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Emotional & Behavior

​One or more of the following five characteristics must be present for the student to be diagnosed with this disability:

a. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

b. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

c. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

d. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

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

These characteristics must be present over a long period of time and to a degree that negatively affects the students' academic performance.

Did You Know

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... during the 2011–2012 school year, 358,389 students ages 6 to 21 received special education services as emotionally disturbed?

... this group of students comprised approximately 6.29% of all students receiving special education and 0.8% of all students in schools, a prevalence rate that is a moderate decline from a decade ago?

... as with both learning disabilities and ADHD, far more males than females are diagnosed at school as having emotional and behavior disorders?

What are individuals with EBD / ED like?


Externalized Display

Externalizing Behaviors are easy to notice because uncontrollable emotions will direct outward in forms of verbal or physical aggression, noncompliance, or delinquent acts.


May lead to quick outbursts and impulsive responses due to excessive levels of depression or aggression.


Internalized Emotions

Internalizing Behaviors are difficult to notice because intense emotions or problems are directed inward. These internalizing behaviors can include depression, anxiety, and somatic complaints.


Do not participate or engage in class due to excessive levels of unreasonable, intense anxieties or fears.

Potential Impact

Due to intense disturbances of behavior, a person may be inadequate in social settings and are likely to receive lower grades because it is harder to focus with overflowing negative emotions. This may lead to chronic mental health concerns, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempts.

What are the Causes of EBD / ED?



There are many brain disorders that cluster within families, showing a genetic disposition.

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Brain Damage

Resulting from injury, infection, poor nutrition or exposure to toxins such as lead.

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Child Maltreatment

Includes malnutrition, aggression, neglect, physical and emotional abuse.

Classroom Strategies

Effective Early Interventions

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