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Emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) is a broad category which is used commonly in educational settings, to group a range of more specific perceived difficulties of children and adolescents. Both general definitions as well as concrete diagnosis of EBD may be controversial as the observed behavior may depend on many factors. Children may have behavior disorders causing significant clinical disruption to their functioning or more minor behavior problems
U.S.A. Federal Definition
A child exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics to a marked degree for a long duration of time that adversely affects their education:
1. Difficulty to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
2. Difficulty to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
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. Code of Federal Regulation, Title 34, Section 300.7 (c) (4) (ii)
A child who internalizes their emotions is said to be suffering from Depression, and experience loss of interest in activities including school work.
This goes with one part of the EBD federal definition; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
Teachers of these children are asked to:
- monitor medications for side effects and behavioral fluctuations.
- assist with behavioral treatments in the classroom.
- reinforce cognitive behavioral interventions related to classroom.
Words and phrases that are commonly used with children who externalize are extroverted, under-controlled, and acting out.
These children act out their emotions instead of holding them in. Fighting, bullying, cursing, and other forms of violence are often seen in children who externalize.
Strategies for helping students classified with EBD
1. Routine: Provide a structured routine with visual time clock. Auditory sound cues may be helpful in addition to visual cues to help students manage their time efficiently. Post schedule and refer to schedule on regular basis. Routines may take 6-8 weeks to establish or even more for this population of students.
2. Changes in Routine: Convey any changes of routine to students as soon as available. The sooner students are aware of changes the more time students have to adjust to the new routine.
3. Classroom Jobs Chart/Classroom Order Chart: Classroom jobs offer an opportunity for student to show responsibility. In order to ensure success, make sure students have an opportunity to experience every job. One suggestion is having a chart with each students name and according job. Every week rotate the jobs. The list can double as the order in which students line up or choose preferred activities. Students with EBD classification tend to be competitive and need specific procedures informing the order students line up and choose activities.
4. Logical Consequences: Students must fix what they break. If a student pushes over a desk, he or she must pick it up. If a student runs in the hall, she must practice walking the correct way. If the student talks during the lesson, student must make up the work on his time. Be consistent with consequences so students know what is expected of them.
5. Target Behaviors: After taking data on students observable behavior, determine which behavior or behaviors to direct attention. Work with student to develop a plan to replace undesirable behavior with a more suitable behavior. If student throws desks and pencils when angry, have student work on communicating anger to an adult or trusted peer and how to be assertive without being aggressive.
6. Small Flexible Grouping: Students with EBD may have difficulty establishing relationships with peers. Abusive language and other behaviors may interfere with learning. Smaller groups decrease distractions and student-to-teacher ratio. Differentiation of instruction is more manageable with smaller groups.
7. Audience: During a serious behavior episode, the most effective strategy may be to remove the audience. The audience typically is other peers but may be other adults. The audience can be removed by moving the student if he or she is willing. However, moving the audience may be necessary in some cases. Develop a procedure with your class which will function as an "everybody out" drill. Behaviors amplified with an audience may be reduced or complete stopped when an audience is removed.
8. Calm spot: Have a designated area of the classroom for students to calm down. This spot can be used pro actively to prevent behaviors. Alternatively, the spot may be used after a behavior occurs to give the student a chance to refocus.
9. "Golden Carrot": A designated time usually at the end of the day can be used as incentive time. Discuss with students how they can earn an activity or prize at the end of the day. A behavior modification system and token economy may be used in conjunction with the incentives. Students may also reinforce math skills if a school store system is implemented. While younger students can use a smile/frown system, older students can use a point system. Talk with computer, gym, music, art, and library teachers to see if they would allow the students to have more specials time at the end of the day. Cooperative games can be taught for use in the gym to encourage generalization of adaptive behaviors.
10. Choices: Students may frustrate easily when doing work. Giving students an option of when to complete the work is a powerful tool. For example, a teacher may say, "You need to get this done today. Would you rather do it now or during your free time?"
- World Mental Health Day 2003: Emotional and behavioral disorders of children & adolescents
- What is an emotional or behavioral disorder?
- Behaviour Management (EBD) Review Group: Published reviews
- Intervention Central
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