An invitational environment to treat and prevent emotional deprivation

An invitational environment to treat and prevent emotional deprivation

Child Abuse and Nrglecr. Vol 5. pp. 481-486. Primed I” the U S.A All nghts reserved. 0145-21341811040481~06%0200i0 Copynghr C 1982 Pergamon Prec* Ltd...

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Child Abuse and Nrglecr. Vol 5. pp. 481-486. Primed I” the U S.A All nghts reserved.

0145-21341811040481~06%0200i0 Copynghr C 1982 Pergamon Prec* Ltd


AN INVITATIONAL ENVIRONMENT TO TREAT AND PREVENT EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION A Meaningful Approach to Increase Psychological Development CONNY SEMIAWAN Director, Curriculum Development Center Office of Educational and Cultural Research Development Ministry of Education and Culture Kotak Pos 297 KBY Jakarta, Indonesia


INTRODUCTION THIS PAPER attempts to discuss prevention and treatment of emotional deprivation within the framework of the development of human behaviour. The purpose is to prove that an invitational environment could treat and prevent emotional deprivation and therefore facilitate psychological development. In spite of the complexity of the factors involved in classifying clear-cut categories of maladjustment caused by emotional deprivation in behaviour described within the sample of this study, the major focus has been on observable signs of emotional disorder and prevalence of the conditions as indicated by referral sources (parents, doctors or others). Rutter suggested a tentative classification of emotional and behaviour disorder which can be differentiated to a greater or better extent, i.e.: “neurotic,” “personality,” or “emotional” disorder; “anti-social,” or “conduct” disorder; a mixed group in which neither neurotic nor antisocial symptoms predominate; “developmental” or “habit” disorder, e.g., enuresis; speech abnormalities; “hyperkinetic” syndrome; child psychosis, with onset before pubescence; psychosis developing at or after puberty; mental subnormality; educational retardation as a primary problem [I]. The finding of this study shows that emotional and social deprivation as observed through those behaviours were some of the main variables affecting the psychological development of the child.

THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF AN INVITATIONAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT A learning situation which is based upon an invitational dialogue between two or more people. A dialogue inclusion [2]

is a relationship


between two or more persons that is characterized

(I.L.E.) is formed through


in varying degrees by the elements of

In the dialogue, man meeting man becomes and transcends himself. There are however, according to Buber [3], two different types of human existence, one of which proceeds from the essence of what one really is, the other which proceeds from an image of what one wishes to appear to be. This paper was presented 1981.

at: The Third International

Congress 481

on Child Abuse and Neglect,


April 21-25,


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This behaviour will be expressed in human conduct as a manifestation of an internal state of life. It is suggested that human behaviour which operates upon the environment to produce consequences (operant behaviour) [4] cannot be seen separated from the dispositions which are open possibilities, showing tendencies and directions in human development [5-71. Therefore it is assumed that observable behaviour is an expression of an internal state of “private” thoughts and feelings. These expressions are structured, and stand out in strong relief and can be observed directly 181; thus they can be measured objectively. This behaviour should have the equal opportumty to actualize and fulfil one’s emotional needs, so that the sources of his actions are more internal than reactive, and one feels that he is an individual with dignity and self-respect. A scientific analysis always shifts achievements of human conduct to the environment (observable behaviour). The environment then is also responsible for the changes produced by and arranged in the environment. Therefore the preparations and arrangement of the conditions of the environment should be based upon the inclusion (a meeting) among human beings emotionally, mentally as well as physically. Thus, dialogue is an invitation from the environment based upon a relation between two or more persons in which one does consider the other as a subject (not as an object). Together they work toward a certain goal. The common events are meaningful experiences which are lived through the standpoint of the other. The fundamental fact of human existence, according to Buber’s anthropology is man with man. But which man seeks man has been ignored. Its experience has been annexed to the soul and to the world, so that to an individual can be dist~buted between outer and inner impressions. But when two individuals “happen” there is an essential remainder. which is common to them, but which reaches out beyond the special sphere represents the “sphere of between” (das Zwischenmenschliche) 191.

