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Adaptive Behavior Skill Training: Teachers’ Attitudes Essay

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Updated: Dec 5th, 2020

Intellectual disabilities are a topic of considerable discussion in Saudi Arabia, as the concerns towards children affected by them and their ability to maintain continued health and well-being are growing. Schools are the primary medium that is expected to teach such people the skills necessary for independence and survival. The purpose of this study is to evaluate teacher attitudes towards children with intellectual disabilities and their need for skill training.

Rationale

It is essential to begin the study by defining the topics of the study. Intellectual disability (ID) is an inability of an individual’s capacities to match the standards set by the society and the educational system specifically (Tassé, Lockasson, & Sharlock, 2016). Adaptive behavior skills (ABS), on the other hand, consist of behaviors such as dressing, maintaining one’s health, managing a household, observing hygiene, eating, social interactions, and personal growth (Shireman, 2015).

Lastly, teachers’ attitudes are the predispositions based on beliefs about teaching and learning that inform an educator’s actions and responses (Rokeach, 1968). Children with IDs can struggle with some ABS, and teaching them these abilities is the job of teachers.

The opinions of a teacher are usually reflected in his or her practice and directly affect the children he or she oversees. Educators’ beliefs greatly influence students’ skill development, both socially and academically (Sharma, Loreman, & Forlin, 2012). However, Alkhateeb, Hadidi, and Alkhateeb (2015) suggest that the attitudes towards inclusion in Saudi Arabia are mixed. Alamri and Tyler-Wood (2016) consider the general opinions of teachers on the matter to be negative when compared to the United States. The trend is potentially damaging to children with IDs, and their continued well-being requires a change in the overall consensus.

The attitudes of the teachers are not the only obstacle to an inclusive environment and the implementation of the necessary skill training. The lack of similar services for adults indicates a need for the skills needed for independence to be taught during school (Papadatou-Pastou & Tomprou, 2015). However, the research by Alahmadi and El Keshky (2019) indicates that the knowledge of teachers on the subject matter is lacking even when they work with children who have IDs. As such, the study also discusses the approaches that can be used to address the concerns and needs of such students.

Changes in the perception of the teachers and other people are essential to the success of the overall program. According to Kasari, Rotheram-Fuller, Locke, and Gulsrud (2012), social growth and improved ABS outcomes are associated with each other. Stoesz et al. (2016) provide an overview of the strategies for teachers to identify children with special needs and address those requirements. The ultimate goal is to enable these students to use ABS in any situation after they graduate and begin living and working independently (Ramdoss et al., 2012). While the task is challenging, it should be possible if the teachers and parents are committed to the goal and have the necessary knowledge.

Conclusion

This study raises concerns over the negative attitudes held by some teachers towards children with IDs and their needs. Such students sometimes need to be taught ABS, which is a process that should be carried out by teachers and parents in combination. However, some educators are opposed to the inclusion of children with IDs in classrooms or do not possess the necessary knowledge and skills to help them. This study aims to raise awareness over the matter and to suggest changes that would help improve the situation.

References

Alahmadi, N. A., & El Keshky, M. E. S. (2019). Assessing primary school teachers’s knowledge of specific learning disabilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 9(1).

Alamri, A., & Tyler-Wood, T. (2016). Teachers’ attitudes towards children with autism: A comparative study of the United States and Saudi Arabia. Journal of the International Association of Special Education, 16, 14-25.

Alkhateeb, J. M., Hadidi, M. S., & Alkhateeb, A. J. (2016). Inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in Arab countries: A review of the research literature from 1990 to 2014. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 49, 60-75.

Kasari, C., Rotheram-Fuller, E., Locke, J., & Gulsrud, A. (2012). Making the connection: Randomized controlled trial of social skills at school for children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53(4), 431-439.

Papadatou-Pastou, M., & Tomprou, D. M. (2015). Intelligence and handedness: Meta-analyses of studies on intellectually disabled, typically developing, and gifted individuals. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 56, 151-165.

Ramdoss, S., Lang, R., Fragale, C., Britt, C., O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., … Lancioni, G. E. (2012). Use of computer-based interventions to promote daily living skills in individuals with intellectual disabilities: A systematic review. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 24(2), 197-215.

Rokeach, M. (1968). Beliefs, attitudes, and values: A theory of organization and change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sharma, U., Loreman, T., & Forlin, C. (2012). Measuring teacher efficacy to implement inclusive practices. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(1), 12- 21.

Shireman, J. F. (2015). Critical issues in child welfare (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Stoesz, B. M., Shooshtari, S., Montgomery, J., Martin, T., Heinrichs, D. J., & Douglas, J. (2016). Reduce, manage or cope: A review of strategies for training school staff to address challenging behaviours displayed by students with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 16(3), 199-214.

Tassé, M. J., Luckasson, R., & Schalock, R. L. (2016). The relation between intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior in the diagnosis of intellectual disability. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 54(6), 381-390.

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