Students With Emotional Disturbance or Behavioral Disorder




1. Students with EBD all struggle with mental illness. T/F

2. Students with EBD exhibit externalizing and internalizing behaviors. T/F

3. Genetics and the student’s environment play a role in causing EBD. T/F

4. RTI can be used to identify students with EBD. T/F

5. Using positive rules and positive reinforcement can help improve the behavior of students with EBD. T/F

Answers can be found at the end of the chapter.

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

1. Explain the difference between ED and BD.

2. Explain the evolution of EBD.

3. Describe the characteristics of students with EBD.

4. Describe potential causes of EBD.

5. Explain how and when students are diagnosed with EBD.

6. Discuss how RTI can be used to identify students with EBD.

7. Explain how teaching students with EBD differs across grade levels.

8. Explain which classroom strategies are helpful for teaching students with EBD.

9. Explain PBS, and discuss why it’s widely used for managing behavior.


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CHAPTER 4Section 4.1 What Are Emotional Disturbance and Behavior Disorder?


Any classroom has students who sometimes blurt out answers, get out of their seats, or push another student in the lunch line. Kids are kids, and kids don’t always follow the rules. For a small number of students, however, difficult behav- iors can go beyond the mild or typical, and lead to disruptions in the classroom. For example, a student may have elevated anxiety and be unable to perform classroom tasks. Or, a student may experience a lack of emotional control, throwing tantrums in the class- room and trying to hit other students. When those behaviors are consistent enough and disruptive enough, they may be indicative of a student with an emotional disturbance (ED) or behavioral disorder (BD)—emotional or behavioral difficulties that the student finds difficult to control.

This chapter gives the characteristics and possible causes of ED and BD. As the EBD field has evolved, so have the methods of diagnosis, teaching strategies, specialized plans, and individual instruction that can help these students with their behavior difficulties.


Students with EBD may experience a wide range of emotions and behaviors. Much of the time, behaviors and emotions are easy to see: hitting, crying, or arguing. Sometimes, however, behaviors and emotions are much more subtle. Students may withdraw from social interaction, be anxious, or have suicidal thoughts.

4.1 What Are Emotional Disturbance and Behavior Disorder?

An emotional and behavioral disorder is a disorder in which a student exhibits atypical behaviors. These behaviors may affect the student’s academic performance. The follow-ing sections highlight common disorders and conditions that fall under the umbrella term of EBD and discuss the prevalence of EBD.

Defining ED and BD Students with emotional disturbance (ED) typically exhibit behavior that is considered inappropri- ate, unusual, or excessive. In recent years, behavioral disorder (BD) has become more commonly used to describe students with emotional and behavior difficulties because some educators and health care professionals believe it has more positive connotations than ED. This disability cat- egory also is commonly referred to as emotional and behavioral disorder (EBD) . The rest of this chapter will refer to ED and BD as EBD (except when the topic is the category of ED, as defined by IDEA 2004).

Students with EBD typically exhibit behavior that is atypical and extreme. Usually these behaviors are unexpected and in violation of societal and cultural norms. The students may exhibit difficult behaviors consistently or sporadically, but the difficulties persist over time.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.1 What Are Emotional Disturbance and Behavior Disorder?

Students with EBD require specialized support to increase their behavioral and emotional skills. Sometimes, these students can receive this support in the general classroom; sometimes their needs are better met in another setting. Many students with EBD struggle with self-regulation, the act of monitoring one’s own behavior and learning to control it or act in specific ways.

Types of EBD A variety of disorders can fall under the category of EBD. To begin sorting out the wide range of issues that can be grouped together in this category, consider some of the more common emo- tional and behavioral psychiatric disorders outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). This is the leading guidebook for the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Although these are medical categories, not educational ones, they do describe some of the many problems of stu- dents that fall under the EBD label in education.

• An Adjustment Disorder is when students have difficulty adjusting to new or stressful changes or events (e.g., a move to a new house, divorce of parents). Students must exhibit the difficulty within three months of the change or event, and their symptoms must end no more than six months from the conclusion of the change or event.

• Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are disorders related to weight and body image. • Anxiety Disorders may cause students to exhibit physical symptoms (e.g., stomach

ache) or inappropriate responses (e.g., giggles, cries). All students experience anxiety at some point; it is only when that anxiety lasts a long time and interferes with academic work that the student may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

• Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder causes students to exhibit inattentive, hyper- active, or impulsive behaviors that interfere with social and academic performance. ADHD affects approximately 3–10% of students, so Chapter 5 addresses it in detail. However, please note that ADHD is not an independent category under IDEA. Some educators categorize ADHD under ED, but others categorize it under Other Health Impairment (OHI).

• Bipolar Disorder causes students to go through a pattern of extreme highs and lows. The swings in mood can be very quick and difficult to predict.

• Conduct Disorder is when students violate established rules or norms. Some character- istics of Conduct Disorder include bullying other students, physical cruelty to humans or animals, running away from home, being reckless, or skipping school.

• Major Depressive Disorder is when a student experiences depressive episodes on a periodic basis. Students may become irritable and not be able to get along with other students or adults.

• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes students to develop obsessions or com- pulsions that interfere with everyday activities. Obsessions are persistent thoughts or impulses, and compulsions are persistent behaviors or acts. OCD is a type of anxiety disorder.

• Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) causes students to have defiant and hostile behaviors towards authority figures. These behaviors must last for six months or longer. Typically, students with ODD are less aggressive towards humans and animals and less likely to destroy property than students with Conduct Disorder. Students with ODD may argue and defy the rules of adults or deliberately annoy or blame others.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.1 What Are Emotional Disturbance and Behavior Disorder?

• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) typically follows a traumatic event (e.g., death in the family). For a diagnosis of PTSD, the symptoms must appear no later than one month after the traumatic event. Characteristics of students with PTSD often include sleeplessness, nightmares, or fear. PTSD is one of the anxiety disorders.

• Selective Mutism is when a student does not speak in social settings. Usually students exhibit characteristics of selective mutism before they enter school, although a few students will not speak during their years at school.

• Schizophrenia causes dramatic personality changes, hallucinations, delusions, para- noia, or catatonic behavior. Symptoms often first appear during puberty, although younger students may have schizophrenia.

• Tourette’s disorder results in verbal or physical tics that occur regularly and without control. Common tics include blinking eyes, sniffling, clearing the throat, tapping, snapping, shrugging shoulders, or shouting out, although students exhibit a wide variety of different tics. Sometimes, districts categorize Tourette’s under the disability category of Other Health Impairment.

EBD and IDEA 2004 IDEA 2004 uses the term emotional disturbance (ED) as its umbrella term, instead of EBD. The specific characteristics it outlines also differ somewhat from those covered in the DSM-IV psychi- atric disorders. The formal definition in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (2004) is as follows:

Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

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.

Emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to chil- dren who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emo- tional disturbance.

Note that socially maladjusted means that a student engages in violence, truancy, substance abuse, or has problems with authority figures.

Prevalence of EBD EBD, as a disability, accounts for approximately 6.3% of special education students. Approximately one-third of identified students spend 80% or more of their time in the general classroom. Minor- ity students are overrepresented in EBD statistics, meaning the percentage of minority students receiving special education services related to EBD exceeds the percentage of minority students in

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.2 How Has the EBD Field Evolved?

the overall student population (Zhang & Katsiyannis, 2002). More students are identified with EBD in secondary school than in preschool and elementary school (Forness, Kim, & Walker, 2012).

A little less than 1% of school-age students receive special educa- tion services for ED under IDEA 2004. Researchers believe that the percentage of school-age students who have EBD is higher than that; they estimate that it is 6–7% (Kauffman & Landrum, 2006; Merikangas et al., 2009). Like many students identified with EBD, these unidentified stu- dents spend all of their school day in the general classroom. There- fore, general and special educa- tion teachers need to know the characteristics of these students and the teaching strategies that can help them (Smith, Katsiyan- nis, & Ryan, 2010).

4.2 How Has the EBD Field Evolved?

Before special education legislation in the United States provided a free, appropriate public education to students with EBD, most students with emotional and behavioral problems were characterized as having a mental illness. Mental illness is the medical term for mental conditions that affect how a person feels, thinks, and functions. Common disorders that classify as a mental illness include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

IDEA 2004 does not use the term mental illness to describe students with mental disorders. Men- tal illness is a medical term, whereas EBD is the educational term. Some students with EBD have a mental illness, whereas many students have behavioral disorders that would not qualify as a mental illness.

Chapter 1 described Victor, the “wild boy of Aveyron,” who created a sensation when he emerged from life in a French forest in 1800 at age 12 without communication or social skills. Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard tried to educate Victor, but his efforts were largely unsuccessful. Given what we know of his limited emotional skills and behavioral difficulties, Victor likely had an EBD (Lane, Jolivette, Conroy, Nelson, & Benner, 2011).

Victor was treated by medical professionals, but many others were not as fortunate. Until the 20th century, many children and adults who probably had EBD were excluded from society activi- ties, such as schooling and working. Those with severe EBD may have been placed into institu- tions or poorhouses. Some of these institutions neglected the basic needs of their patients (e.g., limited food, dirty living conditions), and some patients underwent controversial therapies (e.g., shock therapy).


Boys are typically identified with EBD more often than girls (Sacks & Kern, 2008). This may occur because boys often exhibit behaviors that are more noticeable (e.g., getting out of seat or yelling), so teachers refer more boys for evaluation.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.2 How Has the EBD Field Evolved?

In the middle of the 20th century, students with EBD began to receive more attention from a vari- ety of mental health professionals and educators. Schools in major cities across the United States were established for students with emotional disturbances and for “maladjusted youth” (Birch, 1956). For example, starting in 1946 in New York City, 14 special schools were opened to provide instruction to students with emotional disturbances. Some of these schools were in institutions or psychiatric hospitals, and all the schools worked on modifying the behavior of students as well as improving their academic outcomes.

