Abortion As A Legal Women’s Right University Essay Example

Abortion refers to premature termination of a pregnancy resulting in the death of the unborn child.

The act of abortion dated back into human history and was practiced in many traditional societies where methods such as the use of sharpened tools, botanical products, and exerting pressure on a pregnant woman’s abdomen were used to carry out an abortion. But due to advanced civilization, these traditional methods have gradually changed into modern and clinically safer methods. As a result, abortion has become an option for many women, especially those in the young age bracket who fall prey to unprotected sex due to the promiscuous nature of many societies today. Crude methods of abortion cannot, however, be ruled out because of the secrecy what many women want to maintain about the issue and, as a result, end up in backstreet abortion.

Several reasons lead to abortion, but the most common is unwanted pregnancies that often result from unprotected sex, incest, rape, or even failed contraceptive methods. In the case of incest or rape, for example, pregnancy may come at a time when the woman is least prepared to raise a child, and the fact that there is normally no relationship between father and mother at conception has often led to a popular view that it is unhealthy to bring such children into the world because of the social injustices they are likely to experience. Abortion can also be recommended by medical experts in special cases brought about by complications during pregnancy, and the urgency to save the life of the mother becomes a priority. Examples of such complications are severe hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and kidney disease, among others. Doctors may also recommend abortion in cases where abnormal development of an unborn child is detected to avoid the birth of a very abnormal child.

Abortion has become a very sensitive issue in society because of the impact it has on most societies, especially in matters relating to morality and public health.

Laws regarding abortion are varied in different societies depending on the approach of such societies towards the issue and different methods of approach are normally determined by a society’s moral standing concerning abortion as well as the religious and cultural aspects. In the USA and Canada, for example, abortion has been legalized. In many societies, abortion is, however, regarded as a social evil that should be done away with, and anti-abortion campaigns are very common in many societies worldwide, and most societies hold no other view other than that abortion is extremely dangerous to the person on whom it is carried out and to society at large and that it is also morally wrong.

This is because abortion has been a leading cause of death to many young women worldwide, an issue that has raised great concern from both anti-abortionists and those seeking its legalization.

Pro-abortionists argue that legalizing abortion will lead to better accessibility of clinically induced abortion as well as reducing deaths that result from backstreet abortions. They also argue that legalizing abortion will offer a solution to rape and incest victims who should not be forced into premature family life. But legalizing abortion is not making clinically induced abortion affordable to all who wish to have an abortion, and backstreet abortion still remains an option.

In societies fighting against abortion, legalizing it may cause serious setbacks to campaigns against abortion. This is because of the likelihood that many women might misunderstand the whole legalization issue and use abortion as a method of contraception or an easy way out for any unwanted pregnancy. Legalizing abortion could also lead to increased rates of promiscuity in society, leading to worse social problems such as increased rates of sexually transmitted illnesses and HIV AIDS. The highest percentage of abortions are avoidable as they result from pregnancies incurred through irresponsible sex, and legalizing abortion could mean that society is therefore allowed to kill. This might lead to a situation where people might start pushing for the legalization of other social evils such as murder. Abortions carried out on medical grounds are very minimal in most societies, and legalizing abortion will lead to the decline of morality in societies where it is already so much on the decline. There is a reduction of the value attached to human life, and the right to life cannot be respected anymore.

Abortion is cruel and inhuman and has been described as the worst kind of injustice that can be carried out against an unborn child. It takes advantage of the helpless and defenseless nature of an unborn child and denies them the most fundamental human right, the right to live. Through abortion, such a child is also denied a chance to grow up and become somebody in society, and through the process, societies have lost great men and women. From a religious or moral point of view, any woman who has procured an abortion except on medical grounds appears very inhuman, selfish, and lacking a moral standing. In practically every human society, the right to life is considered natural and God-given, and there is a general feeling that every human being must have a chance to it. Due to this feeling, a woman who has aborted is normally considered a murderer. Considering that the persons procuring abortion have enjoyed the right to live, it is only very fair and natural that they extend this right to the unborn children.

Abortion is a risky act to the health of a woman as it may lead to complications such as excessive bleeding resulting in anemia or death and barrenness.

In the case of barrenness, a woman lives the rest of her life under psychological torture, always thinking about the child they could have had and blaming herself for her current predicament. To avoid such type complications, there is always the option of giving birth to a child and giving it up for adoption. This will reduce the risk of death, sickness, and childlessness.

But outlawing abortion could lead to the birth of very many unwanted children in a society where every child born should feel wanted. Such children may, in turn, fall victim to child abuse and neglect because of a lack of proper relationship between them and their mothers. Outlawing abortion is also discriminatory to women from the low-income social group because as long as they are unable to seek proper medical attention, they will always resort to crude and illegal methods of abortion. Although abortion is not any less traumatizing than rape or incest, it could be a good alternative for those victims who are not ready to give birth to unwanted children.

Laws against abortion, especially in developing nations, have resulted in the death of very many women, especially those in the young age bracket. This is because the failure to legalize abortion has not stopped women from doing it, and backstreet methods that lead to the deaths of very many of them have remained an alternative to clinically procured abortion. Even if abortion cannot be recommended as a birth control method, it should be made available as an option for unwanted pregnancies in very young girls who are often victims of rape and incest and are not yet mature to raise a family.

