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"At Risk" Youth Intervention

Discuss about the Problem Based Learning Activities for Youths.

With older generations perishing and emergence of new generations the mindset of young people has changed drastically. The youths have become highly emancipated and love freedom. In this scenario most of the youths tend to make wrong decisions which can haunt them for the rest of their lives. The youths nowadays want to do whatever they like which could create number of problems for them and hence it is important to have a strong support which could drive to the right track in order to help them lead a normal life just like any other youths. The problems of youth at risk have increased in the last few years which clearly indicate the deterioration of the mindset of the average youths. Almost of half of the middle school students have been put under that column of “at risk” (McWhirter et al., 2013). There have been number of programs which have come up in order to implement different strategies to safeguard the vulnerable youths so that they can come to mainstream life from a life that could destroy their health, academics, and the overall lifestyles. The youths at risk are constantly at risk of getting into crimes, drugs and even human and sex trade. The present study will discuss the intervention plan of an “at risk” 14 years female youth Sally Parker who has had problems with addiction and is vulnerable to health troubles and this has hampered her academics. As a teacher and a counselor the intervention plan has been taken up in order to bring back Sally to mainstream life and develop her academic career. The study will discuss the implications of Sally’s family, school, community and will accordingly suggest intervention steps in this case.

The stream of “at risk” is comparatively vast and it could be defined in different ways in different circumstances. Youths are always vulnerable to social threats due to their inexperience in life and lack of knowledge in the practical world and hence it is very easy for them to believe in different things which a matured will take a moment to think about. The youths are more likely to get disintegrated from the families and leave studies and choose a path which is likely to end up in incarceration. The situation “At risk” could be defined as the circumstance in the life of a child or an adolescent who is likely to have an effective transitional phase from childhood to adulthood. For youth students it mostly means facing academic difficulties due to the distraction of their focus in all sorts of socially considered wrong activities that are mostly illegal (Slesnick et al., 2009). It could be said that students of both genders are likely to get affected especially the age group of 12 to 19 which is considered as the most crucial part of a child’s life (Andershed, 2012). At risk youths are important to be treated effectively and in a soft manner which is extremely important for them to get back to mainstream life. There are number of intervention programs which have been developed in order to support this kind of students and youths so that they could be treated well and supported well to discover the true meaning of life. 

Major Concerns for Sally, Her School, Classroom and Family

At risk youths do not suffer alone and make their families, friends, communities, schools suffer with them and hence it has become a huge threat to the welfare of the society which has made this issue as one of the key issues to be resolved by the counselors and psychologists. It is important to understand the logic why is it some of the children while growing up get involved in criminal felony and some try to avert problems and try to abide by law. It is important to mention that this could happen due to number of problems and hence it is important to demystify these things and help to strategise prevention programs accordingly in order to get the at risk youths and students back to school and help them lead a normal life (Andrews et al., 2001). There are number of risk factors which are created and this becomes conspicuously tough for the schools or the community or the families to prevent their children to get into legal troubles or illegal things. The present case is of the 14 years old Sally Parker who is a school student and ages just 14 years is at risk. It is important to mention that she has discerned with severe disinterest to academics and has other problems and hence it is important for a counselor to take her under the wings to understand the exact problems define them and also focus on developing a strategy that would help to work on the different problems she has so that she could be brought back to school and regular life. As a counselor it is extremely important to understand the key problems Sally faces and causes of these problems which will help me to fight back with all the possible tools to bring back Sally in normal life (Bonino et al., 2005).

Sally is young and is in a precarious situation as she is put under the category of the at risk students. She is young and hence is not aware of the deterioration that is gradually happening to her due to the problems she is facing in her life right now. There are major concerns in her life that not only affects her but also her family, school and her classroom where she spends most of her time.  Since Sally has faced problems that has not only affected her but it has also affected her surroundings. 

The major problems with Sally have somehow taken up smoking and also other kind of addictions (Bowen, 2004). Sally has been confronted number of times by her family but they haven’t been able to properly know how did all this start. Sally has been smoking for a year or so now and hence it has kind of become an addiction for her which is a huge problem for her at this age. It is important to Sally to understand this. On the other hand Sally is growing up and hence is crossing her adolescence where she could have number of implications for smoking. In the recent past Sally has shown increased interest on making boyfriends which is quite normal at this age but since Sally has taken up addiction it might not be normal for her and she might face sexual problems which is quite inevitable in this case. Sally initially showed internalising behavior where she kept to herself and didn’t communicate the problems wither in school or at home which kept the school authority and the family members in dark. Of late Sally has been seen to create huge fuss over smaller things and has increased her smoking and she might be into drugs now which are not clearly known by the family (Camillieri, 2007). Sally now shows rage in small matters and tends to destroy things at home and even in school. The school authority has repeatedly called Sally’s parents to say that her academics is deteriorating and she has been seen not attending classes and one of the worst things is she has been caught smoking in the girl’s toilet.