The New York City schools earned the nickname of “600” schools because teachers who taught at these schools received an extra $600 (Birch, 1956). In 1966, this name was changed to Special Day Schools for Socially Maladjusted and Emotionally Disturbed Children because a stigma had developed around the “600” schools. Many schools that opened during this time (like the Pioneer House in Detroit, MI or the League School in Brooklyn, NY) were residential programs for students with severe emotional disturbances (like schizophrenia). While these facilities were available to a select group of students in major cities, many students across the United States did not have access to such classrooms and specialized instruction because smaller schools in rural areas did not have enough students to fill specialized schools or the finan- cial resources to create and run such schools.

In 1964, a division of the Coun- cil for Exceptional Children was started to focus on behavioral disorders, and in 1968, the first journal devoted to applied behav- ior analysis was published (Lane et al., 2011). With the passing of PL 94-142 in 1975, ED was recog- nized as a disability category, and schools across the nation were able to receive funding to provide free and appropriate education for students with EBD. Research- ers began developing and testing teaching practices for these stu- dents to understand how teach- ers can best teach them.

Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Before schools were required to provide an education for all students, some students with EBD were institutionalized. Often, conditions in these institutions were not favorable, but they may have been better than conditions at home. As people learned more about those with mental illness and EBD, the treatment of students and adults became much more humane.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.2 How Has the EBD Field Evolved?

Special Education: Your Profession Currently in Special Education Current federal law requires evidence-based practices to be used in classrooms across the United States. In order to scientifically validate an instructional technique and find out if it works, researchers must investigate it. Who conducts this research? What kind of research occurs? Who funds it?

Many people conduct research in special education areas, including EBD. A lot of these people are pro- fessors at universities or colleges who conduct studies to learn about the best ways to teach students with disabilities. Some people work at private organizations or non-profit agencies, and they conduct research studies with the help of these organizations. Some researchers may conduct their studies in schools, and others have students come to their research labs or clinics.

The method of research varies depending upon the questions that the researcher wants to answer and the students in the study. Some researchers conduct randomized-control trials where a group of stu- dents is randomly assigned to receive an experimental program and another is assigned to not receive the program. This latter group serves as a “control” group, and the researcher uses it to decide if the group that participated in the program has significantly improved their outcomes. Randomized-control trials can be used when the researcher has access to an adequate number of students with similar characteristics. Researchers may implement several programs, each with a different group of students, and compare student performance to the control group.

Other researchers use single-subject design to determine the effect of an experimental program. Researchers conduct single-subject studies when they can only find a few students with specific dis- ability characteristics to be in the study. For example, researchers might only find a few students in a school system with PTSD. With a single-subject study, the researcher typically establishes a baseline— how the student performs when the research program is not in place. Then the researcher introduces the research program and documents the student’s academic or behavioral performance with the pro- gram. Single-subject researchers may introduce several different programs at various times during the research study and then may stop programs to see how the student responds. There are many varia- tions to single-subject research.

In another method of research, a researcher observes a classroom or student and describes the teach- ing or behavior in the classroom so that other teachers can learn from it. This falls under a category called qualitative research because the quality of something is described. Randomized-control and sin- gle-subject research are considered quantitative research because data, or quantity, is used to describe student or teacher performance.

Who provides funds for these different types of research? At the federal government level, the Insti- tute of Education Sciences, which also runs the What Works Clearinghouse, has grant competitions, in which researchers submit grant proposals. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) also provide grant money for research. Private organizations, both those devoted to understanding disability (e.g., Autism Speaks) and those devoted to improving lives (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), may also provide grant money to study specific questions related to special education.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.3 What Are the Characteristics of Students With EBD?

4.3 What Are the Characteristics of Students With EBD?

Typically, behaviors associated with EBD are characterized as either “externalizing” or “inter-nalizing.” As the names suggest, students aim externalizing behaviors toward other people (e.g., hitting, shouting, bullying), while they direct internalizing behaviors toward them- selves (e.g., nervousness, crying). Students with EBD will usually exhibit one or the other set of behaviors, though sometimes they exhibit both. Males exhibit externalizing behaviors more fre- quently than females, whereas females exhibit internalizing behaviors more often than males (Kaiser, Cai, & Hancock, 2002; Walker et al., 1994).

Externalizing Behaviors Students with externalizing behaviors provoke others and draw attention through obvious behav- ior acts. Externalizing behaviors appear to be more prevalent than internalizing behaviors. That is, students with EBD are often identified with externalizing behaviors—perhaps because external- izing behaviors are often disruptive and noticeable (Feinfeld & Baker, 2004).

Students with EBD are more likely to talk out of turn and be out of their seat than they are to display more violent or troubling behaviors (Carter, Clayton, & Stephenson, 2006). These “minor” behaviors, however, occur frequently and cause disruption in classroom routines. All students will talk at inappropriate times and demonstrate off-task behavior at some point in their school

careers. The student may have an EBD, however, when those behav- iors are sufficiently consistent and disruptive to the classroom. Stu- dents with externalizing behav- iors generally appear to have difficulty or conflicts with other students in the classroom and have difficulty making and keep- ing friends (Heward, 2005).

