Meeting Emotional and Behavioral Challenges Cheryl Steckley, MSW,LCSW
Units • Educating the Whole Child • Educator Approaches to Students • Understanding Students with Emotional or Behavioral Challenges • Interventions, Strategies and Supports to Meet the Challenge
“There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that academic achievement levels are correlated with, if not directly influenced by, how well students are faring in other areas of their lives: physical, social-emotional, vocational and others. Equally important, research shows that helping students address their non-academic needs and interests pays off.” Irby, Thomas, and Pittman, 2002
The Whole Child Intellectual Physical Psychological Spiritual Social
Physical Domain • shelter • food • clothing • exercise/movement • medical/dental care • touch
Innate desire to learn Innate need for purpose, meaning Intellectual Domain
Internal relationship with one’s self Need for mental and emotional well-being Psychological Domain Environment PERSON Thoughts Feelings Behavior
Relationships with others Moral and social development Social Domain
Relationships • A person’ perceptions, interpretations (thoughts) and feelings regarding the events or behavior of others in a social situation influences that person’s behavior (response).
Belief in entity or being greater than one’s self Belief in equal value, dignity and respect of each individual Need for purpose and meaning in life Spiritual Domain
Environment Thoughts Feelings Person Behaviors The Total Experience
Thoughts Feelings Behavior Thoughts Affect Feelings And Feelings Affect Behavior
Children’s Thoughts • Are initially very concrete • Think in terms of black and white • tunnel vision (a child’s perspective can be very different than an adult’s perspective of the same event) • Gradually mature to abstract thinking • Eventually think in shades of gray • (higher order thinking)
We must become aware of the thought or belief underlying the feeling, then change the thought in order to change the feeling. When the feeling changes, the behavior changes.
Change the ThoughttoChange the Feeling toChange the Behavior Rational-Emotive-Behavioral Theory Cognitive-Behavioral Theory
Fear is a strong motivator of behavior Fear is triggered by the “Fight or Flight” Response
“Fight or Flight” Response • Instinctiveand necessarysurvival responseto a danger or threat. • When faced with a danger or threat, person will eitherrun away orface attacker andfight for survival.A rush of adrenaline and other chemicals causes physical changes. All nonessential activity in the body is suspended and there is an increase of activity in any system that is needed to fight or flee the external threat.
“Fight-or-Flight” • Person is in survival mode and on the defense.All behaviors become self protective.Behaviors are most primitive when a person feels threatened, even if the perceived threat is not a realistic one.
Some Things People Fear • Fear of being harmed by others • Fear of loss of a loved one • Fear of loss of material wealth/possession • Fear of failure • Fear of embarrassment/ridicule (Kaufman, Gershen, Ph.D., Raphael, Lev & Espeland, Pamela, Stick Up For Yourself, 1990)
Things People Fear (cont) • Fear of rejection/not belonging • Fear of loss of power/control • Fear of loss of freedom/privileges • Fear of loss of independence • Fear of being caught doing wrong (Kaufman, Gershen, Ph.D., Raphael, Lev & Espeland, Pamela, Stick Up For Yourself, 1990)
Psychological Needs • Need for relationships • Need for touching and holding • Need to belong and feel “one” with others • Need to be different, unique • Need to nurture • Need to feel worthwhile, valued, admired and recognized • Need for power in our lives & relationships (Kaufman, Gershen, Ph.D., Raphael, Lev & Espeland, Pamela, Stick Up For Yourself, 1990)
“All children come to school with unmet needs. Most have the ability to delay these needs. Troubled children focus on nothing else until these needs are met. Meet the needs early or consume your time fighting them. The choice is yours, not theirs.” (L. Tobin, What Do You Do With a Child Like This?, 1991)
Contributor • Thanks to Jim Levelle, Ph.D. from the Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities for his contribution to this section. Adapted with permission from his training Effective Behavioral Strategies for Paraprofessionals, 2004.
Our Values… • influence what we think, the way we teach and the way that we live. • are based on family, cultural and personal life experiences. • can and should change in response to changing life experiences. • are not always expressed the way we want them to be expressed. • affect the people around us.
