Emotional Disturbance

In order to qualify as a student with emotional disturbance under the IDEA, a child must exhibit one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree:  

  • - Inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;  

- 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; or

- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

The presence of one of these characteristics must adversely affect the child’s educational performance in order to fall under IDEA provisions.  Emotional disturbance does not provide services to children who are solely socially maladjusted or solely because the child is adjudicated delinquent. (34 C.F.R. §300.8(c)4(i)-(ii)).

Some examples of disturbance areas that are included under IDEA are:

  • - Schizophrenia;

  • - Seriously aggressive or acting out behavior;

  • - Inappropriate affective disorders such as depression;

  • - Psychosomatic disorders;

  • - Anxiety disorders;

  • - Self-mutilating behaviors; or

  • - Excessive fears or phobias.

Emotional disturbances causes significant distress for your child and family as well as obstacles to learning in the classroom.  Let our firm help you not only identify, but address the specific needs of your child through an IEP. We can help you draft meaningful educational goals and any necessary modifications to create a beneficial learning environment.  We can also teach you how to gauge your child’s progress and stay on top of her development throughout the years. We can also help you to obtain behavioral and mental health services through the Medial Assistance system.