Social Skills and Emotionally/Behaviorally Disordered Learners
Perhaps the most obvious interpersonal interaction and social skills that discriminate learners identified as emotionally/behaviorally disordered from their nonidentified peers are "externalizing" problems, such as overactivity, aggression, and impulsivity. These learners are often referred to as "hard to manage" (Campbell & Ewing, 1990). Although overactivity and defiance among two- and three-year-old children may be age-appropriate signs of a developmental transition, higher levels of overactivity and failing to follow directions may be an indicator of more significant challenges and the potential to be identified as emotionally/behaviorally disordered (Campbell & Ewing, 1990; Campbell, Pierce, March, Ewing, & Szumowski, 1994). Observations in a clinical laboratory of family stress and overactivity and inattention of a three-year-old child were found to predict teacher ratings of hyperactivity and impulse control at age nine (Campbell & Ewing, 1990). Adults' reports of hard-to-manage behavior in preschool-age boys often reflect actual interaction patterns of activity, impulsivity, noncompliance, and aggression that are likely to lead to identification as emotionally/behaviorally disordered (Campbell et al., 1994).
Another perspective on the longitudinal stability of interaction styles thought to be problematic for school success is the "ill-tempered" temperament. Caspi. Bern, and Elder (1989), explored the "ill-tempered" temperament, which they described as the inability to delay gratification, control impulses, and modulate emotional expression. They found that ill-tempered boys and girls become both ill-tempered adults, and ill-tempered parents. In their study population, men identified as ill-tempered as boys were described as undercontrolled. irritable, and moody. These men experienced downward occupational mobility. erratic work lives, and were more likely to divorce. Ill-tempered girls became women who married men with lower occupational status, were more likely to divorce, and were described by their husbands and children as ill-tempered mothers.
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