Modern childhood is full of challenges. Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure in school to succeed, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home. Children face additional stressors when adapting to new schools or classrooms, navigating sibling and peer relationships, and schoolwork. While many children thrive in the face of adversity and meet their challenges with resilience, others experience setbacks and disappointment when confronting difficulties.
Regarding the latter, it has long been observed that there are certain children who experience better outcomes than others who are subjected to similar adversities. A significant amount of literature has been devoted to the question of why this disparity exists. Research has largely focused on what has been termed “resilience.”
The concept of resilience has as its starting point the recognition that there is huge heterogeneity in people’s responses to all manner of personal and environmental adversities. “Resilience is an inference based on evidence that some individuals have a better outcome than others who have experienced a comparable level of adversity. A very important distinction is that it requires NOT superior functioning, but rather relatively better functioning compared with that shown by others experiencing the same level of stress or adversity” (Rutter, 2012).
The root word for resilience is resilire, which means to bounce back or rebound after being stressed. Although many definitions of resilience have been proposed, all contain two common elements: 1) an exposure to great risk; and 2) corresponding factors that help promote positive outcomes or reduce negative outcomes. Resilience is described as a dynamic development process of responding more positively than expected after facing risk. It is measured by how well someone reacts to a threat using his or her own abilities and available support systems (NCHE [National Center for Homeless Education], 2013). It is usually taken to involve not only the individual’s personal attributes and vulnerabilities, but also those of his or her family, school, and social environment.
In summary, resilience can be defined as “reduced vulnerability to environmental risk experiences, the overcoming of a stress or adversity, or a relatively good outcome despite risk experiences” (Rutter, 2012).
It must be noted that even the resilient child will experience sadness, or distress. Being able to work through those feelings and bounce back time and again is what makes a child into a resilient adult.
What Can Clinicians Do?
While the time that clinicians spend with children is short – usually a half hour to one hour of therapy – we can use that time to promote resilience and help our young clients develop the characteristics noted above.
It is an easy matter to incorporate the concept of resilience into our existing therapy activities and goals. As clinicians we already do many of the things that help children become resilient. One of the main goals of the speech-language pathologist (SLP), for example, is to teach language skills to help children communicate their needs more effectively, thus enabling them to create social connections and networks. Occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs) help with self-care, mobility and essential life skills. Mental health professionals help children develop behavioral control and positive attitudes.
Building Resilience in your Young Client is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.
It has long been observed that there are certain children who experience better outcomes than others who are subjected to similar adversities, and a significant amount of literature has been devoted to the question of why this disparity exists. Research has largely focused on what has been termed “resilience.” Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure to succeed in school, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home.
This course provides a working definition of resilience and descriptions of the characteristics that may be associated with better outcomes for children who confront adversity in their lives. It also identifies particular groups of children – most notably those with developmental challenges and learning disabilities – who are most likely to benefit from resilience training. Course #30-98 | 2017 | 53 pages | 20 posttest questions
- CE Credit: 3 Hours
- Target Audience: Psychologists | Counselors | Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) | Social Workers | Occupational Therapists (OTs) | Marriage & Family Therapists (MFTs) | School Psychologists | Teachers
- Learning Level: Introductory
- Course Type: Online
This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).
Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).