson plans daily throughout the year.
13. Is it appropriate to use DVDs to teach students in the classroom?
The Incredible Years Dinosaur Curriculum uses video modeling vignettes as one of its core learning methods for teaching children social, emotional and school readiness skills. Some teachers have responded, "Is it appropriate to use DVDs to teach students in the classroom? Children already watch too much television at home and the use of television in the classroom is a passive and a poor method of teaching."
Indeed it is true that children are not sent to school to sit passively in front of a television screen. They are sent to school to be actively and intellectually involved, to be encouraged to communicate their ideas and feelings with others, to learn how to interact socially, to regulate emotions, and to problem-solve. In the past two decades we have learned a great deal about how young children learn and how to enhance brain development so that our teaching methods can be more developmentally appropriate. Research has shown that it is important for teachers to be able to hold and attract children’s attention for them to focus and remember what they are learning. We also have learned that young children are not very verbal and learn best from visual images, simple narrative stories, imaginary worlds and repetition of single ideas. Moreover, children learn best in an atmosphere where they have predictable rules and routines, are highly involved and feel a sense of self-worth.
A great deal has been learned about the effects of television on children’s behavior because of the work of Bandura’s modeling theory (A. Bandura, 1977; Albert Bandura, 1986). Unfortunately, the modeling children are usually exposed to on TV may be more negative and aggressive behavior than positive prosocial behavior. Parents need to monitor this exposure carefully. Other, more recent research conducted at the University of Washington by Christakis and Meltzoff indicated that for very young children, television actually can impede language development, perhaps because it lacks the important reciprocal interaction qualities present in face-to-face encounters.
The Dinosaur Curriculum has been researched as prevention programs delivered 2-3 times a week in preschool and early childhood classrooms with high risk populations as well as with small treatments groups of children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Developmental Delays. In randomized control group studies this program has been shown to increase children’s social skills, feelings literacy, problem solving and school readiness skills (Webster-Stratton & Reid, 2010). In the Dinosaur School Curriculum teachers are taught how to use brief video vignette demonstrations of social interactions in an effective way that is engaging to children, interactive, visual, and promotes powerful learning. The use of visual video vignettes is great medium for education if used as a trigger for discussion to involve students and to practice the positive social or self-regulatory behaviors being modeled. Video vignettes promote children’s attention and increase learning if used in an effective way.
In the classroom version of the Dinosaur School Curriculum teachers show between 1-4 brief video vignettes in each circle time (number of vignettes varies by lesson and also by developmental ability of the children in the classroom). Each vignette is 1-3 minutes long and the majority of vignettes display children using positive coping and problem solving skills in order to provide positive models for children. A minority of the vignettes show children making poor choices so that participants can use problem solving skills to discuss and practice strategies for obtaining more positive outcomes.
The following are some of the key principles of effective use of the dinosaur curriculum vignettes. Teachers should:
Remember children will be more engaged in watching and learning from the video vignettes if the experience is memorable, meaningful, interactive and intellectually and behaviorally active.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Webster-Stratton, C., & Reid, M. J. (2010). The Incredible Years Parents, Teachers and Children Training Series: A multifaceted treatment approach for young children with conduct problems. In J. Weisz & A. Kazdin (Eds.), Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents, 2nd edition. New York: Guilford Publications.
© 2012 The Incredible Years, Inc. All rights reserved. "THE INCREDIBLE YEARS" and all related trademarks are owned by The Incredible Years, Inc. USA. Limited use of trademarks and copyrighted material is by license from The Incredible Years, Inc. All program materials must be ordered through www.incredibleyears.com. (Dinosaur Puppet © 2012 Axtell Expressions, Inc.)
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