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Attachment Concepts In
The School Setting
What do we call them?
The “troubled “ children
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Conduct Disordered
Oppositional Defiant
Aspergers
Naughty
Crazy
Psycho
Having bad parents
Attachment Theory
• Attachment is the deep and enduring connection
established between a child and caregiver in the
first years of life
• Profoundly influences every component of the
human condition
• Ongoing reciprocal relationship between child &
caregiver
• Infants instinctively seek a “secure base” to
protect & nurture them
Attachment theory
• Attachment process is a “mutual regulatory
system”- infant & caregiver influencing one
another over time
• Helps develop our Internal Working Models
• Begins before birth @ neurological & emotional
level
• Infants needs are met > Trust Cycle, Circle of
Security
Secure Attachment
• Around 80% of pop.
• Learn adults can be relied upon, develop trust &
reciprocity
• Create foundation for identity
• Develop resourcefulness & resilience
• Learn how to communicate
• Handle frustration & distress better
• Have better self esteem & empathy
• Better understanding of negative emotions
Secure Attachment
• Self-esteem
• Independence &
autonomy
• Resilience
• Manage impulses &
feelings
• Long-term friendships
• Prosocial skills
• Trust, intimacy &
affection
• Empathy, compassion &
conscience
• Behaviourial
performance & academic
success
• Promote secure
attachment in their chn
Attachment Disorder
• Failure to develop a secure attachment
• Chn who begin life with disrupted and
compromised attachment are at risk of
developing serious problems
• Vary in severity, but show lack of ability to be
genuinely affectionate with other
• Typically fail to develop a conscience & learn
not to trust
Traits & Symptoms
• Behaviour: defiant, oppositional,
impulsive, lie (crazy), steal, cruel to
animals, fire setting, aggressive,
self-destructive
• Emotions: intense ange & temper,
sad, depressed, moody, fearful &
anxious inappropriate emotional
reactions
• Thoughts: negative internal
working models, lack of cause &
effect thinking, attention &
learning problems
• Relationships: lack of trust,
controlling, manipulative, blame
other for mistakes, vitimises,
indiscriminately affectionate with
strangers, trouble giving &
receiving love & affection
• Physical: poor hygiene, accident
prone, high pain tolerance,
enuresis& encopresis, tactilely
defensive
• Moral: lack of remorse,
compassion & other prosocial
values; identification with evil &
dark side of life
Causes of Attachment Disorders
1. Caregivers:
* abuse / neglect
• Ineffective care
• Depression bipolor
• Substance abuse
• Prolonged absences
• Intergenerational
• Teenage parenting
• Psychological disturbance
2. Child:
• Difficult temperament
• Premature birth
• Medical conditions
• Hospitalistions
• Failure to thrive
• Congenital/biological
problems
• Genetic factors family
histories
Causes of Attachment Disorders
3. Environmental
• Poverty
• Violence : victim or witness
• Lack of support to caregiver
• Multiple out of home placements
• High stress: marital conflicts, family choas,
violent community
• Lack of stimulation
So at school what do we do?
• Be aware of the behaviours & symptoms and
discuss with school counsellor, LST
• Students with attachment disorders are very
controlling, manipulative & self-centred
• They will attempt to control everyone around
them
Tips for Teachers
• Establish eye contact. When
angry they will have excellent
eye contact
• Establish who is the boss:
“That’s right I am the boss,
but fair & good”
• Win control battles: Always
give them a choice
• Recognise attempts to
control:They will do “little
things” to put themselves in
control of every situation
• Allow the child to accept
responsibility: to experience
natural consequences
• Be consistent: confront each
misbehaviour-support good
behaviour
Tips for Teachers
• Remain clam: they are in control when the
teacher “looses it”
• Model and verbalise desired behaviour
• Document interactions & observations: helps in
planning & communication to parents; protects
the teacher
• Request help: supportive staff esp. management
Attachment Theory
• Provides a model to help understand behaviour
• It is a behaviour style of relating to your child,
not about love.
• Traditional therapies aren’t very affective
• Three clients involved: parent-the relationshipchild
The School
• Can be a secure base
• Can promote an understanding & reduce the blame of
self & others
• Can help reduce negative patterns & conflicts, model
language & behaviour
• Can increase positive interactions
• Can help reframe the parents’ concept of the child to
one of the child being distressed/reacting and needing
to learn control
Fear leads to Anger
Anger leads to Hate
Hate Leads to Suffering
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