It is important to note that sev- eral of the characteristics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also appear on the list of externalizing behaviors. ADHD, which will be discussed in Chapter 5, is a separate dis- ability category from EBD. How- ever, some of the characteristics of EBD appear in students with ADHD, and many students with ADHD also have an EBD.


When a student throws a chair across the classroom or pushes another student to the floor, and similar behaviors persist over time, it is easy for a teacher to see that an EBD may be at play. Externalizing behaviors draw attention to the student, and teachers need to figure out the triggers that bring on these behaviors in order to lessen the number of occurrences for the student.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.3 What Are the Characteristics of Students With EBD?

Internalizing Behaviors In contrast to students with externalizing behaviors, students with internalizing behaviors try to avoid social interaction as much as possible. Teachers and parents may overlook internalizing behaviors because the student does not draw attention to him- or herself, but these behaviors can be detrimental if ignored.

If teachers and parents do not notice the behavior of internal- izing students, serious conse- quences, even to the point of injury or death, can occur. For example, anorexia nervosa is an internalizing behavior. If not treated, a student with anorexia nervosa can develop major medi- cal issues and, in some cases, die. Another internalizing behavior may be depression. If students do not receive proper attention and learn to live with and manage depression, they may do harm to themselves or to others.

Table 4.1 provides examples of externalizing and internalizing behaviors.

Table 4.1: Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors

Externalizing behaviors Internalizing behaviors

• Argue • Bully • Curse • Damage property • Disturb other students • Fail to complete assignments • Fight • Ignore authority figures • Be late for class • Lie • Get out of seat • Produce audible noise

(e.g., hum, sing, snap, tap, whistle) • Refuse authoritative requests • Swear • Talk when inappropriate • Throw temper tantrums • Throw objects

• Being anxious • Being bullied • Being fearful • Nervousness • Unhappiness • Cling to authority figures • Complain of illness • Cry • Daydream • Fantasize • Not play with other students • Spend time alone • Suffer depression

Sources: Benner, Nelson, Sanders, & Ralston, 2012; Carter, Clayton, & Stephenson, 2006; Heward, 2005.

Sources: Cook et al., 2011; Heward, 2005; Williams et al., 2009.

Image Source/SuperStock

As opposed to externalizing behaviors, internalizing behaviors, such as anxiety or nervousness, are not always obvious, and often much harder to spot. They may only come to light once a student falls significantly behind in classroom work.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.4 What Are the Causes of EBD?

Academic Characteristics Students with EBD often perform below students without disabilities on academic tasks (Kaiser et al., 2002). In fact, the academic performance of students with EBD is often similar to students with a specific learning disability (SLD) (Sabornie, Cullinan, Osborne, & Brock, 2005). Students with EBD often receive lower grades than students without EBD (Smith et al., 2010). Students are also more likely to be suspended from school, and missed classroom time contributes to lower academic performance.

Students with EBD may exhibit some of the following behaviors and characteristics, which affect academic performance. They may frequently:

• be absent, • blame others for poor performance, • have difficulty working in groups, • break classroom rules, • be inattentive, • interrupt classroom instruction, • intimidate other students, • have low self esteem, • manipulate other students and situations, • have poor concentration, • appear preoccupied, • resist changes in routine or transitions between activities, • speak out, or • violate personal space.

As you can see, many of these characteristics are caused by externalizing behaviors.

4.4 What Are the Causes of EBD?

There is no consensus on the causes of EBD; the factors that contribute probably include those related to biology, as well as family and school environment (Quinn et al., 2000). Biology Students with family members who have experienced characteristics of EBD have a higher rate of diagnosis of it, so genetic predisposition likely plays a role (Kauffman, 2005). For example, stu- dents with schizophrenia (one type of EBD) have a higher likelihood of having a parent or sib- ling with schizophrenia than students without schizophrenia (Haraldsson, Ettinger, & Sigurdsson, 2011). Research in this area is at the beginning stages, but with more work on the coding of genes

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

and a better understanding of the brain and central nervous system, we may gain a better understand- ing of how genetics influence the development of EBD.

Other biological factors may include malnutrition (especially at an early age when brain devel- opment is rapid), physical illness, or allergies (Kauffman, 2005). All of these factors have been sug- gested as contributors, but there is no consensus on whether these factors actually cause EBD; the research continues (Quinn et al., 2000).

Environment A student’s family environment or events that occur within the fam-

ily may also contribute to EBD (Williams et al., 2009). Just as parents can have a positive influence on their child’s behavior, parents can also negatively affect their child’s behavior. Perhaps a parent ignores a child, yells at them continuously, or abuses them. All of these actions may contribute to EBD. The family structure, how the family members interact with one another, and outside influ- ences may all affect the likelihood of a student developing an EBD (Kauffman, 2005).

The student’s school environment may also be a contributing factor, especially when school staff do not provide an appropriate learning environment for students, or have an inadequate behav- ior management plan. For example, teachers may continuously berate students for not follow- ing directions, and students may decide, consciously or subconsciously, to stop listening to the teacher, to stop doing assignments, or to stop coming to school altogether.

