Disabling behaviour


Before I became an SLSO, I thought that behaviour was a result of choices, and that firm, consistent consequences were the magic bullet. This strategy works in a domestic setting (Supernanny, anyone?), but doesn’t account for the fact that young and growing children aren’t the only ones making decisions in the home. Consider this comparison. Children with Autistic Spectrum disorder have disability status in schools, in recognition of their social, and sometimes intellectual impairment. Children with Conduct Disorder do not have disability status as they weren’t born with social impairment, rather, impairment was thrust upon them; some of the causes might be neglect, abuse, undiagnosed dyslexia, and destabilising experiences in the foster care system. Conduct disorder has even been linked to PTSD. Many of the behaviours leading up to a diagnosis of conduct disorder have not been enacted by the children themselves, but by parents and bureaucracies. As such, there are limits to how much they can ‘own’ their behaviour. Concessions are made for children with ASD, with social classes provided in mainstream schools, and genuine learning support. Teachers and SLSOs can receive specific training and instruction in a multitude of areas for supporting students with ASD, but presently there is no consistent strategy for supporting students with Conduct Disorder, and despite popular misconception, many of their circumstances and resultant behaviours have been thrust upon them. If disability is socially constructed, then we have the power to decide what constitutes disability, and we also have the power to exclude.

If you believe I have missed something important, feel free to comment.

Image from here.


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