Family Theories Term Paper

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Age Students With Learning Disabilities

The impact of family motivation on college age students with learning disabilities may be a deciding factor in regard to the student's success or failure. College age students with learning disabilities obviously have more immediate needs in cooperative learning settings when compared to typical students. Educators cannot just tell the student to just sit-down and read five chapters of Freud. These students have problems like dyslexia, AD/HD, or English as a second language to name a few and they may have had additional help in the past that may not be available at an older age. When there are obvious underlying issues, the family, teachers and the students themselves have to work more closely together in order to reach the desired positive outcomes. "Teaching effectiveness is inferred from the product that was created; it is the product that is the indicator of scholarship." (Cranton, 2000)

This report aims to provide general background information about the application of Family Theories. The underlying object of this is study was to understand the implications of Family Theories as they pertain to college age students with learning disabilities and how these principles can be used to set up programs to help assess and correct a student's problem areas if possible. This type of work offers opportunities to assess personal rewards from family and other external resources while also providing insights into the intrinsic rewards a student receives from within. There is little doubt that being a student with a specific problem or learning disability can often bring to light related personal phobias and cause unwarranted justifications that the family and teachers may not understand or appreciate and therefore the students often create emotional atmospheres that travel a full spectrum of emotions.

Literature Review

Family Stress and Family Systems Theories are both developmental theories that have been applied from the broader area of Family Science. Family Science investigates the reasons that some family entities have an ability to adapt and grow even though the family unit faces greater numbers of situational stressors and transitional events while other family systems face far less stress and transitional related events and completely break down under those circumstances. These theories offer methodologies that can be used to measure and interpret why families facing hardship or change develop unique ways to cope through new found strength or improved physical capabilities that have been shown to be able to enhance the development of individual.

In studying college age students with learning disabilities' families, these theories help define the family population and each member's role in helping the student achieve success. Whether the family represents a nuclear, extended, or some other type of family, it is always critical to determine the primary care giver within the family in order to understand where corrective actions or questions can be answered and addressed. Environment within the family system is "viewed as an open system and a component of the larger community and society, with the assumption that families benefit from and contribute to the network of relationships and resources in the community." (McCubbin, 1993) Whoever the primary caregiver is, either biological parents, grandparents, or some other significant person, college age students with learning disabilities can achieve and excel in their learning environment.

"The range and depth of the family's repertoire of coping and problem-solving strategies when employed to manage a crisis situation are related to the level of family adaptation, and this is a positive relationship." (McCubbin, 1993). Understanding the patterns that are demonstrated at the individual and the family level is a key application of the Family Stress and Family Systems Theories. By identifying outcomes, it is possible to determine the break through levels of established patterns at the individual level, the family level, or both so that a student's resilience can be assessed by either response or behavior.


The process of successfully coping and adapting to inherent stress factors on a family and the family support system is vital to understand. Family Systems Theory is a viable tool used to do just that. Family Systems Theory's legacy arose from the works of Ludwig Von Bertalanffy's. Von Bertalanffy worked on a more general systems theory that provided insights into a new and different way of looking at science. He proposed that instead of the bland mechanistic…

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Positive feedback is a major part of the Family Systems Theory process. Feedback in this case is a process in which the family, and possibly the teaching team involved, all work together to regulate the thinking process of the college age student with learning disabilities. This process also incorporates the notion that positive self-talk by the college age student with some form of learning disability is a necessary component of educational success. Self-talk helps them monitor their own output. In other words, the human body in this case accepts feedback from both internal and external sources to promote positive goals and objectives. A good example of a positive feedback system is how an automatic pilot system is used in most commercial airplanes. The automatic pilot process provides a computer that is actually flying the plane constant feedback about required information regarding the planes speed, altitude, direction and so on. As the plane drifts off course slightly, the computer system realigns the flight path. The college age student with a learning disability also drifts off occurs from time to time and positive feedback from family members, teachers and counselors and the student themselves all help to get the student back on course. This approach continually promotes active coping efforts and attributes positive meaning to the learning situation.


Based on Family Stress Theory, there can be many indicators of a family's adaptation to stress induced events. "One is the adaptation of individual family members, including adolescents have noted that such factors as the perceived levels of individual and family stress serve as markers of adaptation." (McCubbin, 1993) In other words, the adaptation implies that there are a large number

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