4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

As with other disabilities, a family member or classroom teacher typically initiates the evaluation process for EBD. School personnel or medical professionals may evaluate a student. If schools do the evaluation, the personnel may administer a battery of tests or use RTI for identification. Schools may also conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and write a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) for the student. In general, students are said to have EBD if they exhibit chronic and/or extreme inappropriate behavior over an extended period of time that has adverse effects on their educational performance (Gresham, 2005). Generally, students must exhibit the behavior(s), whether internalizing, externalizing, or a combination of the two, for at least three months (Quinn et al., 2000). These behaviors can develop at any age, and can be most prevalent in certain environments (e.g., at school).


Students with a family member with EBD are more likely to experience it themselves. For example, students with a parent with depression often display externalizing and internalizing behaviors more than students without a parent with depression (Watson, Potts, Hardcastle, Forehand, & Compas, 2012).

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

There is no definitive screening test for EBD. Therefore, evaluation procedures vary by state, dis- trict, and school (Zirkel, 2011). A determining factor is whether a student’s actions interfere with his or her ability to achieve academically.

When a parent or teacher begins the referral process, they first need to document behavior pat- terns, both appropriate and inappropriate, to determine if an EBD is present. This documentation can be gathered through direct observations of the student or through checklists, interviews, or questionnaires (Figure 4.1). The documentation of behavior should occur in a variety of settings (e.g., in language arts class, algebra class, and the cafeteria) over a number of days.

Figure 4.1: Behavioral Observation Checklist

When a teacher expresses concern about a student’s behavior, the teacher must gather information about the type of behavior and how often the behavior occurs. In this behavior checklist, the teacher can make tally marks under each behavior to determine which ones occur most frequently. The teacher can also gather data across multiple days. This information can be presented to the evaluation team or to the student’s family to help show why an EBD evaluation might be necessary.

Diagnosis of EBD may also come from a medical or mental health professional. The professional will typically consult the DSM-IV to determine whether the student fulfills disability or disorder criteria. The DSM-IV is helpful because it provides professionals with a consistent way to diagnose students; the diagnosis of disabilities or disorders should not vary from professional to professional. (Note that a fifth edition of the DSM is due for release in May of 2013.) Schools may also use the criteria set forth in the DSM-IV to assist with the diagnosis of students with EBD.

Behavioral Observation

Student Name: Teacher Name:


Teachers: Record the number of times the student exhibits one of the behaviors listed above during class. At the end of the week, add up the number of occurrences in the bottom row.

Week of:

Disruptive to Class







Disrespectful Uncooperative Unprepared Other Unnecessary


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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

The IEP team decides where the student with EBD will receive instruction. Approximately one- third of students will spend most of their day in the general classroom, where they will participate in the general curriculum with academic or behavioral accommodations (Smith, Katsiyannis, & Ryan, 2011). Common accommodations for students with EBD might include preferential seating (near the front of the classroom or away from distractions), use of a timer for monitoring on-task behavior, and use of a quiet area to calm down.

The other two-thirds of students may spend some of their time in the general classroom and some of their time in a resource room or self-contained environment. The IEP team may decide to place a student with extreme behavior difficulties in a special school or even an institution. Students who are placed in special schools or institutions (e.g., psychiatric hospital) often have severe emo- tional or behavioral disorders that may cause them to harm others or themselves.

Many students with EBD take medications, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, stimulants, and tranquilizers (Quinn et al., 2000) to help control some of their EBD characteristics. As dis- cussed in Chapter 5, the choice about medicating a student is made by the family and medical professionals. The school does have a role, though. For medications to work effectively, they must be taken as prescribed, and the school must provide a way for the student to safely take the medi- cation during school hours when that is required.

Response to Intervention Response to Intervention (RTI), as you’ve learned, is predominantly used to identify students with SLD who experience academic difficulties. RTI can also be used to identify students with behavioral difficulties who require specialized support. As described in Chapter 3, RTI is based on a tiered model of increasing levels of support and intervention to reduce academic difficulties. In addition to mitigating academic struggles of students with EBD, this model may be helpful in designing interventions aimed at correcting student behavior.

A typical RTI model for behavior includes three tiers (Maag & Katsiyannis, 2008; Sayeski & Brown, 2011). Similar to RTI for identification of SLD, schools must use evidence-based practices across tiers, and monitoring the progress of student behavior within these tiers helps teachers make decisions about response and nonresponse to the programs at each tier. Students who demon- strate inadequate growth or who do not meet specified scores move to the next tier of support.

Tier 1 At Tier 1, which takes place in the general classroom, all students participate in a behavior man- agement program. One of the most common programs with a strong research base is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS), sometimes referred to as Positive Behavioral Support (PBS). In PBIS, the school establishes rules for school behavior. The rules are stated in positive language and are applicable across school settings. PBIS focuses on rewarding students for demonstrating good behavior rather than punishing students for bad behavior. Often token economies or reward systems are a part of PBIS.

