Chapter 8.docx

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University of Guelph
Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 2110
Taniesha Burkes

WEEK 8: Chapter. 8– Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Problems FACTS • Youngsters with aggressive, acting-out behaviour patterns have less chance for social adjustment and mental health in adulthood. Neurotic, shy, anxious children and youths have a better chance of getting and holding jobs, overcoming their problems, and staying out of jails and mental hospitals, unless their withdrawal is extreme. This is especially true for boys. • There is no sound scientific basis for belief in hidden causes; the behaviour and its social context are the problems. Causes may involve thoughts, feelings and perceptions. • Most teachers and parents can learn to be highly effective in helping youngsters with emotional or behavioural disorders, sometimes without extensive training or professional certification. Many of these children and youths do require services of highly trained professionals as well. • Harsh punishment, including imprisonment, not only does not deter misbehaviour, but also creates conditions under which many individuals become even more likely to exhibit unacceptable conduct. BACKGROUND • Children and youths who have emotional or behavioural disorders fail to establish close and satisfying emotional ties with other people who can help them. In fact, it can be easier for these individuals to hide, both physically and emotionally. If they do develop friendships, it is often with deviant peers. • Some of these children are withdrawn; quiet rejection continues until those who are trying to be friends give up. • Many other children with emotional or behavioural disorders are isolated from others not because they withdraw but because they strike out with hostility and aggression. abusive, destructive, unpredictable, irresponsible, bossy, quarrelsome, irritable, jealous, defiant—anything but pleasant. Naturally, other children and adults choose not to spend time with children like this unless they have to, while some strike back at youngsters who show these characteristics. o The reaction of most other children and adults is to withdraw to avoid battles, but rejected children then do not learn to behave acceptably. o teaching opportunities’ are greatly reduced, along with the opportunity for the rejected child to redeem himself in the eyes of parents, teachers, and mainstream peers • The best thinking today is that the problem is not always just in the child’s behaviour or just in the environment. The problem arises because the social interactions and transactions between the child and the social environment are inappropriate = ecological perspective • Special education for these students is both confused and confusing – inconsistent. • Children and youths with emotional or behavioural disorders present some of the most difficult social problems that our society has to solve ▯ WEEK 8: Chapter. 8– Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Problems Terminology • Many different terms used to designate children who have extreme social-interpersonal and/or intrapersonal problems, including emotionally handicapped or impaired, behaviourally impaired, socially/emotionally handicapped, emotionally conflicted, and seriously behaviourally disabled Definition • Defining emotional and behavioural disorders has always been problematic; Professional groups and experts have felt free to construct individual working definitions • Forming objective definitions of emotional or behavioural disorders is difficult for the following reasons: ■ We lack precise definitions of mental health and normal behaviour; ■ There are substantial differences among conceptual models; ■ Measurement of emotions and behaviour is imprecise; ■ Emotional or behavioural disorders often overlap with other exceptionalities – intellectual & learning disabilities in particular; and ■ Professionals who diagnose and serve children and youths often disagree. • There is general agreement that emotional or behavioural 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—i.e., one that does not quickly disappear; or ■ behaviour that is unacceptable because of social or cultural expectations • Current Definition lists 5 characteristics, any of which must be exhibited to a marked extent, over a period of time, adversely affecting educational performance: 1. Inability to learn; 2. Inability to establish satisfactory relationships; 3. Inappropriate behavior; 4. pervasive unhappiness or depression; and 5. physical symptoms, pains or fears. Classification • There is no universally accepted system for classifying emotional or behavioural disorders for special education • Researchers have identified two broad, pervasive dimensions of disordered behaviour: 1. Externalizing behaviour = Acting-out behaviour; aggressive or disruptive behaviour that is observable as behaviour directed toward others; 2. Internalizing behaviour = Acting-in behaviour; anxiety, fearfulness, withdrawal, and other indications of an individual’s mood or internal state. • Comorbidity—the co-occurrence of two or more conditions in the same individual—is ▯ WEEK 8: Chapter. 8– Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Problems not unusual • e.g. Child/youth might exhibit several behaviours associated with internalizing problems (e.g., short attention span, poor concentration) and several of those associated with externalizing problems as well (e.g., fighting, disruptive behaviour, annoying others) • Children may exhibit characteristic types of behaviour with varying degrees of intensity or severity. • Schizophrenia = disorder characterized by psychotic behaviour manifested by loss of contact with reality, distorted thought processes, and abnormal perceptions. • Autism = a pervasive developmental disability characterized by extreme withdrawal, cognitive deficits, language disorders, self-stimulation, and onset before the age of 30 months. • Autism spectrum disorder = a range of disorders characterized by symptoms of autism that can range from mild to severe. • Conduct disorder = disorder characterized by