A comprehensive approach to emotional disturbances

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					Emotional Disturbances Running Head: A Comprehensive Approach to Emotional Disturbances

A Comprehensive Approach to Emotional Disturbances in Young Children and SchoolAged Students Sheresha Russell North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

A Comprehensive Approach to Emotional Disturbances in Young Children and SchoolAged Students

By: Sheresha Russell

This research paper on emotional disturbances offers an in depth overview of the term emotionally and behaviorally disturbed. The prevalence of individuals classified as emotionally disturbed, typically have abnormal emotional and behavioral patterns, along with educational implications. This comprehensive approach to children with emotional disturbances provides research based support for the diagnosis of this condition. Studies


Emotional Disturbances have found ED (emotional disturbances) to be linked to the environment, heredity, and the biological make up individuals classified as such. The purpose of this research paper is to provide a review of ED and possible interventions for students with this label.

Emotional disturbances represent an excess or deficit in emotional or behavioral patterns. Emotional characteristics may include an individual’s inability to interact with others socially. Behaviors typically deviate from the norm, and mood swings are unpredictable. The behavioral aspect of individuals with ED is either passive aggressive or severely aggressive. Many young children with ED also suffer from pervasive moods that depict signs of depression.

Among student with EBD, many individuals demonstrate signs of immaturity and socialized delinquency due to their inability to establish stable relationships with other people and control their erratic behaviors. The article on Chemical Imbalances, suggests that 10-20 percent of students within the general school population suffer from ED and 23 percent of that population of students suffer from severe and chronic ED.

Educational implications should be individualized and research based. Assessments and evaluations of social skills should allow teachers to reflect and design strategies to use in their class by infusing researched methods to help improve the outcomes of students with emotional disturbances. Basic classroom management strategies of positive and negative reinforcement are methods to utilize as well. Modeling and role playing have also been effective in teaching students how to control their behaviors. In therapeutic setting many desensitizing methods are used to provide a


Emotional Disturbances calming affect to individuals with EBD and other behavioral disorders. These interventions serve as preventative measures for more severe behaviors.

Longitudinal studies have examined the links between young students with emotional and social matters as it relates to school readiness. Students with emotional and social deficits are more likely to face academic challenges as opposed to those students who as emotionally and socially adjusted to handle school on an academic and behavioral level. In addition, the article suggests that emotional and social development may be correlated to students that struggle with early reading and face learning difficulties. From a cultural perspective it is necessary to have an understanding of how and where these emotional and social deficits derived within these young students. Examining the many contributing factors such as low socio-economic status and family structure could possibly define and provide solutions to solving the problems that young children with emotional and social challenges face as they are prepared for school. This study also took a glance at the students who lack the ability to focus and pay attention to class. Many of the students that we now classify as attention deficit/hyperactive also struggle in similar areas in school and have difficulties in transitioning. ADHD is believed to affect between 3-5% of the United States population, including both children and adults (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attentiondeficit_hyperactivity_disorder). The problem is that young students with these attention deficits later develop problems in school from a behavioral approach as well as an academic approach if the attention deficits are not addressed early on.


Emotional Disturbances There are many interventions to utilize with young students entering school. Some interventions include: low-intensity interventions in the classroom, low-to moderate-intensity interventions in the home-parent training programs, “multi-pronged” home/scroll interventions for children at moderate risk, and high-intensity clinical interventions for high-risk children.

Low-intensity interventions in the classroom allows small periods of instruction devoted to addressing the social and emotional needs or issues surrounding the students within the class. Low-to moderate-intensity interventions in the home-parent training program teach parents how to diffuse situations in such as matter that behaviors are reduces to increase the more desired or preferred behaviors in reference to peer interactions. The “multi-pronged approach” focuses on reducing the prevalence of criminal offenses and dropout rates early on. The last intervention that Cybele discussed was the interventions practiced on the clinical level. Many high risk students require the treatment of psychotherapy and more intensive treatments. Early intervention programs may help to reduce the issue of young children’s emotional development as it relates to school readiness a great deal. Longitudinal studies provide a long term analysis of information along with time frames and research effectiveness. It is highly relevant that emotional and social behaviors must be address to be properly equipped for school and for learning.

Educational implications should be individualized and research based. Assesses and evaluating social skills allows teachers to reflect and design strategies to use in their class by infusing researched methods to help improve the outcomes of students with


Emotional Disturbances emotional disturbances. Basic classroom management strategies of positive and negative reinforcement are implications as well as modeling and role playing. Interventions serve as preventative measures for more severe behaviors. Educational implications should always be individualized and research based.

Improving the post-school outcome for students with emotional and behavioral disorders are and attempt to desensitized the individual into to more socially functional citizens. Advocates of the EBD population are concerned with their ability to be socially accepted and socially maladapted within society as adults.

Students within the school system are already accustomed to the ostracization that educator have placed on them. Many EBD students are not even included in the regular education classroom. This isolation is not due to intellectual deficits but behavior deficits. Many teachers feel that the needs of the EBD student exceeds what the regular educator can offer, therefore, the special educator gets involve with developing strategies to help the decrease unacceptable behaviors. Most school has now adopted the zero tolerance policy where students are suspended for demonstrating inappropriate behaviors. For the special education special procedure of expulsion must be carefully approached. Students categorized as EBD under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) must go through a detailed assessment called and functional behavior assessment to determine whether or no the behavior is related to their disability. Students with EBD often struggle academically. This articles state that more than 50% of students that are emotionally and behaviorally disturbed drop out school. Within


