Academic journal article International Public Health Journal

Enhancing Quality of Life: Teaching Children Who Display Challenging Behaviors to Succeed

Academic journal article International Public Health Journal

Enhancing Quality of Life: Teaching Children Who Display Challenging Behaviors to Succeed

Article excerpt

Introduction

Understanding and investigating ways to enhance quality of life (QOL) continues to challenge researchers. The current paper demonstrates much communality with quality of life in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field, and illustrates the importance of fundamental issues applying across fields of human endeavor regardless of initial ability/ performance levels. Encouraging and supporting empowerment through improvements in self- management and self-esteem are very important considerations when studying QOL (1). These critical foundational components are also central in the development of the 'Habits of Mind' (HOM) approach, which are central to this paper. According to Costa and Kallick (2), achieving success [and ultimately enhancing quality of life] is closely linked to both the development of problem solving and thinking skills in the individual. When these skills become embedded into the life of the school and families within the school community, the HOM approach becomes the way problems are solved by individuals and more generally, 'the way we do things around here The satisfaction that children and adults gain from successfully solving life's problems is evident in numerous studies and forums (3-5). When assessing QOL outcomes, satisfaction with life (SL) is an important consideration (6). While QOL includes a wider perspective incorporating health, gender, age, education, social functioning and occupation, SL is more fully understood as 'contentment' which is connected with positive emotions and happiness, a more subjective perspective of well-being relating to the difference between actual achievement and one's plans and assumptions (6). While many researchers do not distinguish between these terms, whether we consider SL as part of, resulting from or separate from, the wider QOL perspective, the above embedded components are very important and require careful consideration within the mix. Wellbeing and contentment in QOL is greatly enhanced when children feel that they have influence over their life choices and skills to solve their own problems. Teaching children with additional needs, behaviors that can assist in the development of these problem solving skills is arguably essential to improving SL and the resulting QOL.

This paper illuminates the numerous communalities with QOL in the intellectual and developmental disability field, highlighting the significance of fundamental issues applying across different fields, exploring individual diversity, the value of shared communities and examines what is important when striving for a meaningful future. Sharing these ideas of interest enriches both areas and is an important reason for furthering joint discussions between those working in different areas with similar challenges. More specifically in this context the focus is on the thought-provoking HOM approach to teaching thinking skills and problem solving. The author explores the literature on specific underlying thinking skills that can be taught to enhance QOL, building capacity for wellbeing, resilience and connectedness in children who display additional needs related to challenging behaviors.

Challenging behaviors

Considerable space in the literature is given to the impact of problem behavior on QOL for children and adults (7-9), and the difficulties of inclusion into the school community for children who display more challenging behaviors (7-11). This literature clearly highlights both teachers and families primary concerns and evident struggle with specific children in their care. Often teachers are required to work with students who can display very challenging behaviors, striving to teach these children to understand both their rights and responsibilities in school and the community. Teachers can sometimes feel concern or even guilt for the time needed to work with individual students. Porter reminds us that developing self- discipline and self-monitoring skills in children, 'is not a diversion from 'real' teaching but integral to it: education must first and foremost, be about teaching people to live together peaceably, for which they need to learn to consider others and to solve problems'(lO). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.