overt, aggressive, disruptive behaviour or covert antisocial acts, such as stealing, lying, & fire setting; may include both overt & covert acts. Prevalence • Estimates of the prevalence of emotional or behavioural disorders in children and youths have varied tremendously because there has been no standard and reliable definition or screening instrument. • 6 to 10 percent of children and youths of school age in U.S. exhibit serious and persistent emotional/behavioural problems; estimate that up to 19.1 percent of Canadian children exhibit some type of behaviour problem • The most common types of problems exhibited by students who are placed in special education for emotional or behavioural disorders are externalizing—that is, aggressive, acting-out, disruptive behaviour. Boys outnumber girls in displaying these behaviours by a ratio of 5 to 1 or more Causes • The causes of emotional or behavioural disorders have been attributed to four major factors: 1. biological disorders and diseases; 2. pathological family relationships; 3. undesirable experiences at school; and 4. negative cultural influences. • Causes are multiple & complex, and seldom can a single cause be identified. • Some factors might give a child a pre-disposition to exhibit problem behaviour, and others might precipitate or trigger it. ▯ WEEK 8: Chapter. 8– Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Problems • 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 circumstances or conditions that increase the chances that a child will develop the disorder. • See p. 206 - FIGURE 8.2 Risk pathway to antisocial and violent behaviour. BIOLOGICAL FACTORS • Behaviours and emotions may be influenced by genetic, neurological, or biochemical factors or by combinations of these. • For most children with emotional or behavioural disorders, there simply is no real evidence that biological factors alone are at the root of their problems. • Increasing evidence that medications are helpful in addressing the problems • Other biological factors besides temperament—disease, malnutrition, and brain trauma, for example—can predispose children to develop emotional or behavioural problems. • Four points are important to remember about biological causes: 1. An emotional or behavioural disorder can have a physical cause; the biological malfunction is a problem because of the disorder it creates in the individual’s emotions or behaviour. 2. Causes are seldom exclusively biological or psychological. Once a biological disorder occurs, it nearly always creates psychosocial problems that then also contribute to the emotional or behavioural disorder. 3. Biological or medical treatment of the disorder is seldom sufficient to resolve the problem. Medication may be of great benefit, but it is seldom the only intervention that is needed. The psychological and social aspects of the disorder must also be addressed. 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. Medications do not work equally well for all cases, and for some disorders no generally effective medications are known. FAMILY FACTORS • The relationship between parenting and emotional or behavioural disorders is not simple, but some parenting practices are definitely better than others  e.g. Sensitivity to children’s needs, love-oriented methods of dealing with misbehaviour, and positive reinforcement (attention and praise) for appropriate behaviour unquestionably tend to promote desirable behaviour in children. SCHOOL FACTORS •Some children already have emotional or behavioural disorders when they begin school; others develop such disorders during their school years, perhaps in part because of damaging experiences in the classroom itself. •A child’s temperament and social competence can interact with the behaviours of ▯ WEEK 8: Chapter. 8– Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Problems classmates and teachers in contributing to emotional or behavioural problems. o a child who exhibits problem behaviour may become trapped in a spiral of negative interactions, in which he becomes increasingly irritating to and irritated by teachers and peers. o teachers might be insensitive to children’s individuality, perhaps requiring a mindless conformity to rules and routines. o The school environment might be such that the misbehaving child is rewarded with recognition and special attention (even if that attention is criticism or punishment), whereas the child who behaves properly is ignored. o Teachers & peers might be models of misconduct—the child misbehaves by imitating them CULTURAL FACTORS • Values and behavioural standards are communicated to children through a variety of cultural conditions, demands, prohibitions, and models. • Cultural influences = peers, violence in the media (especially television and motion pictures), 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. • Undoubtedly, the culture in which a child is reared influences his emotional, social, and behavioural development. • Dramatic increases in the ethnic diversity of most communities might contribute to the mistaken identification of behavioural differences as behavioural disorders • Abuse and other forms of extreme trauma are known to contribute significantly to the emotional or behavioural disorders of many children in our society today. Identification • It is much easier to identify disordered behaviours than it is to define and classify their types and causes • It is important to include assessment of students’ emotional and behavioural competencies, not just their weaknesses or deficits • Also, the availability of special services for those with emotional or behavioural disorders lags far behind the need • Formal screening and accurate early identification for the purpose of planning educational intervention are complicated by the problems of definition • Teachers tend to over-refer students who exhibit externalizing behaviour problems (i.e., those with conduct disorders), they tend to under-refer students with internalizing problems (i.e., those characterized by anxiety and withdrawal). ▯ WEEK 8: Chapter. 8– Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Problems • 3-step proces
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