Young children demonstrate skills across a variety of domains. The play and language of young children are measured through direct observation and can easily be compared to developmental checklists and milestones. However, the emotional and behavioral skills of young children are not always so easy to assess. There are myriad circumstances and situations that make the identification of young children with emotional disabilities a challenge. However, given the recent studies indicating that young children with social-emotional problems persist to school-age settings, there is a need to examine the assessment and identification process in order that intervention can occur swiftly and appropriately for young children.

If a child’s emotional competence is of concern, the parent/caregiver or other professionals can make a referral to a state agency based ...

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