Legal Brief: Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Characteristics of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders of Children and Youth, 11th Edition
Children with emotional and behavioral disturbance often have difficulties in multiple symptom domains. This study investigates the relationships between child symptoms and caregiver strain and parenting stress among youth and their caregivers participating in a school-based system of care. Youth were grouped by symptom domain and included those with low scores on both internalizing and externalizing symptoms, those with only high internalizing symptoms, those with only high externalizing symptoms, and those with high symptoms levels in both internalizing and externalizing domains. Results revealed significant group differences on measures of caregiver strain and parenting stress. Caregivers of youth with symptoms in both internalizing and externalizing domains reported the highest levels of strain and stress; however, there was some variation in group differences by caregiver outcome. The results of this study emphasize the importance of not only providing services for youth, but also providing support services for their caregivers.
Behavioral disorders are a diverse group of conditions in which a student chronically performs highly inappropriate behaviors. A student with this condition might seek attention, for example, by acting out disruptively in class. Other students with the condition might behave aggressively, be distractible and overly active, seem anxious or withdrawn, or seem disconnected from everyday reality. As with learning disabilities, the sheer range of signs and symptoms defies concise description. The variety among behavioral disorders means that estimates of their frequency also tend to vary among states, cities, and provinces. It also means that in some cases, a student with a behavioral disorder may be classified as having a different condition, such as ADHD or a learning disability. In other cases, a behavioral problem shown in one school setting may seem serious enough to be labeled as a behavioral disorder, even though a similar problem occurring in another school may be perceived as serious, but not serious enough to deserve the label.