Behavioral Disorders: Practice Concerns and Students with EBD: Volume 23

Cover of Behavioral Disorders: Practice Concerns and Students with EBD

Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Behavioral Disorders are divided into two volumes: Volume 22, Identification, Assessment and Instruction of Students with EBD, and Volume 23, Practice Concerns and Students with EBD. Since the beginning of the field of emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), professionals have argued and debated about what society accepts as normal emotional and behavioral developmental patterns of children and youth in school environments. This situation has led to many approaches concerned with the identification, assessment, instruction, and clinical practices applied to students with EBD. Unfortunately, some of these approaches were unwarranted, inappropriate, misguided, misinterpreted, over generalized, unneeded, and lacking in fidelity of treatment. In addition, some of the approaches did not take into consideration how treatment and instruction needs to be modified as society changes in regard to opinions, beliefs, and knowledge base information about children and youth with EBD. Positively, special education EBD professionals have gravitated toward the utilization of scientific- and research-based analysis to evaluate past and current approaches. Such an approach produces greater fidelity of treatment as the EBD knowledge base evolves. This is the emphasis that is used by chapter authors as they analyze and discern current perspectives and issues in identification, assessment, instruction, and practice of working with children and youth with EBD.

There is a clear national trend toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. This trend poses particularly vexing challenges for delivering appropriate programs for students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). This chapter describes the complexity of determining appropriate inclusive placements for students with EBD within the historical, legal, and philosophical context of inclusion and related to what we know about these students and how we can improve outcomes. Recommended practices for maximally appropriate placements include a comprehensive approach that integrates academic and behavioral interventions, and robust professional development in research-validated instructional practices for teachers. Shifting roles and shared responsibility of the professionals who are now working with students with EBD must be considered. Finally, issues currently being addressed that will shape the future direction of service delivery for students with EBD are discussed including the need for systematically and objectively manipulating key variables, including educational placement, to impact student achievement across settings.

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) are known to experience academic deficits across core subject areas such as reading and mathematics. Until recently, less attention had been paid to the academic deficits of students with EBD. This was due, in part, to a common belief that academic deficits could not be addressed until problem behaviors were under control. However, within the past decade, we have seen an increase in studies investigating and documenting the academic characteristics of students with EBD and instructional practices that improve the academics of this population. This chapter discusses the general academic characteristics of students with EBD, how teachers can address the academic needs of students with EBD through specific instructional techniques (e.g., Direct Instruction, Strategy Instruction), and future directions and implications for practice.

There is a large body of literature suggesting that students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) lack appropriate social skills, including deficits in building and maintaining interpersonal relationships, prosocial behaviors (e.g., sharing, helping, cooperation), and self-management strategies. While the literature shows small to modest effects of social skills training, these results can in part be contributed to how instruction is delivered. Best practice in social skills instruction includes screening when selecting students for intervention, identifying targeted skills and competing problem behaviors, conducting a functional assessment, and evaluating the effects of intervention. Current issues and perspectives related to social skills training for students with EBD are addressed.

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) present unique challenges to the families and educators supporting them. Even though families and educators report that behavioral issues can be identified by age 3 (Walker, Ramsey, & Gresham, 2004), the commonly used wait-and-see approach to intervening results in children with E/BD not receiving services until after the age of 10 (Park & Scott, 2009). By this time, behaviors have become chronic (Lewis, Jones, Horner, & Sugai, 2010) and educators primarily focus interventions on the child's social skills and behavioral deficits while there is a lack of focus on the student's academic needs (Lane, 2007). The purpose of this chapter is to review trends in E/BD research and practice that specifically focus on social emotional and academic interventions. While there is a strong history and direction for behavioral interventions for students with E/BD, researchers have only begun to investigate the academic learning needs of this population of students. The documented deficits in reading, writing, and mathematics for students with E/BD make it clear that further research is needed in these areas. The use of strategies including self-mediated, group/peer-mediated interventions, and explicit instruction may be effective teaching strategies across content areas. Initial studies show not only improved academic outcomes but also increases in positive behavior. The need for teachers and researchers to focus on the whole child, both the social emotional needs and the academic deficits, is imperative in order to improve the lives of children with E/BD.

