Presentation on theme: "Serving Emotionally Disturbed Students Dickey LaMoure Special Education Unit."— Presentation transcript:
Serving Emotionally Disturbed Students Dickey LaMoure Special Education Unit
Federal Definition The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) defines serious emotional disturbance as: "a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, which adversely affects educational performance…”
An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. Federal Definition ~Characteristics~
Federal Definition The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
“condition” A “condition” is defined as a “state of being”. It is not necessarily intended to be a diagnosed label, but it often is.
“long period of time” Generally felt to be 6 months or longer, although the age of the student and the intensity of the behavior must be considered.
To a “marked degree” Significantly different from peers; Observed by more than one person; Observed in more than one setting.
“adversely affects educational performance” May include failing or near failing grades; Inconsistent performance; Excessive energy needed to complete assignments; Personal adjustment; Behavior that adversely affects the education of other students.
An inability to learn… which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. Sample behaviors: Does not complete work during class time; Requires additional drill and practice to learn what others learn easily; Difficulty with short- or long-term memory; Does not turn in homework assignments; Does not remain on task.
An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers. Sample behaviors: Limited ability to demonstrate warmth or empathy; Establishing and maintaining relationships; Lack of affect; Demands for attention; Withdrawal from social interaction; Physical or verbal aggression.
Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances. Sample behaviors: Limited or excessive self-control; Low frustration tolerance Cannot predict consequences of behavior; Rapid changes in mood or behavior; Antisocial behaviors; Strange or unusual utterances; Laughing or crying at inappropriate times.
A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. Sample behaviors: Depressed or irritable mood; Unexpected changes in weight or appetite; Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; Fatigue or diminished energy; Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt; Inability to concentrate.
A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. Sample behaviors: Excessive absences or tardiness; Refusing to attend school; Hallucinations; Unusual aches and pains; Nausea, self-mutilation, complaining; Flinching or cowering. (Symptoms have no medical basis)
You have a student who does not follow directions. Is it because….. He cannot read? She is stubborn and refuses to do the work? He is unable to process what the directions are telling him to do? She is severely depressed and cannot handle the demands of the class. He has difficulty attending to the task? Identification
Any of these reasons could be the correct response. Because of this, identifying students as emotionally disturbed begins much the same as the identification of students with other disabilities— Identification
Interventions Informal Assessments Data Collection Possible Referral for Testing Building Level Support Team
Parent or Teacher Referral Building Level Support Team Interventions Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation Consent for Evaluation Determination of Eligibility
If other disabilities are not present, and the team suspects the presence of emotional disturbance, a social– emotional evaluation follows. Identification
Social-Emotional Evaluation What is included? 1.Previously compiled information from the Building Level Support Team and evaluation instruments; 2.Additional checklists by teachers, parent(s) and student; 3.Personal interview with the student (optional); 4.Personal interview with the parent(s).
Social-Emotional Evaluation Who does it? Option 1: The child is evaluated by an outside medical doctor or clinic; typically in Fargo, Jamestown or Aberdeen. Option 2: A local social-emotional evaluation is done using our own contracted school psychologist.
Social-Emotional Evaluation What if they find something? There are several options: Special education resources may be used to help the student succeed; Other tests might be indicated, such as a neurological evaluation; The student can be put on medication for a particular emotional disorder; Sometimes no emotional condition is identified, but the student is identified as Oppositional-Defiant or Conduct disordered; Some students will require hospitalization or extensive counseling to deal with the problem.
There Are No Easy Answers… The team has to take into consideration Behavior concerns Medical treatments Emotional abilities Safety issues Counselor recommendations Academic progress
What’s the key? Communication People working together
COMMUNICATION ED Consultant or Casemanager: Teachers need to inform the casemanager of changes in behavior or academic performance. Parents: Teachers or ED Consultant need to inform parents of changes. Doctors, Psychologists, etc.: Behavior concerns need to be reported to outside agencies.
What can we do in school? TALK with the student. Develop a relationship. Try to make the student feel comfortable. Getting to know the student will help develop trust and make it more likely that they will seek your assistance.
What can we do in school? LISTEN to the student By listening, you can pick up on what the student is thinking. This will help you neutralize stressful situations; and at the same time, you will communicate that you care. Good listening involves paying attention, eye contact, asking relevant questions and avoiding interruptions.
What can we do in school? WATCH the student’s performance You may notice a pattern. The student may seem to know the answers in casual conversation but fail the test. Knowing what situations bring on a debilitating emotional reaction will help you make adjustments to help the student.
What can we do in school? RECOGNIZE that the emotional needs must be a priority. This is a hard concept—as teachers, we are tuned into academics and may over-emphasize academic success. However, in order to improve the academic success of an emotionally disturbed student, we must first reduce the internal conflicts that interfere with his/her ability to succeed.
What can we do in school? REDUCE ACADEMIC STRESS: Yes, academics cause stress. An emotionally disturbed student will shut down when stress is too great instead of trying to deal with it. “Working harder” is not an option—they are already working hard at keeping it together and handling stress.
Ways to Reduce Academic Stress Don’t put the student on the spot; call on her when she is likely to know the answer. Help the student prepare for changes in routine by letting him know what to expect ahead of time or by posting a schedule on the board.
Ways to Reduce Academic Stress Modify tests (use word banks, use matching or T/F format, etc.). This will reduce test anxiety and thought blockage. Highlight important information or give copies of notes. Emotionally disturbed students may focus on details that are not important or attempt to remember every detail, which increases their anxiety.
The Bottom Line Take one day at a time; Adjust to changes as they occur; Develop a relationship; and Remember that school performance will improve as emotional condition improves.