Token economies involve giving students tokens (e.g., poker chips or stickers) for demonstrating good behavior. Students collect their tokens for a reward, and tokens can be taken away for unac- ceptable behavior. Reward systems give students tangible or intangible rewards for good behavior.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

From My Perspective: Using PBIS My name is Michael, and I’m a special education teacher who teaches within several general education classrooms. I work with students with various disabilities. To me, the most chal- lenging student to work with is the young man or woman with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD). These students often exhibit behaviors that are very disruptive to instruc- tion, and can spill over to cause problems with classmates. There are multiple evidence-based interventions known to help support students with EBD; one such framework that my co-teachers and I utilize is positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS).

PBIS is not an intervention, nor is it a specific program; instead, it encompasses many different practices and decision-making guidelines as a framework intended to provide proactive and positive supports for all students. PBIS offers teachers various interventions to be used at three tiers of behavior support: primary, secondary, and tertiary. For instance, a core tenet of PBIS at the primary level is teaching all students classroom expectations on an ongoing basis. Rather than punishing students when they fail to meet expectations, teachers can re-teach expectations when misbehavior occurs, and provide positive reinforcement when students demonstrate desired behaviors.

Research on PBIS shows that these are more effective ways of proactively promoting a positive class- room climate. The reinforcement can take the form of tangible reinforcers (e.g., tickets that go into a drawing for a weekly prize) or access to preferred activities, such as spending time with a favorite teacher/staff member, getting out of class one minute early, or receiving a positive phone call home.

When I work with students with EBD, I have also used the Good Behavior Game (GBG). The GBG has a long record of success for supporting student behavior across multiple age levels. Within PBIS, the GBG is altered so that the teacher “plays” against a specific student (rather than two teams drawn from all students in the class). The teacher explicitly notes when the student meets expectations (e.g., they catch the student being good), which earns points. Points are not deducted for misbehavior; rather they are awarded to the teacher’s “team.” When a student scores more points than the teacher, a series of desired reinforcers are triggered depending on the student’s preferences.

Another evidence-based practice that falls within the secondary level of PBIS is explicitly teaching stu- dents to self-monitor their behavior. Self-monitoring strategies can be tailored for any number of dis- ruptive behaviors, and can be used in conjunction with the GBG. The key with self-monitoring, or any explicit strategy instruction, is that the teacher takes the needed time to introduce the strategy, model it, and provide feedback on an ongoing basis.

When students need additional support, I team with counselors, psychologists, family members, and sometimes outside agencies (e.g., child mental health) to build layers of support around a child. This is often referred to as wraparound services. Wraparound services include one-to-one counseling, con- struction of behavior support plans that are implemented at school and home, and daily monitoring from a trusted adult in school.

Students with EBD are often at-risk for dropping out of school and a host of other negative outcomes. Therefore, wraparound and other tertiary level supports are critical, and should be on the radar of all special educators who work with this population of students.


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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

Another example of a Tier 1 behavior management program is the Good Behavior Game. Students should receive instruction on the rules and expectations of the behavior management program and understand the consequences for following or not following the rules. Tier 1 interventions should be easy to implement and help manage the behavior of most of the students.

At the beginning of Tier 1, students are screened for possible behavioral difficulty using rating scales (Kalberg, Lane, & Menzies, 2010; Walker et al., 1994), such as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, the Student Risk Screening Scale (see Figure 4.2), or the Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders. Some schools use the number of office referrals for discipline as a screening measure.

Figure 4.2: Student Risk Screening Scale

The Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS) can be used to help identify students who might be at risk for EBD. On this scale, the teacher rates each student on a number of problem behaviors. Students with many scores of 2 and 3 may be monitored further.

Source: Adapted from Student Risk Screening Scale, from Drummond, T. (1994). The Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS). Grants Pass, OR: Josephine County Mental Health Program.

Students who seem to be at risk for behavioral difficulties according to this screening then partici- pate in Tier 1. Teachers monitor each student’s progress to determine response or nonresponse. Teachers identify a target behavior and collect data on the frequency of that behavior (Lee, Vostal, Lylo, & Hua, 2011). For behaviors that do not occur often, teachers can actually count the number of instances. For behaviors that occur frequently, teachers may use momentary time sampling. A timer is set at specific intervals (e.g., 30 seconds), and when it signals, the teacher checks to see

Student Risk Screening Scale

Student Name: Teacher Name:

Class: Week of:






Poor Achievement

Aggressive Rejected by Peers

Lying or Cheating

Other Stealing or Sneaking

Teachers: Use the scale below to rate the behavior of each student. 0 = Never 1 = Infrequently 2 = Sometimes 3 = Often

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

whether the student is engaging in appropriate or inappropriate behavior. When teachers summa- rize the data, they can identify trends and interpret how to design interventions for the student.

After a pre-determined amount of time (e.g., 4–6 weeks), teachers look at the data to determine whether students have demonstrated adequate response at Tier 1. Students who have demon- strated an increase in positive behaviors or a decrease in negative behaviors, or students who meet specified scores, will remain in Tier 1. Their teachers may implement behavioral accommo- dations, but the student does not require additional programs or intervention. Students who do not demonstrate an adequate increase in good behavior or decrease in negative behavior begin receiving the additional support of Tier 2.