the sphere in what happens to each other. of each. That

When this happens each of the partners has the other in mind. To meet a child in such a way, that child has to be accepted as he is. There must be a concern for how he feels, what he wants and what he thinks. This situation where one is experiencing the other side (two-sided experience) especially in a learning process, is called an invitational learning environment (I.L.E.). In this atmosphere there will be a “motion-to-act” and to learn from the side of the child, because this interaction which is based upon empathy takes care of his emotional needs. From an early age emotion in our society is driven underground. The child learns to hide his feelings or to disapprove of himself for having intense feelings. But he cannot get rid of his essential and inborn tendencies such as to be angry, frightened and ashamed. However, living also involves a positive striving. The most significant development also consists of striving to gain something, to put potential abilities to use, to enter into experiences that utilize capacities for feeling. doing, and thinking and for sharing with others. Emotion, according to Jersild, means “a state of being moved’ [IO]. It has, besides an intellectual perception, also a subjective feeling and impulse and this can be touched in the “sphere of between” (das Zwischenmenschiche), if each of the partners has the other in mind.

SAMPLE The sample chosen for this study consisted of a group of children from a School for Special Education in Medan, Indonesia, among whom were mentaily retarded, physically handicapped and maladjusted; 80% of them suffered from emotional and social deprivation before they entered the school. The sample consisted of 106 children (age 6- 15). The mentally retarded (86) at several performance leveis, ranging from mildly retarded to total care, was a purposive sample which represented the whole population of 147 children for the School of Special Education, Indonesian Society for the Disabled Children. Fifteen of the 106 children were physically handicapped, five

An invitational


to treat and prevent emotional deprivation


were C.P.s. Eighty-four of the children showed lack of constancy in their emotion and social development when they were enrolled. For about 2 years those children had been observed and measured by teachers, psychologists, counselors, speech-therapists, doctors (psychiatrists), the head of the school (the author) as well as the parents. Ninety-nine of the sample were children of native Indonesians; seven were of Chinese parentage. The children came from socioeconomic backgrounds ranging from a relatively high socioeconomic level (children of doctors, and directors of companies), to a relatively low socioeconomic level (children of drivers and shopkeepers). The children came to school on their own, or were accompanied by their parents, sisters or brothers.

METHOD AND PROCEDURE The school has been carrying out an experimental educational program based upon a dialogue within an I.L.E. for 7 years (1970-1977). Methods in guidance and counselling like the nondirective methods [ 111 combined with a purpose planning, based upon the I.L.E., have been used to conduct co-activities which give two-sided experiences. The child has been considered a valuable human being, invited to come and be placed in an environment which makes it possible for him to have meaningful experiences to meet his needs. The curriculum which is prepared and based upon real-life situations involves capitalizing on the strengths of the child which show potential [ 121. An objective evaluation which is done through standardized tests and a teacher’s evaluation which can be considered a nonstructured evaluation prove that dialogues succeed in producing significant increments in learning and can prevent and treat emotional deprivation. Dialogues definitely facilitate the psychological development of the child. The educational program is based upon several criteria: social skill, academic achievement, ability to use one’s intelligence and the development of the child’s strong points. The evaluation is done case-by-case. The problems of neglected children stem from a variety of causes and these children have special educational needs. Though classification could help us to focus on the child who has such special needs, his condition prompts us to search for improved ways to assess further and provide services. In fact, there should be more penetrating techniques of assessment and treatment because of the complexity of the children’s handicaps. One of the many approaches, which is a common approach for all handicaps, is the profile analysis. The tests and devices developed for this purpose in Indonesia are in an embryo stage. Those tools are developed to gain a reliable analysis of a child’s assets and deficits. However, in spite of the difficulties inherent in this method, there is an urgent need to develop an assessment technique which can be closely related to educational and other treatment. For this purpose, systematic daily observations were conducted in cooperation with the parents. Parents were told what was happening to their children and this was recorded by psychologists, teachers and counselors-and discussed in the case conferences. Intelligence and other personality aspects were broken down into at least some of the constituent processes and skills, so that remedial work could be based on a careful analysis of specific abilities and disabilities. In terms of the emotional and social development, the classification of types of behaviour can be reliably assessed only if we know how common such behaviour is at different ages and at any stage of emotional development or social development for certain groups. Referring to Rutter’s statement regarding emotional as well as behavioural disorder, Mittler mentioned that: 1. The same children may show different kinds of disorder 2. What is considered a problem at one age may be normal (e.g., enuresis). 3. Severity and duration of disorder are important variables 4. No theory has gained sufficient general support for it to 1131.

