Child Development

General Information

Challenging behaviors such as whining and tantrums are very common during the toddler and preschool years, and if left unaddressed, will compromise healthy development including social and emotional development and school readiness (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2002). Children with special needs and disabilities are at even greater risk for behavioral problems, which further impedes their development. Caregivers may not understand why their children act as they do, and become frustrated in their attempts to discipline, thus emphasizing the importance of parent training.

The HOT DOCS programs offer caregivers a problem-solving approach towards understanding children's needs and solving everyday behavior problems. The program emphasizes proactive behavioral principles and positive behavior supports. Over the course of seven weeks, caregivers and child service professionals come to understand what may be triggering behavior problems, how to help children learn prosocial behaviors, and what solutions will work best with their child. HOT DOCS coaches assist each family in developing and implementing an individualized support plan to improve their children's behavior by teaching them new skills. Caregivers who have completed HOT DOCS  training report gains in both their confidence and competency as a result of this experience. 

HOT DOCS classes are available in both English and Spanish, and are offered several times a year at various sites in the community, including our USF site located in the Children's Medical Services (CMS) building and various YMCAs and Family Resource Centers. HOT DOCS has been recognized as an outstanding community resource, and has received awards from Early Steps, Early Childhood Council, and the Hispanic Heritage Committee. HOT DOCS is recognized as an emerging best practice, with several studies published in peer reviewed journals.

For HOT DOCS information:
Call: (813) 974-1048