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Kyla is eight years old.

She is often late for school, she is sleepy in class and often doesnt seem to comprehend what is being said. She never finishes any class activities. Other students think she is weird, and say she has a funny look about her. As a first step ideally I would like to meet with, or have the appropriate person meet with Kylas parents and previous teachers and establish whether her difficulties have surfaced recently, or have been noted before perhaps she has already been assessed and has a known problem with concentration and socialisation or has special educational needs. I would also seek information about her familys socio economic status and family issues/home environment. There are many issues that could contribute to Kylas difficulties, but I will focus on three: 1. 2. 3. Intelligence The Family; Social and Emotional Well-being Peers, media and schooling.

1. Intelligence IQ is a predictor of intellectual functioning and is also associated with social and emotional adjustment. (Berk, 2011, pp. 330-332). There is of course ongoing debate about heritability versus environments contribution to intelligence. Ideally educational intervention and enrichment should take place when a child is a toddler or infant as early cognitive deficits increase if there is no intervention. When combined with emotional and behavioural problems, a low IQ predisposes a child to poor psychological adjustment (Berk, 2011, pp.331-349). Poverty/socio-economic disadvantage can also have an impact on IQ due to unemployment, poor family function, family trauma or stress, lack of resources, and parents possibly having a low level of education resulting in a lack of intellectual stimulation, and low emphasis on academic achievement. It may be useful to assess Kylas intelligence and diagnose any learning problems by using an intelligence test such as the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children. Subsequently any learning difficulty or disability can be addressed and improved through a targeted learning program.

GIBSON Melissa

ETP420

Semester 1 2012 2

Assignment 1

given that any delay in development may put a child at risk of a wide range of problems, including social and emotional difficulties, it is important to have a full assessment of difficulties if learning problems are suspected. (Understanding Specific Learning Disabilities, 2012). Intervention appropriate and effective treatment of not only the learning difficulty but of behavioural, social or emotional problems that may also be present combined with family and school support can be successful in helping an individual manage or overcome learning difficulties. (Understanding Specific Learning Disabilities, 2012). If appropriate it may be necessary to rule out any neurodevelopmental disorder such as autism, which causes social, communication and behavioural difficulties (Elliot and Place, 2012). Early diagnosis and intervention can help improve a child with autisms prognosis (Galanter & Jensen p.28) An assessment of Kylas emotional intelligence is also important. Low emotional intelligence is associated with difficulties in interacting with others and with regulating emotions. It is possible to enhance Kylas emotional intelligence. Lessons focussed on improving emotional intelligence help increase a childs capacity to regulate and understand their own and others emotions and improve social skills (Berk, 2011, pp.325-326; http://www.mindful.org.au).

2. The Family; Social and Emotional Well-being Family circumstances have a major impact on childrens social and emotional well-being. Research has shown that the most effective child rearing style is authoritative. An authoritarian parenting style (overly controlling and strict) can result in an anxious and dependent child. A permissive child rearing style (not providing boundaries or control) can cause a child to be antisocial, and to achieve poorly at school. An uninvolved style of parenting is possible in the Kylass case. This type of parent is not involved in the lives of their children, and may be neglectful. (Berk, 2011, pp.569-573). The children of uninvolved parents often show avoidant attachment. They have poor emotional and social skills, and developmental lags resulting in poor academic performance. They can also show signs of anxiety or depression (Elliot & Place, 2012, pp64-66). If Kylass parents are detached and disinterested in Kyla, it could also explain her sleepiness, frequent late appearances and lack of engagement. Her parents may not be supervising Kyla or enforcing her bedtime or ensuring she is organised to get to school on time.

