discuss and summarize the definitions and challenges of EBD. Individually, in an essay of 1,250– 1,500 words Include the following elements:
Create a special education (SPED) team for this course. Include at least one special educator and one regular educator, a parent, and an administrator.
1) What is each member’s area of expertise; and what will they contribute to the team?
2) What issues have you and your team had in regards XXXXX XXXXX concerns relating to definitions of emotional disabilities and challenges of providing services to students with EBD?
3) What changes would you make to resolve the issues?
4) How could the definitions be more distinct?
Use the reading assignments as a resource to support your answers. Compare the reading assignments for this module with the above discussions, and summarize the difficulty with categorizing, the definitions for, and the challenges of working with students with EBD.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
Childhood should be a time of play, learning, and making friends, but for some children, it does not contain many of these elements and will not leave pleasant memories. The time of adolescence is often a time for some conflicts and turmoil. However, for a small percentage of the general school population those disturbances become more intense, frequent, and longer lasting. Their emotional and behavioral problems are real and sometimes so devastating that they interfere with their ability to learn. In 1975, The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Improvement, 2004) defined this population as Emotionally Disturbed (ED). What is in a name? For years, there has been controversy over the exact terminology used to incur less stigmatization while acquiring maximum resources and interventions. There are also debates over proper identification, the best interventions, and the determination process according to priXXXXX XXXXXdicapping conditions within this population. These unresolved issues have brought about numerous questions such as:
- Is the primary interference with learning coming from emotional issues or behavioral issues?
- How can the behaviors be measured and diagnosed accurately?
- Why is it often said that this special education population is under-identified?
History and Definitions
In order to gain a better understanding of the evolution of this category, one needs to review the history. Before the 19thcentury, handicapped individuals were referred to as imbeciles, morons, or idiots if they were intellectually disabled andinsane if they had emotional or behavioral issues (Smith, Polloway, Patton, & Dowdy, 2004). Problems were attributed to the environment in which they lived and grew up. More recently, it has been realized that there are combinations of causal factors responsible for the emotional and behavioral problems of these types of children. Historically, the federal government had identified this group as Seriously Emotionally Disturbed (SED). In 1990, the Mental Health and Special Education Coalition (MHSEC) proposed a more functional definition of ED to replace the more ambiguous one found in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1990) (Christle & Yell, 2009; Kauffman & Landrum, 2009); however, despite the obvious advantages of the proposed new definition and the broad support for it among special educators (Forness & Kavale, 2000), the National School Boards Association (NSBA) objected and blocked its adoption out of concern that the MHSEC’s new definition would increase the numbers of students identified for services as ED and put enormous financial strain on states and local education agencies. Despite the NSBA’s rejection of the proposed definition, researchers and practitioners in the field of special education have adopted the abbreviation or term EBD and its more utilitarian description of the disorder instead of IDEA 2004’s more ambiguous definition of ED (Christle & Yell, 2009).
This contemporary issue extends to the federal definition found in IDEA 2004. Leaders in the field of special education such as Forness and Kavale (2000), Kauffman and Landrum (2009), and Christle and Yell (2009), have all pointed out the inherent problems associated with IDEA 2004’s definition, not the least of which includes ambiguity, misinterpretation, stigma, and a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of now-labeled EBD which often leads to inadequate legislation, confusing policies, and poorly designed interventions. Opposition argues that there is still too much margin for subjectivity in identification of these students. According to Yell, Meadows, Drasgow, and Shriner (2009), “…in an effort to group related behaviors and help distinguish the behavioral patterns of types of EBD, two classification systems are generally used: psychiatric and dimensional” (p. 6).
Professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) for definition and classification of children with emotional problems. However, the manual uses a different definition and classification system, which adds to the confusion and can contribute to fragmented services. Sometimes, children can qualify as disabled through one system but not the other. This is thepsychiatric system.
Educators typically use dimensionalsystems. One such assessment is the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) designed by Achenbach and Edelbrock (1991). This checklist places behaviors into Internalizing and Externalizing groups.
With frequent debates and changes over definition, identification, and prevalence, it is easy to see why this category may be one of the most underrepresented and underserved within special education. Therefore the prevalence of EBD is dependent on the definition of the disorder (e.g., IDEA versus MHSEC), what research/estimation methodology you use to collect the data, and the prevailing influence of social policy and economic factors (Kauffman & Landrum, 2009). So depending on the source (and the agenda behind the reporting), reasonable estimates for EBD range from 3% to 6% of the national student population. If other such students identified by the mental health system as having oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder (CD) are included, then prevalence rates jump as high as 2% to 16% of the U.S. youth population (Eddy, Reid, & Curry, 2002).