Legal abortion helps to protect the lives of women exposed to the danger of death from complications related to pregnancy and childbearing.

There are several possible solutions to the issue of abortion, and although these may vary in different societies, the need to educate women on the importance of using contraception is of notable importance. Contraception will act as a control method against unwanted pregnancies that are a major cause of abortions. Women should be educated on the importance of responsible sex, the dangers and traumatic effects of abortion, and possible alternatives such as adoption, and perhaps society should also take more responsibility for instilling moral values on its members, especially young women. In such a way, the root cause of abortion can be addressed instead of addressing the act itself.

Bibliography

Edward Richards P and Katharine Rathbun C. Medical Care Law.Medical laws and legislation/ United. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 1999.

Heritage House ’76. Abortion, Your Choice, and Alternatives. 2006. Web.

Lockhart Ted. Moral Uncertainty and Its Consequences. Oxford University Press, 2000.

Mappes, Thomas.A., and Jane.S. Zemabty. Social Ethics. Morality and Social Policy. 7th ed. New York, NY:McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Marianna, Cara J. Abortion: A Collective Story. Group Abortion/ United States. Greenwood Publishing, 2002.

Riddle, John M. Eve’s Herbs: History of Contraception and Abortion in the West. Harvard University Press, Abortion, 1997.

Malaysian And Thai Tourism: Promotion Of Cultures

Abstract

Tourism the abstract thing now a day is the best service to earn a lot of tourism currency. The importance of this sector is growing rapidly due to geographical, political traditional, social and economic concerns. Now, tourism is going to be for the Asian countries for the rent few years. Malaysia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Singapore are the most closable destination for the tourist. While the tourist comes to a country for their recreation or for there the tourists come to close with the local people and culture. There they share their culture, views, news and even their values which do effects on both the tourists and local’s culture. This effect can either be positive or negative. If we think it from the positive point of view, then we can see that when tourists visit to a country there they spend a handsome amount of money which ultimate contribute to the GDP of that country and an amount of it goes to the hand of the local people.

When the people have handsome income then their live standard comes up and upgrade their values and beliefs, tradition, nationalism and thinking, but one thing can’t be left unmentioned here that is in some cases tourism turn the local culture as commodities. Here, our discussion will be on the cultural changes of Thailand and Malaysia through tourism. Thailand is one of the leading tourism destination of tourism sector to total export was 14% in 1995. For the last few years it has been rising dramatically. Now Thailand is drawing the attractions of tourists with the slogan, “The land of smiles”. This tourism sectors has created a lot of employment opportunity for the local people. From this they are generating income and increasing this living their values and developing this culture. The same thing is for the Malaysia. Malaysia with its multiculturalism is home to delightful festivals, celebrations and feasts all round the year. The Malaysia celebrates their cultural festivals nationwide as well as state-wide.

The Analyzing Factor as ‘Religion’, which Mobilizes the Culture

In the age of market economy, every capitalist country deserves the free entrance to another country’s economy and interact some common culture between them. However, tourism is potential part of economy. Before proceeding to the main point it will be better to define tourism and culture. Tourism is an economic component of a country that may be influenced by the components of culture such as nationalism, traditions and beliefs, popular culture, ethnicity gender or religion indigenous culture etc. However, here ‘Religion’ is a most important factor to discuss that effects Tourism most. According to Esposito and Voll (1996), in the present age, the Muslim groups involve themselves into the domestic process. Muslims believe that their democracy is standing belongs with their religion, though their government or political system, ultimately, influenced with a global change.

Culture, Religion & Tourism and their Relationship

The word culture comes from the Latin word ‘Cultura’, which is related to cult or worship. In broadest sense, this term refers to the result of human interaction. So, “culture is the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and generate social behaviour. This knowledge forms values and creates attitude and influences behaviour.

There are some distinguishing nature of culture, those are:

  • Learned: Culture is not inherited of biologically based, it is acquired by learning and experience.”
  • Shared: People as members of a group, organization or society share culture; it is not specific to single individuals.
  • Trans-generational: Culture is cumulative; it passed down from one generation to the next.
  • Symbolic: Culture is based on the human capacity to symbolize or use one thing to represent another.
  • Patterned: Culture has structure and it is integrated, a change in one part will bring change in another.”
  • Adaptive: Culture is based on the human capacity to adopt or change.

Tourism is a significant economic sector of a country. Tourism is like as via of decentralizing the culture and sharing the amusement of fascinating things or festive. However, through tourism culture is diversified one country to another. It creates a global culture across the countries and makes the culture with mixing up to another via tourists.

Tourism of a country, depending on some conditions, attracts or motivates the people to a country’s culture and tradition. The conditions are as the attractions of traditional beliefs, variation of tribes, geographical fascination, structural beautification, religious value, festivals and cultural functions, natural heritage, and other facilities for tourism. All of these things are related to one’s most important things like economy, culture and society. Ultimately, tourism is directly or indirectly related to the economy, culture and society.

