Unformatted text preview: Graduate Training Course on Social Work II: Social Work for Children and Youth with Special Needs
Class 1. 27.07.09: Introduction and course overview. Social work foundations for children, youth and families. Terminology of the course. What do we mean by "special needs"? Social work and child development. Theoretical foundations of social work as they apply to work with children, youth and families. I. Introductions and Overview of Course A. Class Structure 1. Course web page with primary readings: http://www.sjsu.edu/people/edward.cohen/courses/vnu_specialneeds/ This page does not require login or passwords. (Note to Faculty/Instructors in the class: the reading list contains copyright-protected material. Please obtain copyright clearance from publishers if you plan to use the material in your own classes.) 2. Class will be a combination of lecture, small group and full class discussion 3. Learning objectives (from Syllabus) 4. Relationship of course content to your own work in Vietnam Types of special needs covered 1. Abused, neglected, homeless, or victimized (Class 2) 2. Genetic and/or developmental disabilities (Class 3) 3. Physical illness, disability, physical trauma (Class 4) 4. Exposed to violence in family or community (Class 5) 5. Emotional/behavioral problems (Classes 6-8) B. C. Note--this is not a complete list, and there is much overlap in the categories. For example, a child who was abused or victimized might also have emotional/behavioral problems as a result. ***What others are missing from this list? D. For each type of special need (population) we will address: 1. Definition and description of the special need--what differentiates this issue from others? What are its basic characteristics? 2. Major criteria for social work assessment--how do we know when a child has this special need? What are some of the standard assessment instruments and protocols currently being used? ______________________________________________________________________________ 1 ***Questions for class discussion or for thinking between classes. 3. Treatment objectives with evidence-based or typical interventions--what are the current practices to address this need? What do we know about their effectiveness? What are the gaps in knowledge? 4. Relevant service systems and roles of social workers--what are the service systems (such as government agencies or NGOs) designed to address this special need? What are the gaps in services, or policy, that affect whether or not children, youth and families get what they need? II. Social Work Foundations--Children, Youth and Families ***Think about receiving a referral about, or meeting for the first time, a child having some type of difficulty. How would you proceed? What information do you want to find out? To whom should you talk about the child? The following are important theories or frameworks used in the western social work curriculum. A. Ecological model 1. People's actions, motivations and social interactions take place in an environmental context 2. This is very congruent to social work--the model allows for assessment and intervention at various levels a) b) c) d) Individual Family/group Community Larger society 3. Ideally, a good social work assessment or intervention covers all levels, since the potential "cure" or resolution of the presenting problem may be in one or more of these areas 4. The framework allows for a dynamic view--people change over time, and their environment changes over time. ***Think about your own situation as a teacher, student, or practitioner--how did you get interested in social work? What were the influences from individuals, family, your community, your society? B. Developmental perspective 1. Focus on the life cycle from early infancy, through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, and older adulthood 2. Each life stage has its own relevant developmental milestones 3. Individuals, families and groups have their own developmental pathways 4. For individuals, development occurs in multiple domains or areas: ______________________________________________________________________________ 2 ***Questions for class discussion or for thinking between classes. a) b) c) d) e) Biophysical Cognitive Social Moral judgment Among others ***What is "normal development"? Who decides what is `normal'? Are we always at the mercy of biological developmental processes? C. Risk and resilience factors--the interaction of the individual with his/her environment. These factors shape our experience and actions. 1. Risks are factors that predict how vulnerable people are to adversity. There are two main types of risks--traits and environmental factors. a) Traits are factors inherent in people such as genetic predisposition, physical/neurological impairments, etc. b) Environmental factors can modify, moderate, or change how these risks are expressed. They may include family instability, community disruption, poverty, lack of resources, etc. c) Research has shown that these two types of risk interact. For example, someone born with a genetic predisposition for mental illness may in fact never show symptoms of the illness, depending on the extent of environmental risk factors. ***What types of traits might be more likely to show up as problems later, i.e. which ones may be less likely to be influenced by environment? 2. Resiliencies are factors that influence how well someone handles adversity. A person can have many traits or environmental factors working against them, but may develop resilience in other ways. Examples: A child born to poverty may succeed if provided the right educational opportunities An infant with neurological problems at birth may learn to compensate for them in school later when provided with the appropriate skills training An adolescent victim of violence or abuse can learn to cope effectively with future stress given the right amount of support at the right time ______________________________________________________________________________ 3 ***Questions for class discussion or for thinking between classes. 3. Risks can also be described as problems. Resiliencies can also be described as strengths. ***Ask yourself what you think about this statement: "Children can outgrow most problems on their own." D. Social work approach to services for children with special needs 1. Reduce risks, increase resiliencies--the "strengths-based approach" 2. The importance of support, coping and functioning a) Support: the availability of concrete help, social support, and services (including both formal and informal types of help) to the child, family and community b) Coping: the ability of a child and family members to handle adversity by utilizing strengths c) Functioning: the ability of a child to survive, thrive, and succeed in their day to day life as well as succeed in accomplishing developmental tasks 3. Addressing all levels of the ecological context--individual, family, group, community and society III. Social Work Services--overlap and differences from other fields ***Class or small group discussion: What are the differences and similarities of social work practices compared to others (educators, doctors, psychologists, nurses, etc.) in the areas of child development and special needs? ______________________________________________________________________________ 4 ***Questions for class discussion or for thinking between classes. ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course SCWK 231 at San Jose State.