Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Strengths vs. Needs

One of the early important topics that we've been discussing during the first few weeks is the concept of strengths vs. needs assessments for children and prospective parents. I really like the concept, and the way that it manifests itself, and I want to use it in other areas of my life, so I figured I would share it.


Courtesy of http://www.getfit4kidz.com/wp-content/upLoads/2011/01/tug_of_war.jpg

*Disclaimer* everything that I'm talking about in this scenario is made-up. I do not know a child by this name, nor am I personally familiar with a child who has experienced these things.

Jacob (most popular boys name in the US so far in 2011) is 8 years old. His dad is not in the picture, and his mom has recently been sentenced to prison time. He is in a foster care home, where he refuses to come out of his room, or do chores - even when asked. He misses his mother and talks about her all the time. He has gotten into fights with boys at school, during recess.

Ok, so you read my made up story, and what do you immediately think? This kid is angry, he's withdrawn, he's sad? All true, but none of those things really give you any traction on how to help Fictional Jacob. So... consider when you take that story, and put it into a strengths/needs assessment.

Strengths:
  • Jacob can form healthy attachments, because he misses his mother
  • Jacob has a strong will, and holds to his convictions
Needs:
  • Jacob needs to find a way to express his frustration in a more constructive manner
  • Jacob needs to feel a sense of bonding to an adult male who can be a positive role model
Courtesy of http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FDwhpnqEVoQ/ThDRzy6xRpI/AAAAAAAABcA/6nxWL5dTF9A/s1600/DadHug.JPG

See how the strengths are shown even through his behavioral struggles? See how the needs indicate WHAT to do to help this kid who is struggling with a loss that he can't express?

I *heart* this idea big time.

1 comment:

  1. You can see the strengths and needs, because you're intelligent and observant. What are the rest of us supposed to do?

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