Culture is the superior determiner to analyze a country’s whole socio-economic characteristics. The performance and output of tourism depend on the cultural strength of one. Religion is the part and parcel of culture, which ultimately affects the culture. Culture cum Religion is the thing which mobilizes every sector of a society and economy cum tourism. Culture is the superior determiner to analyze a country’s whole socio-economic characteristics.

Constructions of Culture and Promotion of Tourism (Malaysia vs. Thailand)

Tourism of Thailand: In perspective of culture

Kingdom of Thailand is a South- Asian country. Bangkok is the capital city. Thailand’s total area is 514000 square kilometers. It has a population of 61797751 (July 2001). Among this population Thai ethic that’s ethnic origin lies in India, China or elsewhere with ethnic distribution as- Thai (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hill tribes). And by 2050 its estimated population is 70295643. Thai and English languages are mostly used here. Literacy rate is 93.8% (1995). Buddhism is the predominant religion here. 95% of the total populations are Buddhist (‘Theravada Buddhism’) (1991). Beside them 3.8% Muslim and 0.5% Christianity people live here. The government type of the kingdom of Thailand is constitutional monarchy. Tourism, textiles, garments, tobacco, cement, etc. are the main industries. Main agricultural sectors are rice, cassava, rubber etc. Tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten etc. are common natural resources (Tourismthail).

Tourism of Thailand: In perspective of culture.

Thailand is populated with fun-loving, smile-faced, happy-go-lucky people. People are proud for their fighting spirit. Thailand was known as Siam formerly. The important fact is that Thailand has never been colonized by any foreign power. It is the result of their struggles for centuries to hold their independence. This country has been influenced by different foreign cultures through their tourism specially. But still Thai culture has unique stuffs. According to Kislenko (2004) states that the development of culture remains in various sectors of society such as “Literature, Theatre, Dance, Music, and Film, Art, Architecture and Design, Cuisine and Traditional Dress, Gender, Courtship, and Marriage, Festivals and Fun, etc.”

Esterik (2002) concentrates on how the Thai state has fashioned a modern Thai identity and in the process created certain images of the Thai women. Esterik’s discussion of these events shows how women and heritage site have both become commoditized and available to tourists as icons of Thailand. Esterik argues that the Thai concerned with beauty and appearance is “a bridge linking national identity and public culture to prostitution and sex tourism” (Esterik, 2002, p.131). Esterik’s research found that “provincial governors are encouraged by the Tourist Association of Thailand (TAT) to hold beauty contest to promote tourism and sales of local products” “Further local contests facilitate recruiting the most beautiful girls into prostitution” (Esterik, 2002, p.153).

It is said that commoditized sex is not new in Thailand. Daughters repay debts to their parents by getting married wealthy men who can supply bride wealth, or by becoming a prostitute and sending remittances home. Either case sexual relations are not without cost.

Tourism of Malaysia: In Perspective of Culture

Tourism of Malaysia: In Perspective of Culture

Malaysia is located in the south of Thailand in south-east Asia. Geographically it has an area of 329,758 square kilometres (127,320 square miles). The size of population is likely as 21,793,000 in July 2000 and current population growth rate is 2.01%. Malaysian economy mostly depends upon manufacturing, agriculture, technological acknowledgement, tourism, natural resources such as tin, oil and gas, etc. (Malaysia – Country overview). Malaysia is almost an attractive tourist country in the world. To the Malays (native born Malays, known as Bumiputras) and the people from abroad, it’s almost fascinating.

With the view to geographical aspects, religion, indigenous culture and costume, traditional belief and community, Malaysia is enlightened by itself along with distinct features. Above upon average, this country deserves the priority to the Tourists choosing a Southeast Asian country. Though Most of the Malays are Muslim, the govt. of Malaysia announces it as a moderate Muslim state. Hourdequin (23 November 2007) explains overwhelmingly the influence of Islamicist threat in case of tourism. Hourdequin (23 November 2007) states that-

“To deal with the Islamicist threat, Abdullah Badawi – Mahathir’s hand selected successor – has continued in a tradition of moderate Islamic leadership consistent with the concept of Islam Hadhari, or ‘civilizational Islam’” (Hourdequin, 23 November 2007).

Locally and to the visitors, Malaysia is called as ‘Paradise’. Visitors, at a glance, like this zone as well as like its geography, culture, tradition, belief and nationalism. “Malaysia is paradise. Its sun-drenched eaches, enchanting islands, diverse flora and fauna, forest retreats and magnificent mountains are among the best in this region” (about-malaysia.com. Mar-2006). Malaysia is a wonderland of south-east Asia. It’s the land of multi-dimension and mythic culture. “A multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society,” (Bhattacharya, 2005). With the combination of the community of the Malays (58%), Chinese (26%), Indians (7%) and other ethnic groups (9%) make a mix culture over Malaysia. The largest communities, Malays are Muslims. Though they maintain religious beliefs and restrictions of Malaysian law, they maintain respects upon Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and others. “All of Malaysia’s communities open their doors to members of other cultures during a religious festival–to tourists as well as neighbors. Such inclusiveness is more than just a way to break down cultural barriers and foster understanding. It is a positive celebration of a tradition of tolerance that has for millennia formed the basis of Malaysia’s progress” (InterKnowledge Corp., 1996-2006).