at different ages. or acceptable behaviour

at another

but are difficult to measure. be used as a basis for classification


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In response to this statement the treatment was always based on a long-term prognosis. The total performance of the child, however. was central to the diagnosis. Besides the A.A.M.D. A.B.S.*-which is designed to provide measures of maladaptive behaviour related to personality and behaviour disorders [14], and was used as one of the main measures to assess emotional disturbances (2nd part-the work done by the psychologists and psychiatrists was also related to the symptom clusters as mentioned before. Particular signs recognized were expressions of physical symptoms in translating fears and anxieties (prone to accidents, worry about health); regression when the child meets frustrating situations in the environment; aggression toward other people-teachers, playmates or parents; hostility; withdrawal into fantasy (daydreamers); phobias; poor social adjustment as a consequence of any mentioned above. In contrast to the children who were assessed as “nonemotionally handicapped,” the children identified as neglected because of emotional problems were discussed more frequently in the case conferences; and psychiatrists as well as psychologists were more involved in their treatment. Bowever, the keynote approach for everybody involved in the counseling was an effort to create an atmosphere where “das Zwischenmenschliche” could be touched. The study endeavored to measure some of the results of the program on the growth and development of the sample after emotional deprivation has been driven off. It tested the hypothesis that an Invitational Learning Environment (I.L.E.) is a means to prevent and treat emotional deprivation and therefore is a meaningful approach in significantly increasing the psychological development of the child. The sub-hypotheses are: 1. I.L.E. 2. I.L.E. 3. I.L.E. Translated

significantly increases the mental ability of the sample. increases the social skill. improves the academic achievement of the child. into null hypotheses,

the above would read:

1. There is no significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores on the StanfordBinet test of intelligence of the children. 2. There is no significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores on the A.A.M.D. A.B.S. of the children. 3. There is no significant difference between the pretest and post-test scores of the achievement test (ev~uation by the teacher) on the children.

PROCEDURE The standardized Adaptive Behaviour validated.


tests used in this study (Stanford-Binet Test of Intelligence and A.A.M.D. Scale) have been translated and adapted to Indonesian culture and life, and

1. Empirical and content validity of the Stanford-Binet Test was established. 2. A.A.M.D. A.B.S. was subjected to content validity. 3. The research instrument labeled “teachers evaluation” was also subjected to empirical and curricular validity (r= 0,91). 4. Rehability of the measurements was established in terms of empirical stability (coefficients of the three measurements was O,99). 5. Usability of Stanford-Binet (S-B) Test and A.A.M.D. A.B.S. have been tried out. The evaluation of the experimental program utilizes data from the pupils records. Pre-test scores and post-test scores were obtained in three measurements, i.e.: *Adaptive


Scale of American


for Mental Deficiency.

An invitational


to treat and prevent emotional deprivation


Table 1. SE Difference Between Two Correlated Means Based on t Ratio of the Three Instruments No. 1. 2. 3.

Difference of SE Between Two Correlated Means Based on t Ratio

Test S-B Intelligence Test A.A.M.D. A.B.S. Academic Achievement

11.48 15.01 5.16

2.63 2.63 2.63

1. Stanford-Binet (TermanlMerrill, 1972 revised) Intelligence 2. A.A.M.D. Adaptive Behaviour Scale (revised, 1974). 3. Evaluation of academic achievement by the teacher.

Interpretation Very significant Very significant Significant


The r-value was computed to determine the difference between the pre-test score and the posttest score. The r test would indicate whether there was any significant difference in the scores which would reflect whether or not there was significant growth in the child (Table 1) [ 151.



The t ratio on the pre-test and post-test of the S-B test shows a t ratio of 11.48 which is very significant at the point 0.01 level. The t ratio obtained on A.B .S. was 15.01 which is also very significant at the point 0.01 level. The t ratio on the Academic Achievement scale was 5.76 which is significant at the point 0.01 level. Thus, the null hypotheses proposed in the study are rejected. This means that I.L.E. provides the environment that makes it possible to prevent and treat emotional deprivation and therefore increases the psychological development of the child [ 161.