GIBSON Melissa

ETP420

Semester 1 2012 3

Assignment 1

Problems at home including psychological issues, depression, drug use, hostile or violent family relationships can also affect child development adversely, resulting in adjustment, socialization and behavioural issues. This could include physical, emotional or sexual abuse (Berk, 2011, pp 595-600). Berk, 2011, p597 notes that when a child is a victim of sexual abuse, Younger children frequently react with sleep difficulties, loss of appetite and generalized fearfulness. (Elliot and Place, 2012, pp114-116). They can be seen to be unpopular children, inattentive, anxious and have trouble understanding learning tasks Family and social problems may be addressed by opening communication channels between Kylas school family, and offering support. Home visits by an intervention worker to reduce social isolation, help manage relationship problems and provide education in child rearing techniques has been shown to reduce incidence of neglect and abuse (Berk, 2011, pp. 595-600). Divorce mediation and relationship counselling can be offered. Sexual abuse is often disclosed by the child, and in this case the person told must be calm and accepting of the disclosure. Social workers and police will need to be notified and an investigation carried out. (Elliot and Place, 2012, pp114-116).

3. Peers, media and schooling The influence peers, media and schools have on a child is also significant. Kyla could be a rejected-withdrawn child (Berk, 2011, p. 617). A child who is rejected by her peers have few if any friends, participate less in class, have low self esteem and adjustment difficulties. A negative attitude towards school could contribute toward her being late and unresponsive in the classroom. Close emotional friendships are especially important to girls and provide support and help with adjustment. Helping Kyla with developing her social skills as outlined above in The Family; Social and Emotional Wellbeing is one strategy that could be used. Academic tutoring can help her classroom problems. Sometimes the intervention needs to include the parents as interaction problems may stem from communication shortcomings at home. (Berk, 2011, pp. 617-619). Children who are subject to bullying can be unwilling to go to school, become withdrawn and their schoolwork can deteriorate. They lack confidence, can have nightmares and trouble sleeping (Tuning into Kids, 2010). This could all contribute to Kylas difficulties.

GIBSON Melissa

ETP420

Semester 1 2012 4

Assignment 1

An effective school community has an up-to-date anti-bullying policy and that works together to implement whole school behaviour expectations, policies and strategies is important to reduce incidence of bullying (Building Respectful and Safe Schools, 2010). Kyla should be encouraged to discuss the bullying with a teacher or parent so she can be given some strategies to help (for example, teaching Kyla to be more assertive and resilient). Having an older student (ie buddy system) support Kyla can decrease incidence of bullying. The parents and school need to work together to manage the problem. (Effective Schools are Safe Schools, May 2006). In conclusion, with the limited information available about Kyla at this stage I have chosen three themes to discuss the scenario and address possible responses. A more focussed response could be developed once more information is gathered about Kylas developmental background, family situation and home environment.

GIBSON Melissa

ETP420

Semester 1 2012 5

Assignment 1

References Berk, L. E. (2009). Child Development (Eighth Edition). Boston: Pearson Education. Building Respectful and Safe Schools (2010). Retrieved April 28 2012 from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/healthwellbeing/respectfulsafe/default.htm. Victorian Government Cowley, S. (2009). How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching (Second Edition). London, Continuum International Publishing Group. Department of Education & Training (Vic), Effective Schools are Safe Schools (May 2006) Elliot, J. & Place, M. (2012). Children in Difficulty (Third Edition). Abington UK: Routledge Galanter, Cathryn A., Jensen, Peter S. DSM-IV-TR casebook and treatment guide for child mental health (2009). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub. Kidscape (2010). Retrieved April 28 2012 from http://www.kidscape.org.uk/parents/signsof.shtml Mindful Centre for Training and Research in Developmental Health (2011). Retrieved April 28 2012 from http://www.mindful.org.au. Tuning into Kids (2011). Retrieved April 21 2012 from http://www.mindful.org.au/Events/Tuning-intoKids.aspx Understanding Specific Learning Disabilities (2012). Retrieved April 21 2012 from http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/learning/ You Can Do It Education (n.d.). Retrieved April 28 2012 from http://www.youcandoiteducation.com
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GIBSON Melissa

ETP420

Semester 1 2012 6

Assignment 1