Tier 2 Students who demonstrate that they need additional behavioral support begin receiving second- ary intervention in Tier 2. This is a second program that the teacher starts in addition to the Tier 1 behavior program. Tier 2 intervention occurs in the student’s regular classroom, and the student is not pulled out of class to receive additional instruction. Typically, the teacher develops a program or system for helping the student improve one to three frequent behaviors (Maag & Katsiyannis, 2008).

Some common Tier 2 behavior management techniques include individual or group token econo- mies, behavior contracts, or daily report cards (Sayeski & Brown, 2011). The teacher may instruct students on appropriate social skills or problem solving in tricky situations.

Teachers continually monitor student progress to see if these secondary behavioral techniques improve student behavior. Students who demonstrate an adequate increase in good behavior or a decline in undesired behaviors do not need additional support. These students may continue to use their Tier 2 behavior strategy or the teacher may phase this out. Students who continue to demonstrate undesired behaviors move to Tier 3.

Tier 3 Students who reach Tier 3 should undergo a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) that leads to the development of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). Sometimes the FBA is also called a Functional Behavioral Analysis. An FBA and BIP can be used within or outside of an RTI framework.

Often, Tier 3 is conceptualized as special education for the student. The FBA determines the indi- vidual behavioral triggers for the student, and the BIP provides specific detail about how a student will work toward IEP goals. At Tier 3, progress is monitored in the same way as in Tier 1 or Tier 2. Teachers gather data about the number of behavioral occurrences and determine whether the student is making adequate progress toward meeting their IEP goals.

Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan Although the FBA is not named specifically in IDEA 2004, the 1997 and 2004 reauthorizations suggest such assessments be conducted for students with EBD (Zirkel, 2011) . The purpose of the FBA is to determine the antecedents, setting, specific events, and consequences of a student’s inappropriate behavior (Regan, 2009). Identification of the antecedents (the events preceding a behavior) foster an understanding of the causes of a behavior. The FBA measures a target behav- ior over time, which allows the IEP team to identify behavior patterns and disruptions. This data informs a student’s BIP.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

A BIP consolidates the information gathered from the FBA to identify a target behavior and develop an intervention. This plan aims to correct student misbehavior by teaching and reinforc- ing a desired behavior. A BIP is highly individualized, builds off student strengths and motivations, and often incorporates positive reinforcement. With positive reinforcement, teachers give stu- dents tangible or intangible rewards when they demonstrate specific behaviors (e.g., remaining seated at an assembly) or meet behavioral goals (e.g., raising hand to answer questions during a 20-minute class period). (See Figure 4.3 for examples of an FBA and a BIP.)

The goal of behavior intervention is to correct inappropriate actions while building lasting desir- able habits for students. Similar to academic IEP goals, the BIP sets measurable goals for frequency and/or accuracy of the desired behavior. Progress towards goals is monitored and communicated regularly among all members of the IEP team, including the student. Appropriate corrections and incentives are designated in the BIP so student behaviors can be reinforced consistently.

Figure 4.3: FBA and BIP

An FBA (a) helps teachers understand what triggers the behavior of a student, and the BIP (b) is developed to help improve the behavior of a student.


Functional Behavior Assessment Interview Form Interviewer(s): Date(s): Student(s): Respondent(s): Title:

1. Describe the behavior of concern.

2. How often does the behavior occur?

How long does it last?

How intense is the behavior?

3. What is happening when the behavior occurs?

4. When/where is the behavior most/least likely to occur?

5. With whom is the behavior most/least likely to occur?

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 How Are Students Diagnosed With EBD?

Figure 4.3: FBA and BIP (continued)

Sources: Functional Assessment Interview Form and Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan Planning Form, from Robert A. Gable, et al., Addressing Student Problem Behavior Part II: Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment, Appendix C, May 12, 1998, Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice.

When Are Students Diagnosed? Emotional or behavioral difficulties may surface at any time for students, especially if home or school factors are contributors to the EBD. For many students, their EBD begins in early childhood and is present throughout adulthood. Students who demonstrate inappropriate behavior in pre- school, for example, do not typically “outgrow” these behaviors. Some of the disorders classified as EBD, such as schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, or bulimia nervosa, do not usually surface until puberty. Thus, diagnosis of an EBD can occur during any period of a student’s school career or life (Quinn et al., 2000), typically when the difficulties come to the attention of parents, school staff, or medical professionals.


Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan Planning Form

Sex: Age: Student: Teacher(s): Grade: Case Manager: Date(s):

Participants (specific names):

Reason for intervention plan:

IEP teams can use this form to guide them through the process of developing the Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan

student: special education administrator: family member: general education administrator: special educator: school psychologist: general educator: peer(s): other (specify):

other agency personnel:

Fact Finding

2) Problem behavior: Define the problem behavior(s) in observable, measurable, and countable terms (i.e., topography, event, duration, seriousness, and/or intensity). Include several examples of the behavior.

