1 Graduate Training Course on Social Work II: Social Work for Children and Youth with Special Needs Class 8. 03.08.09: Behavioral problems; problems with attention; substance abuse; social work roles in schoolsI.Behavioral control and attention problems A.When does a behavior problem become a serious emotional disorder? Some behavioral problems are to be expected in all children and youth. They would usually respond to appropriate limits and rules of parents and teachers. But some behavioral problems indicate more serious psychological disorders. B.The general category of behavioral problems in children and adolescents in the DSM-IV is called “Disruptive Behavior Disorders.” This is the most common reason for referral of a child or adolescent to a mental health professional: the child’s behavior is unmanageable, or out of control. C.These diagnoses are unique compared to other diagnoses in the DSM-IV. These diagnoses are mainly just descriptive of the observed problems. The criteria (discussed below) include only observable behaviors, not feelings or thoughts. Compare this to the diagnoses of depression or schizophrenia. The criteria for those include feeling states as well as thinking problems. The other main difference from other types of diagnoses is that disruptive disorders so closely resemble normal adolescent rebellion or opposition. The challenge for the professional is to understand the difference between age-appropriate opposition to parents, teachers and other authority figures, compared to a more persistent pattern of behavior that might indicate serious psychological distress. ***Even normal oppositional behavior or conduct (such as occasional arguing with the parent) can cause some problems in a family. If a parent came to you with a child who you think is having age-appropriate reactions to something, but the parent thinks something is wrong with the child, how would you explain your opinion to the parent? How would you intervene? D.The DSM-IV includes three main types of disruptive behaviors: •Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder •Oppositional defiant disorder •Conduct behavior disorders II.Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder1– A.Definition: ADHD is defined as a “persistent pattern of inattention or 1For a very good booklet from the U.S. National Institute of Health explaining ADHD in more detail (this could be translated into Vietnamese and distributed to parents), see http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/adhd_booklet.pdf(also posted on the course web page under Class 8.) ***For class discussion or thinking between classes.
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