Ch. 8: Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

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  • 1. Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Chapter 8
  • 2. Definition
    • Can often be difficult to define
    • In many cases, the application of definition is subjective
    • IDEA uses term “emotional disturbance” and defines it as:
        • An inability to learn that cannnot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
        • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
        • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
        • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
        • A tendency to develop physical symptoms related to fears associated with personal or school problems (p.200)
  • 3. Definition
    • IDEA definition has been criticized by many professionals
    • Think that using only the word “emotional” excludes students whose disability is only behavioral
    • Excludes students who are “socially maladjusted”
    • Reference to “educational performance” has been narrowly interpreted to only academic, not behavioral or social performance (p. 200)
  • 4. Types of Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
    • Externalizing
        • Uncontrolled, acting out style
        • Behaviors described as aggressive, arguing, impulsive, coercive, and noncompliant
        • Hyperactivity- most common complaint about children referred for evaluation. Also defining symptom of ADHD (p.262)
    • Internalizing
        • Overcontrolled, inhibited style
        • Behaviors described as withdrawn, lonely, depressed, and anxious
        • Examples of behavior include, anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety (p. 263)
  • 5. Types of Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
    • Low Incidence
        • Occur infrequently, but are quite serious
        • Schizophrenia- rare in children, but 1% of people of 18 have it
        • Tourette’s Syndrome- multiple tics, both physical and verbal
        • Coexisting ADHD- dangerous combination with frequent violent behaviors (p. 264)
  • 6. Groups Excluded from this Special Education Category
    • Socially maladjusted and conduct disorders
        • Neither group included in IDEA definition
        • Not eligible for special education services unless they have another qualifying condition
        • Educational system is required to make accommodations for these groups though they don’t qualify for special education services
        • (p. 265)
  • 7. How Emotional or Behavioral Disorders are Identified
    • Often a subjective process
    • Teachers often refer students with externalizing behaviors, but not internalizing
    • Disproportionate number of African American males
    • Current knowledge to guide educators’ actions:
        • Evaluation should come from at least two different settings
        • Performance in both academics and social skills should be considered
        • Information about the child should come from people who play different roles
        • Variety of methods to assess child’s behavior should be used (behavior rating scales, ecological assessments, classroom observations, ABC analyses, interviews, standardized tests, social work evaluations, psychiatric analyses, functional assessments) (p. 266-267)
  • 8. History of The Field
    • In ancient times people with EBD were believed to be possessed by the devil or evil spirits
    • First institution established in London in 1547, known as Bedlam
        • People there were, chained, starved, beaten
        • Popular form of entertainment was to take family to view
    • 1792- Phillipe Pinel ordered humanitarian reform, including unchaining mental patients at Paris Asylum
    • 1800s- Benjamin Rush (father of American psychiatry) proposed more humane methods of caring for children with these problems
    • Late 1800s- initiation of public school classes for children with EBD
    • 1960s and 1970s saw many advances for children with EBD
        • Project Re-Ed- children attended residential schools for short periods of time, then went back to family
        • Study published about effects of teacher attention on preschooler’s social interactions with peers
  • 9. Prevalance
    • Difficult to estimate accurately because definition is so unclear and subjective and because label is so stigmatizing
    • Less than 1% of school children are labeled as having EBD
    • 74% are male
    • 27% are African American, even though African Americans only represent 15% of student population
  • 10. Causes
    • Biology
        • Prenatal drug exposure
        • Mood disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and ADHD may be genetic
    • Home and Community
        • Environment and culture set context for behavior
        • Poverty, lack of supervision, abuse, neglect, parental stress, lack of parental interest
    • School
        • Teachers’ actions can help problems either get better or worse
  • 11. Prevention or Treatment
    • Medical Management
        • Prenatal
        • Medicine and antidepressants to help with psychiatric disorders
        • Behavior techniques along with medicines
    • Reducing overrepresentation
        • African American boys-7 out of 10 youths in secure confinement from diverse backgrounds
    • School based interventions
        • Taking a schoolwide approach
        • All students are taught what behaviors teachers and community expect
        • Direct interventions
        • Functional behavioral assessments- determine what events contribute to or cause behavior to occur
  • 12. Characteristics
    • Problems with authority figures
    • Peer rejection
    • Anorexia or bulimia
    • Disruption in family life
    • Loneliness
    • Academic failure
    • Hyperactivity
    • Impulsivity
    • Distractibility
    • Anxiety
    • Withdrawal
    • Depression
    • Aggression
    • Hostility
    • Noncompliance
    • Tantrums
    • Coercive behaviors
    • Suicidal tendencies
  • 13. How it Affects School Performance
    • Other children have negative feelings about peers who act out
    • Children with externalizing behaviors are considered less desirable for friendship
    • Children without disabilities are more compassionate to peers with medical problems than to those with psychological disorders
    • School failure common
    • Regardless of academic potential, usually do not perform well academically
    • Highest dropout rate of all students
  • 14. Early Childhood Education
    • Some types are difficult to identify in young children
    • Extreme externalizing behaviors often obvious by age 4 or 5
    • Aggression is biggest predictor of being prone to later problems
    • Without intervention, problems tend to persist
    • Early intervention can rectify problems before they become more serious or develop into patterns
  • 15. Elementary Through High School
    • Curriculum Based Management- used to measure academic gains and evaluate effectiveness of instruction
    • Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavioral Intervention Plans
        • Stress the development of positive social skills
    • Effective Discipline
        • Not equivalent to punishment, which isn’t considered effective because of negative reinforcements
        • Training that results in improvement of performance, whereas punishment is supposed to result in decreases in behavior
        • “ Intervention Ladder” - helps teachers better understand how to match interventions with the level and severity of disruptive behavior
        • Behavior-specific praise- increases appropriate behavior of disruptive students as well as time students spend working on class assignments
        • Positive reinforcement- mainstay of behavior management programs- well researched positive effects
        • Group contingencies- involve entire class- example is good behavior game that divides class into teams
  • 16. Transition through Adulthood
    • Student outcomes aren’t good
    • Lower grades than any other group of students with disabilities
    • Fail more courses than other groups
    • Fail minimum competence tests more than other groups
    • Retained more often
    • Only 42% graduate high school
    • Miss more days (18 per year) than others
    • High dropout rate (51%)
    • 13 times more likely to be arrested in high school than others with disabilities and 4 times more likely than others without disabilities
    • Very likely (58%) of being arrested within 5 years of leaving high school
  • 17. Families
    • Parental involvement critical in achieving child mental health and positive outcomes
    • Parents need to be as involved as possible in volunteering at school
    • 35- 60% of children in foster care have emotional or behavioral disorders (5 times higher than general student population)
    • Many students age out of foster care at 18, leaving them homeless while in high school
  • 18.
    • Educators can
        • create positive and consistent classroom environments
        • help them understand consequences of actions
        • teach them skills they need
    • Technology can be helpful dealing with these students
        • Computer is not judgmental
        • Ignores inappropriate behavior
        • Focuses on particular response
        • Makes corrections quickly
        • Allows students to work at own pace