Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 257–263 | Cite as

Misbehavior or Missed Opportunity? Challenges in Interpreting the Behavior of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Juliet E. Hart
  • Kelly Whalon


Young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are increasingly being included in early childhood classrooms that include typically developing peers and in general education classrooms once they enter school. Many of these learners have the requisite academic skills to be successful, yet their social communication and behavioral challenges often impede their successful inclusion in general education settings. The challenges educators may experience when interpreting and responding to some behaviors exhibited by young students with ASD are explored and analyzed using an illustrative case vignette of a Kindergarten child with ASD. Recommendations for analyzing the communicative function of children’s behavior and for embedding social communication opportunities in inclusive classroom settings are described.


Autism Early childhood Behavior Teaching strategies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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