The 1990 reauthorization of PL 94-142, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), emphasized the need for applied research in schools to prevent the development of emotional disturbance. Prevention research then led to mandates in IDEA 1997 that schools must develop positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) for children and youth whose behavior impeded their educational performance. This chapter describes how the ensuing research and implementation regarding each of the three-tiers of PBIS have influenced the educational outcomes of students with EBD. Recommendations for school staff using the three-tiered PBUS model are provided so that students with EBD can benefit from implementation of PBIS structures and supports.

We review the concept of response to intervention (RtI) as it is being applied to emotional and behavioral disorders (EDB) in the early part of the 21st century, examining how it differs from and incorporates features of other approaches to addressing those problems, including pre-referral interventions, applied behavior analysis, functional behavioral assessment, curriculum-based measurement, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and special education. After discussing alternative concepts about how RtI might be applied to students with EBD, we note that our search of the literature revealed very few studies examining the application of RtI with students having EBD. We found both substantive and methodological problems in the studies we reviewed. For example, researchers did not describe adequately how students were selected for tiers, what dependent measures were chosen and why, what independent variables were manipulated, what criteria led to moving a child to a different tier, and how RtI addressed (or failed to address) the need for special education services. We conclude that, although some of the components of RtI have solid evidentiary bases, little evidence supports common claims of the benefits of RtI, especially as applied to students with EBD.

Students with emotional and behavioral challenges are significantly impacted by mental health issues. Teachers and other school staff need mental health knowledge to work more effectively with these students. Collaboration with mental health professionals and sharing of information is essential.

Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (E/BD) have been consistently experiencing dismal outcomes. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of outcomes for this population, examine school-based instructional and behavioral strategies, and discuss transition related practices intended to improve present and future outcomes. It is recommended that while transition-specific practices are essential in maximizing the potential for success in post-school environments, it is also necessary to ensure that students with E/BD are engaged in school through evidence-based practices in early intervention/prevention, instructional, and behavioral interventions.

Currently there is a lack of evidence existing on technology specifically to support students with emotional-behavior disorder (EBD) in schools (Fitzpatrick & Knowlton, 2009). However, assistive technology (AT) considerations for all students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must still occur. Evidence exists that technology can compensate for students with other identified disabilities and while the specific research of students with EBD is lacking, students with disabilities, in general, appear to benefit from the support of technology. This chapter discusses how technology supports access to the general education curriculum for student with EBD in the academic areas of reading, writing, and math as well as supports self-management. Resources for free AT are also highlighted.

The purpose of the present chapter is to provide an overview of issues facing families of children and youths with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). We argue that although much is written about families of individuals with disabilities, comparatively little is known about families with children in this category. We suggest that the diversity of family contribution to the individual's EBD makes studying families of this population as a unitary group quite difficult. Despite the difficulty in adequately capturing families of individuals with EBD as a single unit, we describe what is known about (a) parental satisfaction with services for children with EBD, (b) issues affecting parental and family involvement in special education programming and decision-making, (c) the impact of a child with EBD upon siblings, and (d) interventions for EBD that involve families. We conclude by pointing to areas of need for additional research and noting that while educators are in a unique position to assist families of children with EBD, they are restrained by lack of adequate training, competing policy agenda, and constraints on the resources necessary to add this responsibility to the role of classroom teachers.

In this chapter, we provide an overview of the characteristics, content, procedures, processes, and outcomes of effective educator preparation programs for teachers of students with behavioral disorders (BD). We emphasize the need for teachers of students with BD to be fluent with the identification and application of evidence-based practices and discuss how teacher preparation programs best prepare these teachers for the challenges they will face in the classroom. The chapter includes an evaluation checklist for programs preparing educators to teach students with BD; this checklist lists critical competencies, content, and practices (e.g., implementation fidelity, collaboration, classroom management) that should be part of the training for all teachers of students with BD. In addition, we discuss future directions for the field and suggestions for increasing the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs that prepare teachers of students with BD.

Cover of Behavioral Disorders: Practice Concerns and Students with EBD
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Special Education
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN