Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Negative Stereotypes

A recent study from Indiana University revealed that women who were reminded of the negative stereotypes about math and visual processing for females did not display actual learning of the material presented to them. The researchers stated that the women who were under threat of the stereotype appeared to try too hard in a non focused and unproductive manner.

Now consider children with learning disabilities, developmental disabilities or any type of disability. Does the negative stereotypes of the labels effect their learning in addition to their self esteem? Unfortunately there are definitely teachers who never forget a child's label and it effects a child's ability to learn. Do children work too hard at times ultimately ignoring the strategies they were taught to learn in the first place? What differences do you notice when children are reminded of negative stereotypes?

As therapists, do we predict motor behaviors based on negative stereotypes? Here are several ways to avoid negativity:

1. Always be positive. Instead of stating this might be difficult of challenging, assure the child that they can complete the skill or task.

2. Create goals that are attainable. Make sure that during every therapy session a child achieves at least one goal.

3. Reinforce positive qualities. Capitalize on a child's strengths to achieve other goals.

4. Review simple learning strategies.
If you notice a child is trying too hard, review the task in simple steps to reinforce that they know how to accomplish the task.

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Reference: Negative stereotypes shown to affect learning, not just performance. Retrieved from web on 8/10/2010 from http://www.physorg.com/news199370906.html

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