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What’s in a label?

Posted Jan 01 2005 12:00am

I’m using “emotional or behavioral disorders” (EBD) in place of “serious emotional disturbance” in this space. In U.S. law, the latter term was still is use until recently, despite the sensible reasons for using the former term, when the adjective “serious” was dropped. It’s a topic that requires more discussion than I can muster at this moment, but there are plenty of sources for those who would like to examine the topic of what we call those students who have so much difficulty over an extended time relating to adults and peers that their school learning suffers. Steve Forness and Ken Kavale discussed it in a book I co-edited in the 1990s: Forness, S. R., & Kavale, K. A. (1997). Defining emotional or behavioral disorders in school and related services. In J. W. Lloyd, E. J. Kameenui, & D. Chard (Eds.), Issues in educating students with disabilities (pp. 45-61). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Regardless of what we call them, these students need help. In this space, I plan to discuss the

  • rationale for serving indivuals with EBD,
  • some issues in the nature and causes of EBD, and
  • methods for assessing and treating EBD.

[Edited 19 April 2006]

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