This has created a problem in Sally’s classroom as most of her friends have come to know about her behavior and especially towards boys and the teachers have tried taking actions which has gone in vain. As it is known that during this period of time a youth is highly vulnerable it has been asserted by Sally’s teachers that her presence in the classroom has polluted the environment. For her other children might be affected and the school wants to take action against Sally if she doesn’t change her behavior soon. The biggest concern for the classroom is to safeguard the children from this problem as the old dictum say “One rotten apple spoils the lot” (Harpine, 2008).

Sally’s parents are highly dejected with this. They are heartbroken as they cannot believe what path their child has opted to take. Both of her parents have tried to make Sally understand about implications but drug abuse which is visible now and this has affected her Parents’ position in the society. They have been criticised for not making handling her properly. The biggest concern for Sally’s parents is to stop seeing this problems and give their child proper treatment or else she might completely get derailed. Sally has experienced number of emotional hiccups seeing her parents fight almost all the time while she is at home. Domestic violence at her home has moved her emotionally and she tried to sneak time for herself where she wanted to blurt the emotions out through addiction (J-F, Pullen & Carrol, 2013).

The community is a bigger and extended family and hence the society wouldn’t want that the environment in the locale to get spoiled which means Sally has to change or else they might be ostracized. Hence in this case the major concern for the community is to safeguard the interest of the young people staying in the society where Sally lives and for that the community might take stern actions against Sally’s family. To safeguard community’s interest means to provide the youths with a favorable environment in order to help them grow up effectively (Brendtro & Brokenleg, 2012).

The problem that lies here is with the behavior of Sally and this is the major problem which is causing all the troubles and hence intervention has to be planned for the problems or the behavior of Sally. Presently the major concern that Sally has is the addiction problem and the rest of the behavior showed are secondary (Capuzzi & Gross, 2014). Addiction is a huge problem and it is important to focus on addiction centered intervention system which would be integrated with in an academic manner to bring back Sally to academics and will help her to get back to normal life. It is important to mention that the problems have started with Sally and her friends and it might relate with the school and hence it is important to assess her behavior to implement effective intervention plan (Moreno et al., 2009). The student engages in this kind of behavior due to drug abuse and this stage of life drug abuse could affect her overall behavior and hence it is important that she is given addiction centered intervention. When she is under drugs she could become highly violent which can affect her behavior and also cause lethal incidents against anyone and hence it is important that she is put under effective rehabilitation program that will help to make amends against her present condition effectively (Garber et al., 2009).

The main goal of the plan is to make Sally completely rehabilitated and for that what is important is social and emotional intervention. Social intervention will focus on getting her back to mainstream life and emotional intervention will flush out the emotional blocks that she has in her mind which has made her take addiction (Fulkerson et al., 2009). Sally faced problems at her place where she saw domestic violence that caused problems in her mind. She has hardly received love and affection due to the constant turmoil at her house and she felt lonely and hence it could be said that this is what made her take addiction. So, the goal of the intervention is to get her back in the school and also again improve her academics (Yung et al., 2010). She would again fit in the society if she gets love, affection and attention. The main goal for the time being would be to get the depression out from her and improve her mindset. Hence the key goals of intervention for Sally presently would be:

  • Emotional intervention for Sally where Sally would be exposed to counseling to understand the needs and wants of Sally.
  • Involvement of the school staffs for development of her academic career.
  • Social education will help her to gain information about addiction especially drug abuse.
  • Smoking cessation program will help her to leave smoking.
  • Communicating with her parents will help them to understand the sophistication of situation so that they could take decisions to give their child a clean environment to live (Durlak et al., 2011).

The strategy will mainly focus on bringing Sally back to school and improve her academics as well as completely rehabilitate her from addiction. As a counselor working on the social aspect of Sally’s life is important. It is about working her out of the depression. Her parents will play a huge role in bringing her out of depression so that she is able to combat drugs and get back to school for proper education (Janssen & LeBlanc, 2010). Sally is depressed and she needs love and affection, in this circumstances her mother will be a key character. A girl is close to her father and hence her father will be important as well. As a counselor I will speak to her parents to cooperate to develop a strong strategy so that they could restore their relationship with Sally that will keep her happy and will accordingly change her behavior towards everything and everyone. Her school and teachers should be able to clearly treat her separately during her convalescence (Arseneault et al., 2010). Overall it could be said that a social and emotional approach to intervention will be effective for Sally.

