FRHD 2110 Lecture Notes - Encopresis, Conduct Disorder, Reinforcement

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Chapter 8: Learners with Emotional or Behavioural Disorders
- Children and youths who have emotional or behavioural disorders most obvious problem is
failure to establish close and satisfying emotional ties with other people who can help them
- Present some of the most difficult social problems that our society has to solve
TERMINOLOGY
- The terminology of the field is so variable and confusing that it is possible to pick a label of
choice simply by choosing one or more of the overlapping terms from Set A and combining it
with one of those from Set B (FIGURE 8.1 pg. 201)
- Many authorities favour terminology indicating that these children may have emotional or
behavioural problems or both
DEFINITION
Definitional Problems
- Forming objective definitions of emotional or behavioural disorders is difficult for the following
reasons:
We lack precise definitions or mental health and normal behaviour
There are substantial differences among conceptual models
Emotional or behavioural disorders often overlap with other exceptionalities
Professionals who diagnose and serve children and youths often disagree
- Emotional or behavioural disorders tend to overlap a great deal with other exceptionalities,
especially learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities
Current Definitions
- No single definition for emotional and behavioural disorders exists within provincial and
territorial jurisdictions in Canada
- There is general agreement that emotional or behavioral disorder refers to the following:
Behaviour that goes to an extreme i.e. that is not just slightly different from the usual
A problem that is chronic
Behaviour that is unacceptable because of social or cultural expectations
CLASSIFICATION
- Researchers have identified 2 broad, pervasive dimensions of disordered behaviour:
Externalizing behaviour involves striking out against others
Internalizing behaviour involves mental or emotional conflicts, such as depression and
anxiety
- Individuals may show behaviours characteristic of both dimensions not mutually exclusive
Comorbidity: the co-occurrence of two or more conditions in the same individual is
not usual
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PREVALENCE
- Estimates of the prevalence have varied tremendously because there has been no standard and
reliable definition or screening instrument
- At least 6-10% of children and youths of school age exhibit serious and persistent
emotional/behavioural problems
- The most common types of problems exhibited by students who are placed in special education
for emotional or behavioural disorders are externalizing
- Boys outnumber girls in displaying these behaviours by a ratio of 5 to 1 or more
- Disabling conditions of various kinds are much more common among young offenders than
among the general population
- Adolescent males account for a disproportionately high % of serious violent crime
CAUSES
- Causes have been attributed to 4 major factors:
Biological disorders and diseases
Pathological family relationships
Undesirable experiences at school
Negative cultural influences
- Although in the majority of cases, there is no empirical evidence that any of these factors is
directly responsible for the disorder, some factors might give a child a predisposition to exhibit
problem behaviour, and others might trigger it
- In almost all cases, the question of what specifically has caused the disorder cannot be
answered because no one really knows, however, we often do know the factors that place
children at risk
Biological Factors
- For those with severe and profound disorders, however, there is evidence to suggest that
biological factors may contribute to their conditions
- All children are born with a biologically determined behavioural style or temperament
- Some people have long believed that children with so-called difficult temperaments are
predisposed to develop emotional or behavioural disorders
- Substance abuse also can contribute to emotional and behavioural problems
- Biological factors cause or set the stage for many disorders that formerly were widely assumed
to be caused mostly or entirely by social interactions ex. Schizophrenia or Tourette’s syndrome
- 4 points are important to remember about biological causes
1. The fact that disorders have biological causes does not mean that they are not emotional or
behavioural disorders
2. Causes are seldom exclusively biological or psychological
3. Biological or medical treatment of the disorder is seldom sufficient to resolve the problem
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4. Medical or biological approaches are sometimes of little or no benefit, and the primary
interventions are psychological or behavioural, even though the disorder is known to have
primarily a biological cause
Family Factors
- Not possible to find consistent and valid research findings that allow the blame for the children’s
problem behaviour to be placed primarily on their parents
- Sensitivity to children’s needs, love-oriented methods of dealing with misbehaviour, and
positive reinforcement for appropriate behaviour unquestionably tend to promote desirable
behaviour in children
- Parents who are generally lax in disciplining their children but are hostile, rejecting, cruel, and
inconsistent in dealing with misbehaviour are likely to have aggressive, delinquent children
- Chaotic, disorganized homes in which the parents themselves have arrest records or are violent
are particularly likely to foster delinquency and lack of social competence
School Factors
- Children who exhibit disorders when they enter school may become better or worse according
to how they are managed in the classroom
- There is a very real danger that a child who exhibits problem behaviour will become trapped in a
spiral of negative interactions, in which he becomes increasingly irritating to and irritated by
teachers and peers
- Discipline in the school might be too lax, too rigid, or inconsistent
Cultural Factors
- Values and behavioural standards are communicated to children through a variety of cultural
conditions, demands, prohibitions, and models
- Several specific cultural influences come to mind: violence in the media, the use of terror as a
means of coercion, the availability of recreational drugs and the level of drug abuse, changing
standards for sexual conduct, religious demands and restrictions on behaviour, and the threat of
nuclear accidents or war
- Peers are another important source of cultural influence, particularly after the child enters the
upper elementary grades
- The level of violence depicted on TV and in the movies is almost certainly a contributing factor in
the increasing level of violence in society
- The changing cultural conditions in Canada and the US might predispose children to develop
emotional or behavioural disorders and a variety of other disabling conditions or to be
mistakenly identified as having such disorders
- We are living in an era of enormous affluence for some but also one in which poverty and
related problems continue to grow rapidly
IDENTIFICATION
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Document Summary

Chapter 8: learners with emotional or behavioural disorders. Children and youths who have emotional or behavioural disorders most obvious problem is failure to establish close and satisfying emotional ties with other people who can help them. Present some of the most difficult social problems that our society has to solve. Many authorities favour terminology indicating that these children may have emotional or behavioural problems or both. Forming objective definitions of emotional or behavioural disorders is difficult for the following reasons: We lack precise definitions or mental health and normal behaviour. There are substantial differences among conceptual models. Emotional or behavioural disorders often overlap with other exceptionalities. Professionals who diagnose and serve children and youths often disagree. Emotional or behavioural disorders tend to overlap a great deal with other exceptionalities, especially learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities. No single definition for emotional and behavioural disorders exists within provincial and territorial jurisdictions in canada.

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