Emotional Disturbances the special education department transition plans are components of an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) once the student reach the age of 14. At the age of 14 discussions of post school plans are discussed and at the age of 16 the plans and goals of the transition plan are implemented. Longitudinal research reports that individuals with EBD are more likely to hold part-time jobs as opposed to full-time jobs. Developing the relationship to work with others a very much so unlikely. Social relationship and employment stability are directly related to the ability to interact and function in society productively. Social skills training, positive behavior supports, and vocational training are all a part of the school’s responsibility to prepare these individuals to survive independently in the community. Social skills training focuses in establishing rapports with others with a mutual respect one another’s values, beliefs, and customs. The positive behavior approach is an attempt to identify at risk students and to teach them replacement behaviors rather than demonstrating erratic behaviors. Also, within the school system vocation training is taught. Some types of vocational training include: auto mechanics, carpentry, and home economics. All of these skills are an attempt to mainstream individuals with EBD into the workforce, into the life of parenthood, and into all of the many areas of post-school life. Chemical imbalances within the body have also been linked to individuals with EBD. Researchers have found that many neurotransmitters contribute to the EBD disorder. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that send messages to and from neurons. These chemicals affect your emotional state.


Emotional Disturbances Many of these neurotransmitters affect our moods and attitudes. For example chemical imbalances in dopamine often lead to a disorder called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Low levels of dopamine have been linked to ADHD. Some common signs of ADHD include the inability to focus for long periods of time, become overly distracted, or cause your body to release excess or uncontrollable body movements. Serotonin, another neurotransmitter has been tied to emotional states of being where as levels begin to drop, signs of sadness, self-confidence decreases, and chronic fatigues take place. Serotonin levels regulate the body’s ability to maintain happiness. Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders have all been linked to having low levels of serotonin. People with anxiety disorders suffer from excess worrying and those who suffer from OCD suffer from worrying and physical, habitual compulsions. Norepinephrine, commonly associated with the fight or flight response to the body’s ability to reduce pain. Low levels of this neurotransmitter have also been connected to ADHD and depression. Norepinephrine is responsible for maintaining a balance between agitation and depression.

In all examples provided of imbalances within the body, medications utilized are only temporary, the dosages must be manipulated and the chemical structure must be manipulated periodically to ensure its effectiveness. Many students with emotional and behavioral disorders suffer from these chemical imbalances. Students with EBD display characteristics related to depression, anxiety, OCD, and bipolar disorder. Researchers in the medical field are beginning to examine the relationship of medical treatments with


Emotional Disturbances individuals affected by the imbalance of chemicals as it relates to improving the functional outcomes of students with EBD.

The medical and educational field continues to collaborate on possible methods to address these particular issues of maintaining functional individuals. Although many people require medical treatment they must be committed to its lifelong requirements, inconsistencies within taking prescribed medications often produce an adverse affect or other serious effects. Chemical imbalances do not correct themselves; they are only treated for temporary relief of undesired symptoms. There are a number of school-aged student and adolescents that suffer from ED. The patterns of behaviors generally follow a pattern of delinquent behaviors if interventions are not successfully implemented. Typical patterns of this disorder range from conduct disorders, to personality disorders, to immaturity, and socialized delinquency.

In conc lusion, there are a number of reasons why students may behave the way that they do. Many studies have determined underlying genetic links to emotional and behavioral disorders as well as environmental ties to student behavior. As mentioned early on in this report, hormone levels cause individuals to act and react in various ways according to biological imbalances. Erikson and Kohlberg based many of their theories on the stages of development; some individuals may be more advanced than others developmentally, while others may appear to be developmentally delayed. We find that most teens and pre-teens face a lot of challenges during the middle school ages as well as the high school ages, finding a sense of belonging, dealing with puberty, dealing with adolescence, trying to find social acceptance. Not all students can adapt as well as others,


Emotional Disturbances therefore teachers must find a way to accommodate these students, counsel these students, and model what is appropriate for these developing kids. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the majority of students classified as EBD are African American males. The disproportionate gap in the field of Special Education is growing wider by the year. The North Carolina disproportionate summary of students labeled EBD/BED for the 2005 school year reports a total of 5,112 African American students classified as opposed to the white population representing 3,907. Those figures are disturbing. See figure 1.1 and 1.2. Special educators are encouraged to place their students in the LRE (least restrictive environment). One cannot determine the LRE alone, IEP teams must base these decisions on student, parent, teacher, and IEP members input. When serving students classified as emotional and behaviorally disturbed placement in the LRE is critical to their level of functioning academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. North Carolina schools are now focusing on Positive Behavior Supports (PSB) with is a team that focuses on promoting safe schools. The North Carolina Positive Behavioral Support Initiative is part of the North Carolina State Improvement Program funded through IDEA. The primary purposes of the grant were personnel development and systems change. Positive Behavioral Support Programs are a way to impact the learning environments in the schools in order to support high student performance and to reduce behavioral problems (http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/positivebehavior/background/). Students with EBD can benefit from this research based approach to discipline and managing safe schools for all. Social and emotional development begins at an early age.


Emotional Disturbances Parents and teachers must constantly collaborate to be able to design instruction where the student actually benefits the most.

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Emotional Disturbances Figure 1.1

References Carver, Joseph M. The "Chemical Imbalance" in Mental Health Problems. http://www.drjoecarver.com/chemical.html Jolivette, Kristine - Stichter, Janine Peck - Nelson, C. Michael - Scott, Terrance M. Liaupsin, Carl J. Improving Post-School Outcomes for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education Arlington VA.

North Carolina Positive Behavior Supports. Background Information. http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/positivebehavior/background/ Raver, C. Cybele. (1988). Young Children's Emotional Development and School Readiness. Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education Champaign IL. Zabel, Robert H. (1988). Emotional Disturbances. Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children Reston VA.)

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