Instruction of the child or adolescent with emotional disturbances is not likely to be a simple matter. Researchers have really only been studying this minority for about 40 years. Compared to other disability groups, students with emotional disturbances are more likely to have lower graduation rates, lower reading and arithmetic scores, and are less likely to attend postsecondary school (Kauffman, 2001).
As Kauffman and Landrum (2009) correctly point out, issues of early identification and prevention of antisocial behavior, placement options, similarities between general and special education, and training in social skills have existed for well over half a century. Today’s trends in the education of children with EBD continue to focus on:
- Educating antisocial and violent students.
- Integrating a variety of services for children and their fa
milies (e.g., wrap-around services).
- Applying the most effective instruction or teaching procedures for improving academic and social skills (teaching social skills much like one teaches academic skills).
- Applying functional behavioral assessment technologies to determine the purposes and goals of student acting-out behavior and teach adaptive replacement behaviors.
- Maintaining the continuum of alternative placements mandated by the individualized education plans (IEPs) and IDEA(1990) despite the efforts of full inclusion proponents to ignore or redefine the least restrictive environment (LRE) at the public school level
- Helping secondary-level EBD students make a successful transition from school to work or further education.
- Ensuring the shift towards a more multicultural educational philosophy does not neglect or fail to recognize that children with EBD are people, too (Kauffman & Landrum, 2009; Singh, 1996).
Any teacher who has worked in the field of special education knows the staggering complexities involved in any student’s academic and social learning needs. As with any student with disabilities, teachers working in the field of EBD must focus their attention only on the alterable variables found in the student’s learning environment; otherwise, they will feel overwhelmed, paralyzed, and ineffective; these are factors that contribute to burnout. Alterable variables (Bloom, 1980) include such things as academic engaged time, praise, choral responding, judicious review of previously learned material, fast pacing of instruction, immediate feedback and error correction, appropriate sequencing of activities within the lesson, and so on. Heward (2003) suggests that the four attitudes of science, namely: (a) empiricism, (b) parsimony (i.e., focusing on simpler, logical explanations for things first instead of tackling more complex or abstract explanations), (c) philosophic doubt (i.e., asking to see the supporting evidence or data before adopting a practice), and (d) scientific manipulation (i.e., experimenting with variables to see which ones have control over positive outcomes), will protect teachers against fads and other miracle cures commonly found on the Internet or presented at conferences, district- or state-sponsored workshops, and in-service trainings.
If special education teachers are to succeed in their work with children with EBD, they must view special education as a methodologically scientific profession and only select curricula and instructional tools that are research-based. Olson (1999), for example, reported on a large-scale review conducted by the American Institutes for Research that found that of 24 school-wide reform models being advanced in the field, only 3 of the models (Direct Instruction, Success for All, and High Schools That Work) had strong evidence of positive effects on student learning and achievement. It is important to note that the school-wide reform models of RTI (Response to Intervention) and PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) were not in place at the time of Olson’s publications.
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). Washington DC: Author.
Bloom, B. S. (1980). The new direction in educational research: Alterable variables. Phi Delta Kappan, 61, 382-385.
Christle, C. A., & Yell, M. L. (2009). Introduction to emotional and behavioral disorders. In M. L. Yell, N. B. Meadows, E. Drasgow, & J. G. Shriner (Eds.), Evidence-based practices for educating students with emotional and behavioral disorders (pp. 4-21). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Eddy, J. M., Reid, J. B., & Curry, V. (2002). The etiology of youth antisocial behavior, delinquency and violence and a public health approach to prevention. In M. R. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.), Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp. 27-51). Bethesda, MD: National Association for School Psychologists.
Forness, S. R., & Kavale, K. A. (2000). Emotional or behavioral disorders: Background and current status of the EBD terminology and definition. Behavioral Disorders, 25, 264-269.
Heward, W. L. (2003). Ten faulty notions about teaching and learning that hinder the effectiveness of special education.The Journal of Special Education, 36, 186-205.
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Pub. L. No. 101-476, 104 (1990).
Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Pub.L. No. 94-142, § 20 U.S.C. 1400 (2004).
Kauffman, J. M. (2001). Characteristics of emotional and behavior disorders of children and youth (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Kauffman, J. M., & Landrum, T. J. (2009). Characteristics of emotional and behavioral disorders of children and youth (9thed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Olson, L (1990). Following the plan. Education Week, 29, 32.
Singh, N. N. (1996). Cultural diversity in the 21st century: Beyond E. Pluribus Unum. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 5, 121-136.
Smith, T. E., Polloway, J., Patton, C., & Dowdy, C.A. (2004). Teaching students with special needs (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Yell, M. L, Meadows, N. B., Drasgow, E., & Shriner, J. G. (2009). Evidence-based practices for educating students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Merrill/Pearson.