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Definition: The Nature of the Problem What is an emotional or behavioral disorder?

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Presentation on theme: "Definition: The Nature of the Problem What is an emotional or behavioral disorder?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Definition: The Nature of the Problem What is an emotional or behavioral disorder?

2 Terminology Emotionally disturbed. Behaviorally disordered. Emotional or behavioral disorders.

3 Developmental Norms versus Sociocultural Expectations Universally recognized. – Muteness, serious self-injury, eating feces, and murder. Sociocultural expectations. – Academic achievement, aggression, sexual behavior, and language patterns.

4 Behavior Shaped by Social Context Interactions Transaction Behavior is formed by the child’s social interaction and transaction (modeling, reinforcement, extinction, and punishment). Example: when dealing with a child with temper tantrums, one needs to consider the appropriate expectations, demands and reactions of his/her teachers, peers, and parents.

5 Types of Disorders and Causes Examples of disordered emotions and behavior. Environmental conditions under which disturbed children grow are varied; some disturbed children grow in conducive to normal development conditions whereas others grow in adverse conditions. Because there are a great number of possible causal factors of disabilities, it is very difficult to determine these causes for the individual child. Externalizing Allen, a 13-year-old, was described as a discipline problem. Examples of his misbehavior include: He justified calling one of his classmates a name by saying that she was making him mad; He justified telling his teacher to shut up and calling him stupid, by explaining that an assignment was “Stupid.”

6 Types of Disorders and Causes Internalizing Schizophrenia Elizabeth has schizophrenia: Since she was in kindergarten she avoided doing work. Although she was in the top reading group in first grade, she was in the bottom reading group in third grade. In fourth grade she was taking Ritalin and thought she was doing better until she got really sick and spent 2 months in the hospital. She started taking Mellaril and feels that she is doing much better because of the medicine and the support she gets from her family and some teachers.

7 Problems of Definition We judge a behavior as normal or abnormal through our subjective cultural norms, rules, and expectations. Therefore, defining emotional or behavioral disorders is difficult. Examples of these difficulties: Differences in conceptual models, differing purposes of definition, the complexities of measuring emotions and behavior, the range and variability of normal and deviant behavior, the relationship among emotional or behavioral disorders and other exceptionalities, the transience of many problems during human development, and the disadvantages inherent in labeling deviance.

8 Problems of Definition Differences in Conceptual Models – Psychodynamic – Biological – Sociological – Behavioral – Ecological – Psychoeducational – Educational – Phenomenological

9 Problems of Definition Differing Purposes of Definitions – Courts – Clinics – Families – Schools States’ definitions of EBD differ. Therefore, a child might be considered “normal” in one state but “disturbed” in another.

10 Problems of Definition Difficulties in Measuring Emotions and Behavior – Psychometric tests – Behavioral frequencies

11 Problems of Definition Range and Variability of Normal and Deviant Behavior – Intensity – Rate

12 Problems of Definition Relationships Among Emotional or Behavioral Disorders and Other Exceptionalities – Mental retardation – Learning disabilities – Communication disorders Transience of Many Emotional and Behavioral Problems

13 Problems of Definition Disadvantages in Labeling Deviance “We cannot talk about things, including disabilities, without using labels (language) to describe them.” (Kauffman, 2004)

14 Problems of Definition Importance of the Definition − Medical – Legislative The Current Federal Definition – Derivation In Bower’s 1981 definition, there is some ambiguity in defining the “inability to learn;” is it inability to learn social behavior or only academic skills? How long does it last? How can we determine that inability to learn is irrelevant to intellectual or health factors? Are health and mental factors separable? What are satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers? What is inappropriate behavior? What are normal conditions? When is unhappiness pervasive? – Status IDEA. Did the definition of IDEA resolve the ambiguity in Bower’s definition? What is the problem of including schizophrenia in the definition?

15 Perspective on Definition A useful definition for educators is one that focuses on the student’s behavior at school settings. Therefore, teachers should be viewed as the most important individuals in the process of decision making and defining disturbed children.

16 Emerging Definition: National Mental Health and Special Education Coalition The term emotional or behavioral disorder means a disability characterized by behavioral or emotional responses in school programs so different from appropriate age, cultural, or ethnic norms that they adversely affect educational performance, including academic, social, vocational, or personal skills and which: (a) is more than a temporary, expected response to stressful events in the environment; (b) is consistently exhibited in two different settings, at least one of which is school- related; and (c) persists despite individualized interventions within the education program, unless, in the judgment of the team, the child’s or youth’s history indicates that such interventions would not be effective. Emotional or behavioral disorders can co-exist with other disabilities. This category may include children or youth with schizophrenic disorders, affective disorders, anxiety disorders, or other sustained disturbances or conduct or adjustment when they adversely affect educational performance in accordance with section I. (Forness & Knitzer, 1992, p. 13)

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