To enter into a relationship where there is mutuality, a common purpose and genuine interaction, there must be a degree of sensitivity to the thoughts. This awareness of the other takes place partly in the sphere of emotion and interpersonal relations in which he lives and has his being. The experiences marked by the attitudes taken by significant persons for the child are the ones incorporated into himself. Therefore, those persons have to penetrate into the world of the child in being the most intrinsic components in his environment. Observations during the study showed that emotional deprivation was the main variable affecting the psychological development of the child. Also that social deprivation usually went together with the emotional; however, there were some children who were not socially handicapped but suffered from emotional deprivation (like the children from some doaors and companies’ directors). I.L.E. (independent variable) was shown to be an approach (moderate variable) which increases the psychological development (dependent variable) of the child significantly as measured by his mental ability, social skill and academic achievement. The atmosphere of learning created in an I.L.E. was shown useful in prevention and treatment of children who had suffered from emotional deprivation. Children who are identified as neglected because of emotional problems are accepted and treated as valuable persons in an invitational environment. Valuable and meaningful happenings based upon the anthropological principles of human beings, are directly experienced by the child. I.L.E. actualizes a relationship among human beings (interhuman) which is characterized by inclusion of experiences. Although I.L.E. gives the opportunity to measure observable behaviour, I.L.E. penetrates inside the child to fulfil his emotional needs. The findings in this study infer that


Conny Semiawan

meetings with people and discoveries of objects through dialogues fulfil the child’s emotional needs, and such a situation facilitates learning. The findings also suggest that a subjective phenomenon has been measured in an objective fashion as an ongoing process and could be duplicated in other learning situations. In terms of the emotionally deprived, which includes the majority of cases in this study, I.L.E. was found to be an effective approach to treat and prevent this tendency.

REFERENCES 1. MI’ITLER, PETER, The Psychological Assessment of Mental and Physical Handicaps, 3rd edition. Tavistock Publ., in association with Mithuen & Co. Ltd., London (1978) p, 546. 2. BUBER, MARTIN, Between Man and Man, translated by R. G. Smith. Beacon Press, Boston (1955) p. 121. 3. BUBER, MARTIN, The Knowledge ofMan, translated by M. Friedman et al. Harper and Row. N.Y. (1966) p. 12. 4. SKINNER, B. F., Beyond Freedom and Dignirx. Penguin Book Ltd. London (1973) p. 22. 5. STERN, W., Allgemeine Psychologie. M. M. Nijhoff, Den Haag, The Netherlands (1935) p. 27. 6. MASLOW, A. H., The Further Reaches ofHuman Nature. The Viking Press, N.Y. (1972) pp. 33-85. 7. JERSILD, A. T. et al., Child Psychology. Prentice Hall. N.J. (1977) pp. 171-200. 8. STERN, W., op. cit., p. 27. 9. FRIEDMAN, MAURICE, Martin Buber. The Life of Dialogue. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1976) p. 85. 10. JERSILD, op. cit., pp. 500-504. 11. ROGER, C. R., On Becoming a Person. Houghton Mifflin Co. (1961) p. 190. 12. GUY, M. D. and SEMIAWAN, C., Exiskinoa. An Invitational Environment in the Classroom for Mentally Retarded Children. Dewan Nasional Indonesia untuk Kesejahteraan Sosial. Jakarta, Indonesia (1975) p, 25. 13. MITTLER, op. cit., p. 546. 14. American Association on Mental Deficiency, Adaptiv,e Behaviour Scale, manual 1974 revision. USA. 15. SEMIAWAN. C., Lingkungan Belajar yang Mrngundang Suatu Pendekatan Bermakna d&m Meningkatkun Perkembangan Anak Retardasi Mental. Disertasi untuk gelar Doktor Kependidikan. Institut Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan, Jakarta, Indonesia (1978) pp. 12 I- 139. 16. ANASTASI, A., Psychological Testing. McMillan Publishing Co. (1976).