Approaches to Students • Authoritarian- “do as I say” • Laissez-faire- “do what you want” • Dependent- “you need me” • Mechanical- “going through the motions” • Growth Oriented- “we will learn together” (Gerald Patterson and Marion Forgatch, Parents And Adolescents Living Together: The Basics 1987)
Authoritarian Approach • the “boss” • directive • rule-oriented • inflexible • care is conditional – “I will like you if you…” • “do as I say”
Problems With This Approach • encourages sneaky behaviors • can induce fear of making a mistake • does not encourage or allow problem-solving or decision-making • destroys desire or ability to initiate
Laissez-faire Approach • hands off approach – “live and let live” • opposite of authoritarian • lack of structure and limit setting • lack of supervision- “do what you want” • “boys will be boys” attitude • indifferent or lack of interest in progressing
Problems With This Approach • positive behaviors are not modeled or learned • negative or nonproductive behaviors are used and reinforced • negative behaviors tend to increase in order to get attention
Dependent Approach • grandmotherly and warm • “You need me” approach • “Let me do that for you” • overly protective • treats child like a victim
Problems With This Approach • negative behaviors like crying, screaming and whining are used to get what is wanted • mature communication is not learned or reinforced • child does not develop skills needed to problem solve or make decisions • child does not develop confidence needed to initiate or complete tasks independently
Mechanistic Approach • focus on doing things “by the book” • must follow and complete schedule • focus on completing requirements rather than on learning • lack flexibility and warmth • treats child as part of a system, not as an individual
Problems With This Approach • battle of the wills, power struggles for control • not motivated to learn or participate • avoids activities or tasks • need to look to others (peers) for attention, recognition • depression
Growth-Oriented Approach • best approach • warm and connected • concerned with overall well-being of child • sets clear rules and expectations • often includes student input in setting rules so student is invested in the rule
Growth-Oriented Approach • learning is mutually beneficial • we both learned something here • learning is a part of our relationship • mutually rewarding • independence is valued, promoted and reinforced through fading and praise • fading: gradual removal of help • reinforcement: increasing behavior through rewards or praise after the desired behavior
Benefits of Growth-Oriented Approach • the student gains • a greater desire to learn and cooperate • a desire to show off skills and knowledge • better ability to work with others • better relationships • better behavior • self confidence in own abilities • faster learning
Benefits Continued • staff gain an understanding of… • why a child behaves the way they do • what situations will lead to the child doing well and succeeding • the child’s viewpoint • what leads to poor work and negative behavior • staff gain a closer, more meaningful relationship with the child • staff experience a more rewarding job
Which approach do you want to use? • we all have tendencies from each • our responses are influenced by: • our families • our values and expectations • what society values and expects • what we have learned from experience and education • how we process all of the above
“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” (Dr. Haim G. Ginott, Teacher and child: A book for parent and teachers, 1993)
VIDEO Defusing Anger and Aggression: Safe strategies for secondary school educators By Geoff Colvin, Ph. D. University of Oregon
Statistics • one in five American children has a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. Estimates range from 7.7 million to 12.8 million • as many as one in ten may suffer from a serious emotional disturbance. Less than one percent are identified by schools as having an emotional disturbance (CECP) • seventy percent of these children do not receive any mental health services • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects 3 to 5 percent of school-age children
Statistics Continued • eight to ten percent of American children and adolescents are seriously troubled by anxiety • anxious children are two to four times more likely to develop depression, and more likely to engage in substance abuse as adolescents • as many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents may have depression at any given time • almost one-third of six- to twelve-year-old children diagnosed with major depression will develop bipolar disorder within a few years
And More… • suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds and the sixth leading cause of death for five- to 15-year-olds. Between 500,000 and 1 million young people attempt suicide each year • 15,000 children with mental illnesses were improperly incarcerated in detention centers in 2003 because of a lack of access to treatment. Sixty-six percent of detention centers held youth with mental illness because “there was no place else for them to go”
Factors that Contribute to Emotional and Behavioral Problems • biological/physical/cognitive factors – genetic links to some mood disorders, schizophrenia and some neurological conditions • environmental • family factors • school factors • community factors
Troubled Children Often… • are more rigid and inflexible • are more explosive • lack resiliency • lack ability to regulate emotions • have poor impulse control • have poor frustration tolerance • have poor social skills • have poor coping skills