Chap 1: Introduction
- Autism: lack of appropriate social interaction and 2 others things
- Look to the facilitated communication, the facilitator was the one who guided the hand. It
was not the autistic child.
- CPRI: child and parent resource institute catchment and mission.
Regional tertiary (not direct in the frontline) care centre for children, youth, and their
Research studies in abnormal child psychology seek to:
- Define normal and abnormal behavior for children of different ages, sexes, and ethnic and
cultural backgrounds (normal depends to the time, the culture, the place… so we are going to
talk about statistics boundaries because it’s difficult to define where is the normal and the
abnormal we don’t know)
- Identify the cases and correlates of abnormal behavior
- Make predictions about long-term outcomes
- Develop and evaluate methods for treatment and/or prevention
Features that distinguish child and adolescent disorders:
- When adults seek services for children, it is not often clear whose “problem” it is (the parents
are seeking for a service, it’s not the child that asking to see a psychologist!)
- Many child and adolescent problems involve a failure to show expected developmental
- Many problem behaviors shown by children and youths are not entirely abnormal
- Interventions for children and adolescents are often intended to promote further
development, rather than merely to restore a previous level of functioning.
Historical views and breakthroughs:
- Ancient Greek/Roman view:
o The disabled were an economic burden and social embarrassment to be scorned,
abandoned, or put to death
- Before 18 century:
o Children’s mental health problems were ignored
o Children were subjected to harsh treatment due to beliefs that they would die, were
possessed, or were parents’ property
- By end of 18 century:
o Interest in abnormal child behavior surfaced, although strong church influence
attributed behaviors to children’s uncivilized and provocative nature.
The emergence of Social Conscience
- John Locke (17 century):
o Believed children should be raised with thought and care, not indifference and harsh
- Jean-Marc Itard (19 century):
o Focused on the care, treatment, and training of “mental defectives”
- Leta Hollingworth: o Distinguished individuals with mental retardation (imbeciles) from those with
psychiatric disorders (lunatics)
- Benjamin Rush:
o Children are incapable of adult-like insanity, so those with normal cognitive abilities
but disturbing behavior suffer from “moral insanity”
Cf. united nations declaration of the rights of the child
Early Biological attributes
- Treatment of infectious diseases (late 19 century) strengthened belief that diseases are
o Early attempts at biological explanations were highly biased, locating cause within
individual child or adult
- Clifford beers’ efforts led to detection and intervention
- Intervention was limited to the most visible disorders
- Belief that development of disorders could not be influenced by treatment or learning,
caused a return to custodial care and punishment of behaviors
- The view of mental disorders as “diseases” led to fear of contamination
o Many communities used eugenics (sterilization and segregation (institutionalization)
Early psychological attributes
- Psychological influences rooted in early 20 century, when attention was drawn to
formulating a taxonomy of illnesses
- Psychoanalytic theory:
o Freud linked mental disorders to childhood experiences and explored their
development, with a focus on the interaction of developmental and situational
o Held view that children and adults could be helped if provided with proper
environment, therapy or both
o Despite criticisms and lack empirical validation, emphasis on interconnection btn
children’s normal and..
o Laid the foundation for empirical study of how abnormal behavior develops and can
be treated through conditioning
o Pavlov’s research on classical conditioning
o Watson’s studies on elimination of children’s fears and theory of emotions
Little albert (Box 1.3)
Evolving forms of treatment :
- After 1930- 1950 A few reports in the 1930s described the behavioral treatment of isolated
problems such as bed-wetting (O. H. Mowrer & Mowrer, 1938), stuttering (Dunlap, 1932),
and fears (F. B. Holmes, 1936)Progressive legislation
- Psychodynamic approaches were the dominant form of treatment.
- Most of the children at this period were institutionalized.
- Renée Spitz: harmful impact of institutional life on children’s growth and development. If
infants raised in institutions without adult physical contact and stimulation, they developed
severe physical and emotional problems. - So, from 1945 until 1965, decline of children in foster family homes and group homes
- During 50s and 60s behavior treatment therapy => systematic approach to the treatment of
child and family disorders (operant and classical conditioning).
- Behavior therapy focused initially on children with mental retardation or severe disturbances.
Whereas, psychoanalysis practices for these children were perceived as ineffective or
- IDEA: individuals with disabilities education act:
o Free and appropriate public education for children with special needs in the least
o Each child must be assessed with culturally appropriate tests
o Individualized education program IEP for each child
- United Nations General Assembly adopted a new convention to protect the rights of persons
o Countries that ratify the convention agree to enact laws and other measures to
improve disability rights.
What is abnormal behavior in children and adolescents?
- Childhood disorders are accompanied by various layers of abnormal behavior or
development, ranging from the more visible, to the more subtle, to the more hidden
- Must understand children’s individual strengths and abilities in order to assist them in healthy
Vidéo: (old people who terrorize the neighborhood) always asked for the age because it
depends of age… It might be a problem or not!
Statistical table normal distribution, 68% of the population falls +/- one standard deviation
around the mean. 27% falls +/- 2 standard deviations around the mean. 4% falls +/- three
standard deviations around the mean.
The most aggressive age for boys: around 2 and 4!! Not around 16!!
Defining psychological disorders
- Traditionally defined as patterns of behavioral, cognitive, emotional or physical symptoms
associated with one or more of the following:
o Increased risk for further suffering or harm
- Excludes circumstances where reactions are expected and appropriate as defined by one’s
- Describes behaviors, not causes
Disorder vs normal? (its slide)
- Not defined by blood screen, a brain scan, or any one “test” you can take
E.g. there is no “test for ADHD”
- In psychology, we document “symptoms” through the use of standardized assessment tools - While other professions use interview, we add comparison to a carefully controlled sample of
observation. For example here is the most commonly used parent questionnaire (the child
behavior checklist CBCL by Dr. Achenbach)
- Note that it has different norms for boys and girls, for children of different ages
- The hallmark of good psychological assessment is multi-method data collection across
different people and in different contexts.
Defining psychological disorders
- Labels describe behavior, not people
o Challenge of stigma: negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate fear, rejection,
avoidance, and discrimination
o It is important to separate the child from the disorder
o Problems may be the resul