Tourism of Malaysia: In Perspective of Culture

This religious belief of Malays makes a respective environment in various religious communities through internal and external of the country. Hourdequin (23 November 2007) said, “Islam has always played a significant role as one of Malaysia’s important core values”.

And this trend enhances the opportunity of tourism. Besides this, another incentive is the tribal groups. There are a number of tribal group (5% of total people) remaining with a distinguishing culture. The ancient native people of Malaysia are known as the tribal group. The majority of the tribes live in the Sarawak and Sabah. Major tribe group of Sarawak is ‘Dayak’ who still live in traditional ‘longhouses’. Another tribe is Orang Asli, lives in peninsular Malaysia.

People of this country have been surviving in the existence of their culture and costume for a long period of time and they are continuing their successes. With preserving a balance with nature, this country is possessed as a coloured and beautiful one with the touches of Malays and tourists. Many functions and festivals colour this ‘Paradise’ respectively whole over the year. That’s, however, attracts tourists form every corner of the world. “A huge 20.7 Million foreign tourists came to Malaysia in 2007 and crossed 20.1 Million mark set as the goal for the Visit Malaysia 2007 campaign. Maximum tourists visited the country came from ASEAN countries followed by Japan, China and Australia. Now experts are targeting new markets, which include India and the Middle East” (RNCOS Retail Sector Research. January 14, 2008). Some reputed Tourist zones of Malaysia are as follows- Kuala Lumpur – A Passage Back in Time, Penang – Pearl of the Orient, Kuantan; Malacca – Historical City, Sarawak Cultural Village, The eye of Malaysia etc.

Constructional Comparison of the two country’s Religious Culture

Since the 10th century to 1930s Malaysia was in colonial curse. Its political sovereignty was to the British and economic sovereignty to the Chinese. “Malaysia reformed as an independent country in 1957, after the Sino Japanese war in 1930’s” (About Malaysia and Bhattacharya, 2005). But Thailand, from the beginning, was never been a colony of other. So with the viewing historically, Malays influenced vastly politically and economically by others which was a fact for influencing their culture. Politically, Malays’ economy is controlled much by the construction of its govt. religious policy. According to Hourdequin (23 November 2007), “Malaysia needs trade from all quarters, not just the Muslim world, and thus Mahathir and then Abdullah Badawi have sought to maintain a moderate Muslim state in the heart of Southeast Asia that still holds on to a core Islamic identity.”

Besides, the Thai have developed their politics and economy with their own way accompanying with their own culture. Malaysia has been developing rapidly since 1971. So culturally, the Thais are enriched more because of their long independency in their policy and economy. Being influenced through the religious culture, there are some expected views of estimations of the contribution of travel and tourism on Malaysian and Thai economy extracted by WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) for the year, 2008, as their previous performance are as follows

WTTC League Table Extract: 2008
Contribution of Travel and Tourism on economy Thailand (%) Malaysia (%)

Travel and Tourism GDP in the total GDP 14.1 13.2
Travel and Tourism Employment in the total Employment 10.6 11.6
Real growth of Travel and Tourism total demand 2.4 5.9
Travel and Tourism Visitor Exports in the total Exports 9.5 7.8
Source: Web.

In the sense of tradition, it’s more distinct than Malaysia. Structurally, there are some symbols of development of Malaysia and Thailand. There are various city excitements such as buildings, parks, city streets, transports, etc. In Malaysia, large numbers of high raised buildings are the attractions of Malaysia. Such as ‘Petronas Twin Towers’, one of the largest towers in the world located in the heart of the capital city ‘Kuala Lumpur’. On the other hand in Thailand, large number temples are seen over every city. As a Buddhist country temple is possessed as a part of its culture. Thereby, temple can be called the icon of Thailand. Mulder (2000). in his book ‘Inside Thai Society’, said about the beauties of Thailand as “Thailand is often called ‘The Land of Smiles’, a sobriquet which sounds at once pleasant and mysterious.”

The Land of Smiles

Besides, there are lots of natural views across both of the two countries, known as the tourists’ sights, are mind-blowing amusing, admiring, fascinating, heavenly to the people. There are many beautiful islands, hills, beaches lakes etc. over Malaysia and Thailand.

Religion is an important factor for influencing the culture. Malays and Thai people both are respectful to their religion. As a Muslim dominated country, Malays are very careful to their religion, although they make their country free for the tourists. They maintain their religious constitutions at all. This belief makes a religious culture in side the country and also makes a fair and peaceful country for tourism. Besides, Thai’s are also respectful to their religion. But here religious beliefs are not so limited but liberal than Malays. It deserves a liberal religious cultural environment through its name ‘Kingdom of Thailand’. “The King in Thailand was believed to be participating in divinity; hence the need for images in state ceremonies and Brahminical rites. Idealized religious images in royal regalia were made to remind worshippers of the late monarchs, and the images became sanctified in response to the belief that the spirits remained in them” (Flores, n.d. p.5).

