Left Behind at the Front of the Class: Implementing Attachment Theory Counselling for Students with Special Needs

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Loeppky, Dean
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There has been increased interest in the importance of people's social and emotional issues, such that it is being acknowledged that, "[t]he vast majority of children with learning disabilities have some emotional problem associated with the learning difficulty" (Abrams, 1986, p. 190). Additionally, 50% of those under 15 years of age who completed suicide were special education students with a LD (Peck, 1985). The combination of these conditions suggests that individuals working with special needs students require more experience working with mental health concerns. Despite this research, special needs students continue to be underserved with learning support and psychological services. Conversely, research has shown that mental health and wellness services focusing on attachment, behavioral motivation, social emotional learning, positive behavior support and effective counselling approaches can act as a protective factor against depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns for special needs students. Effective approaches that support positive school culture, collaboration between teachers and administration, and informative counselling strategies become crucial when working with special needs students with mental health concerns. This study examines effective approaches to meet the needs for mental health support of special education students to increase awareness and understanding of their learning, social, emotional and psychological needs to improve student success rates, school culture and behavior, promote strong attachments, relationships and rapport between students and staff.
special needs , disability , learning disability
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess