Virginia AHPERD_Winter2022

Social Benefits of Recess for Students with Impulse Control Disorder Lee Saady Makin s, Longwood University Student, Theatre Education Major,Longwood University Matthew D. Lucas , Ed.D., Professor, Department of Health, Recreation, and Kinesiology, Longwood University

Introduction The involvement of students in recess can be rewarding for everyone, especially students with Impulse Control Disorders (ICDs). Recess is a small part of the day, but for students with ICDs, it can make a massive difference in the development of their social skills. To provide a complete picture of social benefits of recess for students with ICDs, this article will define and provide the prevalence of ICDs and explain their causes and characteristics of the disorders. The manuscript will also define ICDs in terms of Special Education. Finally, the article will provide social benefits and accommodations for recess for children with Impulse Control Disorders. Definition and Prevalence Impulse Control Disorders are classified as behavioral/emotion al disorders and are best described in Impulse Control Disorders: Updated Review of Clinical Characteristics and Pharmacological Management (Schreiber et. al, 2011), “Impulse Control Disorders (ICDs) are characterized by urges and behaviors that are exces sive and/or harmful to oneself or others and cause significant impairment in social and occupational functioning, as well as legal and financial difficulties.” (p 1). Now, using the biological standard, scientists do believe that ICDs are connected with the limbic system, which controls emotions and memories, and the frontal lobe which controls planning function and impulsive be haviors (Ploskin, 2016). There are five types of ICDs which are listed below: ● Kleptomania (the impulse to steal). ● Pyromania (the impulse to start fires). ● Intermittent Explosive Disorder (the impulse to have an explosive outburst of anger and/or violence). ● Pathological Gambling (the impulse for betting on anything). ● Trichotillomania (the impulse to pull one’s hair out). (Schreiber, 2011, p. 1). As mentioned above, there are five types of ICDs, so naturally, each ICD has statistical variations. Impulse Control Disorders can increase in frequency as individuals increase in age because of the many potential causes. Causes of Impulse Control Disorders As of 2022, no cause of ICDs had been identified; however, there are multiple risk factors for these psychiatric disorders. Accord ing to Cross Creek Hospital (2018) some of the main risk factors are, “preexisting mental illnesses, variations of brain chemistry and function, experiencing a severe head injury, having epilepsy, family history of mental illness, personal or family history of substance abuse and addiction, being of younger age, or chronic exposure to violence and aggression.” (p. 1). It should be noted that among children and adolescents, ICDs frequently co-occur

with other psychiatric disorders, particularly mood and drug use disorders (Grant et al, 2007). Characteristics of Impulse Control Disorders Students with ICDs demonstrate a variety of characteristics including physical, emotional, and behavioral characteristics. Examples from each of these categories are provided below: Physical ● Patches of missing hair ● Physical injuries from impulsive choices


● Signs of Depression ● Signs of Anxiety ● Signs of Irritability ● Fear of Abandonment


● Poor social skills ● Compulsive lying ● Stealing whether the item is valuable or not ● Isolation from others (Cross Creek Hospital, 2018, p. 1). Special Education: Impulse Control Disorders A variety of resources state that ICDs are categorized as be havioral/emotional disorders. According to the Individuals with Disabilities EducationAct, or IDEA, the following is the definition of an emotional disturbance- “(i) Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance: (A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory inter personal relationships with peers and teachers. (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances. (D) Ageneral pervasive mood of unhappiness or depres sion. (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. (ii) Emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, un less it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section.” (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act., Sec. 300.8 Child with a Dis ability, 2004).

20 • Virginia AHPERD • WINTER 2022

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