Therefore, tourists enter here more freely. Through there remains secular religious culture, Thailand is influenced by foreign culture mostly. As Malays are influenced by the religion and they have the respects about their religious culture as well as the religious values, beliefs, they are more collective than Thai people in their family strength and status where Thai people believe in free culture and they are not strength in collectivism. The Thai people, however, because of their high ambition of being rich and multi-national culture, they scattered into individualism. In this circumstance, those of two perspectives are effective to attract the tourists differently.

Another constructional component of culture is the tribal group. Tribes colour the culture and attract the people to be coloured. These promote the culture to enlightening tourism. However, tribes exists their ethnic features through both countries. Specially, in Malaysia, ethnic group are more powerful than Thailand. Bumiputras are Muslim dominated native born people.

Though prostitution is, however, a negative approach of promoting the culture, even than it stands as a significant position with regards to promoting the tourism world. This draws attentions of many international tourists easily. Culturally, as the Thai people are more liberal, however, they are habituated largely to this. It’s a common belief of the Thai women that they can bear their parents through this profession and can easily be rich. But Malays, as Muslims, are not much habituated to like secular culture like Thai people.

Considering those motivations, the governments of both of the two countries are aware about the development of tourism, tourists’ satisfaction and the policies that effect tourism.In the final decades of the twentieth century, an important type of Muslim leader/intellectual became prominent, playing a significant role in Muslim reconceptualisations of religion and international relations” (Esposito, December 2000).

Esposito (December 2000) also exampled as a prominent leader of Malaysia as Muhammad Mahathir Muhammad. Economic growth of Malaysia and Thailand is increasing continuously. Tourism deserves a great contribution on economic growth. Now a days, Thailand and Malaysia play potential part in the influencing the Tourism sector of Asia. Malaysia plays their religious factors fairly. There has less Islamic outer problem from abroad in Malaysia rather than other Islamic country like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, etc. “Malaysia has been free from the radical politics and confrontation that government repression has produced in other parts of the Muslim world” (Esposito, and Voll, 1996, p.148)

Culturally those two countries are developed with its own traditions, beliefs, values, ethics, etc. As we know, culture directly or indirectly influence the prominent factors of a country such as economy, society, individual factor, politics, etc. and ultimately Tourism. Hence, Religion, Culture and Economy those are vital factors for Malaysia and Thailand, and inter-related with one another.

Conclusion

As Thailand is the icon of south-east Asian tourist zone, Malaysia plays also as a roll model country in this zone. We have already seen that the backbone of this legendary valuation of tourism is culture. Both of the countries are enriched culturally. With distinction of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual view, these two country’s religions are different as well as cultures are mostly different. The clusters of culture of both countries impact differently on their local and international tourism. In spite of different religious beliefs and values through the two countries, the common constructions of culture are maintained across there to increasing the attractions of tourism locally or internationally.

For example, Travel facilities (accommodations, traditional and international hotels and restaurants, foods and drinks, etc.), Cultural function, Tribal variation, Govt. policy, Nationalism, Cultural motivation, Better public relation, Tourist satisfaction, individual’s attitude and ethics, Native’s hospitality, etc. are maintained with a symphony in both countries. Those factors are related somehow religion. In thus way, people, being influenced by religion, promote there culture as well as they promote their tourism industry. Really Thailand deserves the title ‘Kingdom of Thailand’ and Malaysia truly is possessed in the slogan ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’. However, though south-east Asia holds less than of 11% of world tourism, it’s increasing its percentage day to day, Thailand is now the most leading country and Malaysia, as well as Singapore, Indonesia, is an up-coming leading country in tourism in south-east Asia. So, it can be said that these countries will probably be the kingdom of tourism world very soon to the Asians and the others.

References

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Bhattacharya, Lopa. (2005). Malaysia: An Oriental Tourist’s Haven and an Anthropologer’s Delight!. MyMalaysia.com. Web.

Esposito, J. L. (2000). Islam and the West: Muslim Voices of Dialogue, pp. 613-639(27), Vol. 29, No. 3, 1. Millennium Publishing Group.

Esposito, L. John., and Voll, O. John (1996). Islam and Democracy: Islam Democracy. Oxford University Press:USA.

Esterik, Van Penny. (2002). Materializing Thailand. The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 61. No. 2. pp-794-796 Published by: Association for Asian Studies. Web.

Flores, D. Patrick (n.d.). Colonial Posterities: Portraiture and the Face of the Modern. Web.

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Malaysia – Country overview, Location and size, Population, Industry, Mining, Manufacturing, Services, Tourism.htm.

Mulder, Niels. (2000). Inside Thai Society. Silkworm Books. Chiang Mai. Web.

