Emotional/Behavioral Disorders


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General Information on Emotional Disturbances and Behavioral Disorders

What is an emotional disturbance (ED)?

It is a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:


~ an inability to learn that cannot be explained be 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


This includes schizophrenia, but does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have a serious emotional disturbance.


A child may have a behavioral disorder but not be considered ED. The determining factor is time, if a child is thought to be in a period of transition their behavior is expected to be temporary.




What is ODD?

ODD stands for oppositional defiant disorder. ODD is characterized by aggressiveness and a tendency to purposefully bother and irritate others. A person displaying ODD is trying to prove that no one has power over them. Most children/teenagers display ODD at one time or another, however it becomes a problem when the behavior does not appear to be transient.


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What is conduct disorder?

A pattern of behavior that involves violation of the rights of others (disobedience, destructiveness, jealousy, boisterousness, inadequate feelings of guilt). It is seen at home, school, and in the community. The child with conduct disorder may show verbal and physical aggression.


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