Emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD) are hard to define. Professionals use an array of words based on observations combined with judgments about classroom behavior. Common terms are used such as: immature, hyperactive, withdrawn, or needs attention (Henley, Ramsey, Algozzine 121). The purpose of this paper will be to give the definition of emotional disturbance and describe in detail the characteristics and traits of the following categories: conduct disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, aggressive behavior and schizophrenia. In addition, I will describe the four theoretical viewpoints and techniques in the study of emotional behavior problems as it relates to working with ED students. The definition of emotional disturbance is, a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, which adversely affects a child's educational performance: •
An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
An inability to build or maintain satisfactory 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 and school problems The term includes schizophrenia, but does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance (Henley, Ramsey, Algozzine 121-22). As is evident in IDEA’s definition, emotional disturbances can affect an individual in areas beyond the emotional. Depending on the specific mental disorder involved, a person’s physical, social, or cognitive skills may also be affected. Some of the characteristics and behaviors seen in children who have an emotional disturbance include: •
Hyperactivity (short attention span, impulsiveness)
Aggression or self-injurious behavior (acting out, fighting) •
Withdrawal (not interacting socially with others, excessive fear or anxiety) •
Immaturity (inappropriate crying, temper tantrums, poor coping skills) •
Learning difficulties (academically performing below grade level) (Code of •
Federal Regulations, Title 34, §300.8(c)(4)(ii)) Children with the most serious emotional disturbances may exhibit distorted thinking, excessive anxiety, bizarre motor acts, and abnormal mood swings. Many children who do not have emotional disturbance may display some of these same behaviors at various times during their development. However, when children have an emotional disturbance, these behaviors continue over long periods of time. Their behavior signals that they are not coping with their environment or peers. No one knows the actual cause or causes of emotional disturbance, although several factors—heredity, brain disorder, diet, stress, and family functioning—have been suggested and vigorously researched. A great deal of research goes on every day, but to date, researchers have not found that any of these factors are the direct cause of behavioral or emotional problems. According to NAMI, mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Further: Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.
The following is a summation of characteristics and traits of the following categories related with emotional/behavioral disturbance: conduct disorders; depression; obsessive-compulsive disorders; schizophrenia and aggressive behaviors. Conduct Disorder - is a repetitive and persistent...
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