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Functional Behavioral Analysis And Behavior Support Plans In Special Education

Introduction

Functional Behavioral Assessment is defined as a process aimed to analyze and evaluate problem behavior patterns of students with special needs The influences of special education and the mental health movement upon the development of school psychology should have provided a basis for school psychologists to develop roles that emphasize intervention as well as assessment. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. School psychologists were born of the necessity for diagnosticians (Borgmeier and Horner 2006). Well-trained professionals capable of making important educational classification decisions were required. In response to this pressing need, psychologists turned to the tools available at the time, psychological tests. Looking around for techniques to make their decisions more objective and reliable, they found few methods had been developed to refine their decision-making process. As a result, school psychologists began relying on individual intelligence scales, achievement tests, and personality measures in performing assessments. The applicability of this approach to schoolbased problems was never questioned because most psychologists in schools at the time were trained in a clinical, diagnostic model. “Cone (1997) described functional behavior assessment (EBA) as activities involved in formulating hypotheses about controlling variables that maintain a behavior, whereas functional behavior assessment refers to the experimental manipulation of the variables to demonstrate a causal relationship between the controlling variable and the problem behavior” (Stage et al 2002, p. 71). The logic in this model seemed straightforward. Arriving at a diagnostic decision points one toward selection of appropriate treatment techniques. Derived from a medical model, this perspective makes sense. Until one decides whether one has a virus or bacterial infection, the correct medication cannot be prescribed. Borrowing this model and translating to educational terms, it is thought that until one decides whether one is mentally retarded, learning disabled, or emotionally disturbed, the appropriate educational program cannot be prescribed. As school psychologists began considering alternatives to their diagnostic model, the profession was undergoing drastic changes. More than any other issue, school psychologists have been searching for professional identity (Chamberlain, 2005).

Student description/background

Student background involves preschool years and family background which has influenced development of a person. Preschool through age six, educational professionals join with parents and doctors to identify problems or special needs. As a child gets older, the complexity of a potential problem may intensify (e.g., poor vision or lack of mobility); some problems become very obvious, but in some cases they remain hidden. As an example of the latter, a child may demonstrate aggressive behavior because he is easily frustrated due to lack of achievement, triggering low self-esteem (Borgmeier and Horner 2006). Uncovering the underlying causes of this behavior may require a concerted effort by the parents and medical and educational professionals. Identification of a problem may require a longer assessment (observation) period. A problem may affect how a child learns as well as his opinion of himself. This is a critical time for identifying problems. Following Nichols (2000): “The youths who committed high-profile school violence in the past several years were not known as the most badly behaved students in their communities or the ones with the most severe conduct disorders” (p. 43). Although traditional assessment assumes that behavior is cross-situational, most individuals employing such strategies of assessment would make some attempt to evaluate whether the behavior observed in the testing session actually reflected behavior in the more natural setting (Chamberlain, 2005).

Define and Determine Seriousness of Behavior(s)

A seriousness of behavior is defined by a number and nature of delinquent acts and antisocial behavior patterns. If a child has more than one condition or disability, he will be entitled to receive intervention services from several individuals or agencies based on the results of the assessment findings. The adjectives and definitions describing the conditions affecting the limits of learning differ from district to district, and may be vague or very specific (Borgmeier and Horner, 2006). Definitions are listed in the special education manual of all school districts. However, school districts as public agencies are mandated to follow local, state, and federal guidelines. How programs are set up is likely to vary from one school district to another, based on size, the number of children in special education, the amount of monetary support from local, state, and federal sources, and the parental pressures put on the school system. “If the same child brings a gun to school, the process of inference becomes much more complex” Nichols 2000, p. 43).

Environmental Assessment

An environmental assessment can include the following: formal testing using standardized tests; informal testing through observation by both parents and professionals; and information gathered by questioning parents and collecting a medical history. Additionally, environmental assessment is interested in observable behavior as it reflects these underlying psychodynamics. In contrast, behavioral assessment is primarily interested in observable behavior and views the environmental events as the critical variables in maintenance of the behavioral problem (Carter and Horner 2007). In regards to making classification decisions, the use of traditional psychological tests may be inadequate. Indeed, both the Office of Civil Rights guidelines and Federal Law state that tests be valid for the purposes for which they are used. There is no evidence for the validity of many traditional norm-referenced measures (e.g., aptitude tests, intellectual tests, personality tests, perceptual tests) in making classification and placement decisions. Similar findings have frequently been found for classifying students as emotionally disturbed using instruments commonly employed by psychologists operating from the traditional/diagnostic model. Despite concerns regarding reliability and validity, behavioral assessment offers an opportunity for direct, systematic, and objective assessment of the referral problem. Based on empirical validation, the method can be used to develop and evaluate intervention strategies for both academic and behavioral difficulties (Chamberlain, 2005).

Direct Assessment (e.g. A-B-C, data collection)

Direct basement involve observations and data collection methods aimed to classify behavior patterns and evaluate students’ behavior. “The functional analysis of a behavior begins by determining its antecedents, the context or events that stimulated the youngster to misbehave” (Nichols 2000, p. 43). School administration may be entitled to services by simply filling out a form listing general biographical data. In some cases you may have to fill out a long financial statement, or have your child undergo an intensive testing process. An extensive assessment is overwhelming at first, but parents need to take one step at a time. Direct Assessments are done periodically and can change dramatically over time. It is important to be patient. Your expectations for a quick assessment will most likely be diminished as you go through the process Carter and Horner, 2007). Educators can also control some of the environmental factors during an assessment. Parents can always disagree with an assessment and question the procedure, the testing skills of the administrator of the test, or the subjective or objective conclusions arrived at from the scores, and if necessary can request that the assessment be repeated with more documentation. Traditional assessment assumes that behavior is consistent across time and settings (Gresham et al 2001). This assumption permits one to generalize from very limited samples of behavior. For example, a child who displays non-compliance with an examiner when administered an individual intelligence test, may be viewed as a “non-compliant child” in general. “Reclaiming the disruptive and alienated youngster may require expanding assessment methodology beyond the direct observation of overt behaviors” (Nichols, 2000, p. 43).

Indirect assessment (e.g. interviews, student records)

Indirect assessment is a part of functional behavior analysis p5rocess. Use of a non-traditional role by school psychologists to deliver psychological services requires that an alternative method of assessment also be employed. Two conceptual models for assessment have been identified–traditional and behavioral assessment. The primary difference between these models lie in their assumptions about the nature of behavior and psychopathology (Gresham et al 2001). Where traditional assessment attempts to identify underlying traits and characteristics that determine the personality, behavioral assessment is concerned primarily with describing the conditions that maintain the observable behavior, rarely invoking any personality constructs. Interviews and student records help to analyze psychological causes of misbehavior and emotions of students (Kern et al 2004). Often, interviews with individuals who interact with the child being assessed in the natural environment will be employed to confirm or refute the hypotheses generated through individual testing. Direct observation of the individual in the natural setting may also be used although the observation is not usually systematic. Overall, good psychological practice would support a need to confirm the hypothesis of cross-situationality of behavior Carter and Horner, 2007). “The SARS is a systematic recording and quantification of existing school records” (Gresham et al, 2001, p. 156).

Function Hypothesis

Function Hypothesis assumes behavior to be situationally specific. Environmental events are direct influences on behavior and as environmental events change so does behavior. The extent to which a behavior is actually cross-situational must be assessed, not assumed. In other words, all behavior is assumed to be situation-specific unless demonstrated otherwise.

Behavior Support Plan

Any behavior support plan consists of three main parts: development implementation and control. The purpose of the problem analysis of behavioral support plan is to examine the problems identified in detail and determine those conditions that are antecedents and consequences of the behavior. Additionally, one would identify specific skills that are lacking or deficient in the client and are deemed important for overcoming the identified problem. The problem analysis stage of the consultation consists of two steps, the analysis phase and the plan-design phase. Problem validation requires: assessment of the adequacy of plan, determination of the adequacy of baseline data (Stage et al, 2006).

Background setting refers to those verbal statements that provide information regarding the antecedants, consequences, and sequential conditions that surround the behavior being discussed. These statements include detail regarding what occurred just prior to the problem behavior, what followed the behavior, when the behavior happened, where it happened, how often the behavior happens, and other information that provides clues as to the sequence of actions that surround the occurrences of the problem. Questions such as, “What happened just before Paul tantrumed?”, “What did you do after the tantrum started?”, “When does the tantrum usually occur?”, are all examples of the type of questions that may be asked and would classify as background-setting content. Once the plan is developed, the implementation phase begins. Here the consultant must prepare the consultee for the implementation and operation of the plan. The primary method for consultation during the plan operation is to monitor the progress of the plan through the collection of data. Table 7.5 describes the steps and objectives of this stage. Unlike the previous two stages, there is no specific interview format for conducting the consultation. Instead, consultants examine the data to determine if the plan needs to be revised. Data continue to be collected and the consultant continually monitors the plan implementation until its completion (Stage et al, 2006).

Strategies to increase appropriate behavior(s)

The only way to do this is to evaluate how students can accomplish tasks and gain skills and to identify the level of support they might need to achieve success in school. School districts, medical providers, and local, state, and federal agencies all rely on assessments, to various degrees, to determine the eligibility of a child to receive services or to participate in programs as well as to make decisions about specific placement settings. An assessment also determines the kinds and amount of related services your child needs to benefit from an educational program (e.g., occupational therapy, transportation, speech) (Gable and Hendrickson, 2000). The behavior sub-category involves any verbal statements that include reference to specific behavior. This also includes covert processes such as thinking and feeling as well as observational action. This category is particularly important in helping to better define behavioral events. For example, statements such as “Paula often seems distracted,” are ambiguous and need to be more precisely defined. The use of the behavior sub-category provides verbalizations that better define the nature of “distracted.” Individual characteristics are those verbal statements that reflect attributions made to the individual client. These are generalizations of behaviors that refer to some prevailing personality trait. Included among this category, however, are other characteristics not related to personality but are indigenious to the person such as age, height, weight, body build, and so on. Other personality traits such as shyness, overanxiousness, depression, and stupidity all would be classified in this way (Scott et al, 2000).