The most important goal as stated above is to bring her back from the state of depression which has forced her to take up drugs and hence it is the main focus as counselor to eliminate from her life. The evaluation of the achievement of goal would obviously be done through effective counseling and through feedback procedure which will include all the key persons involved in the intervention for instance Sally, her parents, School, classroom and her local community (Berk, 2012). Her change would be seen from their eyes and the feedbacks received from these entities would help to change the intervention accordingly. It is important to mention that Sally is depressed and hence it is important to focus on mitigating the depression of the kid and hence for this constant evaluation is important. The evaluation could be done through regular feedback process or intensive scanning of the patient over a given period of time which would help to change the intervention accordingly (Bernstein et al., 2009). Overall it could be said that the evaluation of the achievement of goal would include all the key entities involved in the intervention.

Conclusion

Sally’s case brings out number of effective insights which will help to work on similar cases in future. It is important to mention that Sally was affected with depression and the main cause of the drug abuse was the domestic violence that she has seen at her home and hence it was important to bring her parents together in order to address the key issues with Sally and hence the intervention plan has tried to involve all the key persons and things in Sally’s life to work on her depression and release her from the shackles of drug abuse.

References

Andershed, A-K. (2012). Girls at risk: Swedish longitudinal research on adjustment. New York: Springer. [https://www.springer.com/psychology/child+%26+school+psychology/book/978-1-4614-4129-8]

Andrews, J.J.W., Saklofske, D.H., & Janzen, H.L. (2001). Handbook of psychoeducational assessment: Ability, achievement and behavior in children.Kent, UK: Harcourt. [LB3051.H31985 2001]

Arseneault, L., Bowes, L., & Shakoor, S. (2010). Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems:‘Much ado about nothing’?.Psychological medicine, 40(05), 717-729.

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Berk, L. E. (2012). Infants, children, and adolescents.

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Bonino, S., Cattelino, E., &Clairano, S. (2005). Adolescents and risk: Behaviors, functions, and protective factors. New York: Springer. [e-book: https://www.springer.com/psychology/book/978-88-470-0290-6?changeHeader].

Bowen, J.M. (2004). School-based interventions for students with behavior problems.New York: Kluwer [LC4802.B69 2004]

Brendtro, L., & Brokenleg, M. (2012). Reclaiming youth at risk: Our hope for the future. Solution Tree Press.

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Camillieri, V.A. (2007). Healing the inner city child: Creative art therapies with at-risk youth. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. [RJ505.A7]

Capuzzi, D., & Gross, D. R. (2014). Youth at risk: A prevention resource for counselors, teachers, and parents. John Wiley & Sons.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta‐analysis of school‐based universal interventions.Child development, 82(1), 405-432.

Fulkerson, J. A., Kubik, M. Y., Story, M., Lytle, L., & Arcan, C. (2009). Are there nutritional and other benefits associated with family meals among at-risk youth?. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(4), 389-395.

Garber, J., Clarke, G. N., Weersing, V. R., Beardslee, W. R., Brent, D. A., Gladstone, T. R., ... & Shamseddeen, W. (2009). Prevention of depression in at-risk adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 301(21), 2215-2224.

Harpine, E.C. (2008). Group interventions in schools: Promoting mental health for at-risk children and youth. New York: Springer. [Electronic resource]

Janssen, I., & LeBlanc, A. G. (2010). Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth.International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 7(1), 1.

J-F, Pullen, D., & Carroll, A. (2013).Adolescent wellbeing: Trends, issues and prospects. Hobart, Tasmania: Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies Publishing.

McWhirter, J.J., McWhirter, B.T., McWhirter, E.H., &McWhirter, R.J. (2013).

Moreno, M. A., VanderStoep, A., Parks, M. R., Zimmerman, F. J., Kurth, A., & Christakis, D. A. (2009). Reducing at-risk adolescents' display of risk behavior on a social networking web site: a randomized controlled pilot intervention trial. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 163(1), 35-41.

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Slesnick, N., Dashora, P., Letcher, A., Erdem, G., & Serovich, J. (2009). A review of services and interventions for runaway and homeless youth: Moving forward. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(7), 732-742.

Yung, A. R., Phillips, L. J., Nelson, B., Francey, S. M., PanYuen, H., Simmons, M. B., ... & Amminger, G. P. (2010). Randomized controlled trial of interventions for young people at ultra high risk for psychosis: 6-month analysis. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 72(4), 430-440.

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