Question 1: How is your disability defined by the federal and state laws?
- Federal Government Definition of Emotional Disturbance:
The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
· An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
· An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
· Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
· A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
· A tendency to develop physical symptoms related to fears associated with personal or school problems
Emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance (as cited in Smith, 2007, p. 238).
Administrative Code for Special Education Definition: New Jersey
"Emotionally disturbed" means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a student's educational performance due to:
1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
3. Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances;
4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems (New Jersey Department of Education, 2006, p.56).
Question 2: What are the developmental characteristics of persons with this disability?
Socialized aggression is classified under externalizing behaviors. Externalizing behaviors represent “an acting-out style that could be described as aggressive, impulsive, coercive, and noncompliant” (as cited in Smith, 2007, p.239). Aggression may be turned toward objects, toward the self, or toward others; in socialized aggression it is turned towards others. Socialized aggression “refers to youth who build or join a community of peers who are involved in delinquent act, ‘wilding’ truancy, tagging, theft, bullying others with acts of violence or threats to life or property” (Ellsworth, 1999). Socialized aggression is associated with antisocial behavior and gang membership.
Antisocial behavior is “characterized by an individual's common disregard for social rules, norms, and cultural codes, as well as impulsive behavior, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others” (“Antisocial”, 2007, section 1). Some common characteristics include (1) persistent lying or stealing, (2) recurring difficulties with the law, (3) tendency to violate the rights and boundaries of others (property, physical, sexual, emotional, legal), (4) substance abuse, (5) aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights, (6) a persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria), (7) inability to tolerate boredom, (8) disregard for the safety of self or others, (9) lack of remorse for hurting others, (10) superficial charm, (11) impulsiveness, (12) a sense of extreme entitlement, (13) inability to make or keep friends, (14) lack of guilt, (15) recklessness, impulsivity (“Antisocial”, 2007, section 3).
A gang is a “group of individuals who through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage share a common identity” (“Gang”, 2007, section 1). Today the word gang “often refers to loosely organized groups that control a territory through readiness to use coordinated violence” (“Gang”, 2007, section 1). It is believed that gang membership provides the emotional and social support for those who lack these support systems at home.
Individuals with socialized aggression suffer socially and emotionally. Although socialized aggression directly affects a person’s social and emotional levels, it can indirectly affect a person’s cognitive and physical levels. For example, if an individual with socialized aggression gets involved with a gang street fight, that individual puts himself in danger of becoming physically harmed.
Question 3: If you were a teacher in a general education classroom, what information and strategies would help you best support a child with this disability?
There are many strategies available that may help a general education teacher deal with an individual with socialized aggression. There are three sets of strategies that can be used for individuals with socialized aggression: preventing problems, teaching strategies, and expectations and consequences. It is the educator’s responsibility to closely observe the individual in order to predict and prevent aggressive outbursts from occurring. It is also the educator’s responsibility to provide a safe environment within the classroom for all students. The following strategies may also be useful in dealing with classroom misbehavior in general.
- Provide success oriented tasks
- Try for a ratio of least 2:1 positive to negative teacher comments
- Teach conflict resolution and life skills
- Provide support and orientation during transition times
- Arrange furniture and equipment so all parts of the room can be seen
- Reduce the possibility of bumping and shoving by eliminating congestion
- Establish clear consequences for inappropriate behavior, e.g., a short period of time-out in a designated time-out area
- Keep students consistently on-task with learning activities
- Use close supervision when necessary
- Use direct instruction to present new skills
- Give individual assignments instead of group work
- Present assignments that are easily understood; keep the work load short and the time limit short; reinforce as quickly as possible
- Alternate physical activity and paper-pencil tasks
- Avoid criticism and punishment; try to establish a positive, enthusiastic, and respectful atmosphere
- Mark correct answers rather than incorrect ones; avoid red pencil
Expectations and Consequences:
- Keep rules to a minimum, no more than five; state rules in positive terms
- Involve students in developing the rules; keep reprimands private to avoid confrontation and humiliation
- Once a consequence is initiated, carry it through to a satisfactory conclusion
- Avoid - requiring confessions, challenging a student to misbehave, arguments and confrontations, forcing apologies, mass punishment for the misbehavior of a single student
- Involve the student, parents and school administrators in planning consequences
- Establish clear consistent rules for routines and behavior
- Maintain consistent consequences (SNOW, 2007)
Question 4: What resources would help you as a teacher to serve this child?
The following resources may be used to help an individual with socialized aggression:
- School Counselor:
The school counselor provides psychological and emotional support. The counselor is responsible for recording and analyzing information that the student gives. This resource is useful because it informs the educator of personal or family issues that may be adding to the student’s behavior issues.
- Functional Behavior Assessments:
Functional Behavior Assessments is a process in which interviews, observations, and environmental manipulations are conducted to determine “why” certain behaviors occur. This resource is useful because it allows the educator to determine the cause of the behavior and to help identify actions that will effectively remediate extreme patterns of behavior (Smith, 2007, p.253).
- Mental Health
(formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. With more than 320 affiliates nationwide, MHA represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation- everyday and in times of crisis. MHA provides extensive information on emotional and behavioral disorders and help with finding and paying for services. This resource is helpful because it provides information and services for the educator and family of the individual with emotional disturbance. America
- Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD) website- http://www.ccbd.net:
The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD) is the official division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) committed to promoting and facilitating the education and general welfare of children and youth with emotional or behavioral disorders. CCBD provides monthly updates, publications, and community news. CCBD also holds conferences for its members. This resource is useful because it provides information and support for both the educator and family of the individual with emotional disturbance.
- Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCHM) website- http://www.ffcmh.org:
The Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCMH) is a national family-run organization dedicated exclusively to helping children with mental health needs and their families achieve a better quality of life. FFCMH is family-driven and provides families with local chapters. Family-driven means families have a primary decision making role in the care of their own children as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation. This resource is useful because it provides information and support for the family of the individual with emotional disturbance.
Ellsworth, J (1999). Emotional and Behavioral Issues. Retrieved November 25, 2007 from http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jde7/ese504/class/advanced/EBD.html.
New Jersey Department of Education (2006). Chapter 14: Special Education:
Smith, D.D. (2007). Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference (6th ed.).
Wikipedia (2007). Antisocial Personality Disorder. Retrieved November 25, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder#Symptoms.Wikipedia (2007). Gang. Retrieved November 25, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gang.