Antecedent strategies

The main antecedent strategies are aimed to prevent wrong behavior patterns and motivate students to follow generally accepted rules. The strategies can involve rewards and appraisals for the best students. The behavioral model conceptualizes all consultation as a series of verbal interactions between the student and the teacher. These verbal exchanges can be described in specific, operational terms and change as the consultation process proceeds. As one moves through the various stages of the consultation, the types and quantity of certain verbal statements can be monitored to assess whether the consultant is actually using the prescribed consultation process. The task of the teacher is to create an orderly structured environment for students (Gable and Hendrickson, 2000). “As such, FBA seeks to identify reinforcement and punishment contingencies rather than antecedent events for which influence on behavior is viewed as both secondary to and derived from consequences” (Gresham et al 2001, p. 156).

Consequent strategies

This type of strategies involves strict laws and regulations aimed to control behavior of students. It can be rules of classroom behavior and rules of communication between peers. “Setting events, unlike discriminative stimuli, are removed in time and place from behavior (i.e., behavior is not under the stimulus control of the setting event)” (Gresham et al 2001, p. 156). Whatever rules are required to assess eligibility are administered. If eligibility is ascertained by rules results, special education teachers are provided with a very valuable document. A report clearly identifying the problem, repeated measures of child’s problems, objective and behavioral goals selected that would indicate successful remediation, and clear operational plans for remediation are available (Gable and Hendrickson, 2000).

Strategies to increase maintenance and generalization

Consultation and communication are the main strategies which help to increase maintenance and generalization. They have been defined as everything from talking in the hall to a teacher to the systematic examination of verbal content in the course of an interview. Indeed, an examination of the literature finds not only varying definitions of what consultation actually is, but some individuals use different terms for identical procedures (Borgmeier and Horner, 2006). In addition, some authors have provided well-defined models for consultation procedures. This type of consultation is very common in management and business applications where consultants are asked to offer recommendations that affect employee or management atmosphere and help in achieving a smoother more acceptable corporate operation. In schools, such types of consultation may be applied to the school administrators but is not usually considered when affecting the behavior of individual children (Gable and Hendrickson, 2000).

Summary

Functional Behavioral Assessment is one of the main processes which help educators to change and control behavior of students. In order to establish a program that takes into consideration all of a child’s needs, the communications network needs to include a vehicle for interaction between you and your school-based professionals, as well as outside providers such as doctors and therapists. Children may be eligible to participate in programs if they meet established criteria. It is important to be familiar with all of the components of the assessment process because the outcomes dictate actions that the school may take on behalf of the child. In addition, an assessment also determines the types of related services your child may need and be entitled to receive (e.g., occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy). These early intervention services may be critical to your child’s development. In Functional Behavioral Assessment a special attention should be given to antecedent and consequent strategies. These issues might be addressed by having the model fully implemented on a district-wide basis. Useful information, however, would also result from research by or with psychologists using the model with individual cases without implementation across a larger psychological service unit. well-designed program evaluation research should be conducted. The key components of the model are the use of behavioral consultation, behavioral assessment, and behavioral intervention. In contrast, the functional behavior model is viewed as a classification decision-making process that leads to a determination as to whether a child is legally appropriate for special education. The assessment process of the traditional model consists primarily of standardized intelligence and achievement tests, evaluation of personality via projective testing, case histories, and other traditional assessment processes.

References

  1. Borgmeier, C. Horner, R. H. (2006). An Evaluation of the Predictive Validity of Confidence Ratings in Identifying Functional Behavioral Assessment Hypothesis Statements. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 8 (2), 100.
  2. Carter, R. Horner, R. H. (2007). Adding Functional Behavioral Assessment to First Step to Success: A Case Study. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 9 (4), 229.
  3. Chamberlain, S. P. (2005). Kathleen McConnell Fad and James R. Patton: A Practical Perspective on Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. Intervention in School & Clinic 40 (3), 161.
  4. Gresham, F.M., Watson, M., Skinner, Ch. (2001). Functional Behavioral Assessment: Principles, Procedures, and Future Directions. School Psychology Review, 30 (2), 156.
  5. Kern, L. Hilt, A. M. Gresham, F. (2004). An Evaluation of the Functional Behavioral Assessment Process Used with Students with or at Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Education & Treatment of Children, 27 (4), 440.
  6. Gable, R.A., Hendrickson, M. (2000). Strategies for Maintaining Positive Behavior Change Stemming from Functional Behavioral Assessment in Schools. Education & Treatment of Children 23 (3), 286.
  7. Nichols, P. (2000). Role of Cognition and Affect in a Functional Behavioral Analysis. Exceptional Children, 66 (1), 43.
  8. Scott, D. T., Meers, T. Nelson, M. (2000). Toward a Consensus of Functional Behavioral Assessment for Students with Mild Disabilities in Public School Contexts: A National Survey. Education & Treatment of Children, 23 31), 265.
  9. Stage, S.A. et al (2006). Using Multimethod-Multisource Functional Behavioral Assessment for Students with Behavioral Disabilities. School Psychology Review, 35 (1), 451.
  10. Stage, S.A. A Cheney, D., Walker, B. (2002). Preliminary Discriminant and Convergent Validity Study of the Teacher Functional Behavioral Assessment Checklist. School Psychology Review, 31 (1), 71.

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