Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Untangling Learned or naughty behaviors from diagnoses !!!!!!????

Untangling Learned or naughty behaviors from diagnoses !!!!!!????

The traditional approach to challenging behavior is to see them as learned, naughty or ' working for ' kids and that is why token economy systems , rewards, punishments, credits, sticker charts are recommended to make kids ' wanna to do ' what we want and be compliant. Psychiatry uses diagnoses to medicate and pathologise kids and recommends rewards and punishments to treat the symptoms. Cps sees challenging behaviors as a product of lacking skills , a learning disability . Diagnoses don't tell much and rewards and punishments don't teach skills.

From http://thinkkids.org blog for clinicians 5/23/2007 -' why diagnoses don't help much'.

'Back in the 50s, a prominent psychiatrist named Thomas Szasz characterized psychopathology as “problems in living.” How apt a description for kids being diagnosed with bipolar disorder! What are their problems in living? They lack the skills to handle frustration, regulate emotions, and solve problems adaptively. Can these skills be identified and taught? Indeed, they can. Can medication be helpful in setting the stage for such teaching? In some cases, yes. Does medication teach lacking thinking skills or solve problems? No, medication does not. Is diagnosing a child with pediatric bipolar disorder a necessary first step? In general, no. '

Many schools use FBA's Functional Behavior Assessments to see what is going on and how the behavior the child is choosing is working for them. CPS believes that the only message we can understand with certainty is that that the essential function of challenging behavior is to communicate to adults that a kid doesn’t possess the skills to handle certain challenges under certain conditions. – see http://www.lostatschool.org/answers/index.htm policies and practice- FBA's

In certain circumstances rewards etc ' can make a kid look good ' but it does not teach skills and as Alfie Kohn says it does not make kids committed to the values you are teaching just motivated to get rewards. In fact there is research showing that rewards actually cause more anxiety and stress and trigger the inappropriate behavior the interventions are supposed to treat . Most consequences which are imposed are neither logical ( maybe to the teacher ) or natural. A natural consequence is like wasting time and missing the bus so you need to wait for the next bus. You will take the next bus and go on your journey , nobody is consequencing you. When the alternative to consequences is to problem solve and give a kid a vision for the future , consequencing a kid for sure is not logical or natural.

There is a place for rewards when it is ' self determined ' . Alfie Kohn's work is based a lot on Deci and Ryan. We need to choose goals and more important enjoy the process of getting there . We may find that the extrinsic motivation of the goal is not enough so we may decide we need something more. The kid's goal is to become proficient at piano playing, he enjoys playing , but he feels he needs some extra motivation. The point is the kid is the author of this , it is not someone trying to manipulate him.

Even when the doggie biscuit offered by the teacher is attractive , the effect is only short term and causes kids to lose interest in what they are doing and choose easy tasks.The way to go is to work through the checklists of missing skills and unsolved problems - see the CPS sites for the paper work , lacking skills pathways inventory , http://thinkkids.org/core/pathways.aspx
, start to prioritize problems and start working on the them collaborating rather than doing to your child. It is not a technique but a process and takes many CPS moments to acquire skills and trust the process. That is why I recommend chatting about general stuff , taking perspectives , noticing concerns and suggesting solutions.I recommend evaluations and labels just to get the accommodations and resources for your child. We have to show schools that children do well if they can and that a only a trusting relationship between teacher an kid can facilitate progress. The book ' lost at school ' and the links are good resources

I hope this helps

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