1) General learning environment: Describe the student’s school class schedule, including any special programs or services.

3) Setting events: Describe important things that are happening in the student’s life that may be causing the behavior(s) of concern.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.6 How Does EBD Differ Across Grade Levels?

4.6 How Does EBD Differ Across Grade Levels?

While certain characteristics of EBD are common across grade levels, others generally emerge later or change over time. As students mature, the strategies they can learn and implement for themselves, along with those that educators can implement, may become more sophisticated. When students are ready to transition out of the public school sys- tem, the length of time that they have been practicing self-regulation and other strategies, along with the support system that they and their team have planned, is crucial for success in the post- secondary world.

Early Childhood Young children can exhibit extreme behaviors (e.g., throwing tantrums, biting, hitting) that are indicative of EBD, regardless of an official diagnosis. All students in early childhood classrooms need to be explicitly taught social skills and have correct behaviors frequently reinforced. Students at this age may require significant modeling and frequent feedback on their behavior. The need for modeling and feedback is particularly important for young students with EBD, as they will be expe- riencing working in groups and following directions from teachers for the first time in their lives.

For students to understand and learn to manage an EBD, they first need to recognize when they are getting upset, shutting down (i.e., beginning to stop listening to the teacher), or experiencing frustration. Once students and teachers can identify the triggers of these behaviors, they can work to increase awareness of when these triggers occur. This process can begin as early as preschool, when students may first demonstrate extreme responses to teacher directions and consequences.

While students may not be able to fully engage in this cause-effect thought process indepen- dently, helping students with awareness of what causes certain behaviors can be beneficial for helping them cope in the moment and later in their schooling. Additionally, students should begin learning coping strategies to use when they feel angry, overwhelmed, or frustrated.

As with many of the other disabilities, early intervention is important for students with EBD. If preschools begin working with students with EBD, students learn how to monitor and alter their behavior when faced with certain situations (e.g., a classmate taking the student’s marker). The earlier students learn how to appropriately act in school situations, the more likely it is that their social skills and friendships will improve, as well as their academic skills (because they can partici- pate fully in classroom instruction).

Elementary School As a student encounters the multiple classrooms, teachers, and grade levels of elementary school, an EBD may become more evident.

The severity of the EBD and the student’s ability to self-regulate and respond to the environ- ment help the IEP team determine the appropriate educational setting for the student. As previously mentioned, some students with EBD receive all instruction in the general educa- tion classroom, whereas others may spend some or all of their school day in a resource or self-contained classroom.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.6 How Does EBD Differ Across Grade Levels?

At the elementary level, teachers need to establish a classroom management system that pro- motes positive behavior and allows for the teacher to conduct lessons in the classroom with- out interruption. Teachers should explicitly model positive and negative behaviors so students understand behavioral expectations. For example, a teacher may demonstrate how to walk to the classroom’s carpet area and sit with legs crossed. The teacher may demonstrate a non-example by running to the carpet and lying down belly-first. With these demonstrations, students understand how (and how not) to do something in the classroom. With all behavior in the elementary class- room, teachers need to provide positive feedback or redirection on undesired behaviors.

Secondary School Students in secondary school are usually more aware of their specific EBD, any triggers or anteced- ents, and effective coping mechanisms. Secondary students should work to actively self-regulate and manage their behavior. They will most likely still need modeling and feedback on behavior, but this may be less frequent than in earlier grades.

BIPs for secondary school students may include behavior goals that can be transferred beyond classroom instruction. It is very important for adolescent students to demonstrate socially appro- priate behavior in non-academic settings. Failure to do so can limit employment opportunities, placement in advanced high school courses, and transition to higher education. Extreme misbe- havior may lead to criminal actions, which severely limit students’ educational and life opportuni- ties. To mitigate this risk, students must actively learn to manage their EBD, and secondary school teachers must support them in that process.

Transition Transition planning is especially important for students with EBD, considering the relationship between behavior and academics. Without appropriate intervention, students with EBD tend to have lower grades, more course and grade failures, and a higher dropout rate than students with other disability types (Wood & Cronin, 1999). Over the last decade, postsecondary outcomes continue to remain dismal (Zigmond, 2006). Failure to develop basic skills in school contributes to employment difficulties, access to postsecondary education, troubled personal relationships, and high rate of involvement with the criminal justice system (Bradley, Doolittle, & Bartolotta, 2008). Ensuring students with EBD experience behavioral and academic achievement in school is critical to improving their postsecondary outcomes. In addition to the effective instructional practices listed in this chapter, transition planning can help students, family members, and educa- tors prepare for ongoing success. There are several factors to consider when designing a transi- tion plan for students with EBD, and a variety of models to guide this process. Transition models should include evidence-based academic interventions, increased access to vocational training and exploration, support across postsecondary transitions, and strong partnerships and supports with families (Lane & Carter, 2006).

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Tips for the General Classroom Teachers can use the Tansition to Independence Process (TIP) to help students tran- sition from high school to living independently as adults (Karpur, Clark, Caproni, & Sterner, 2005):

1. Engage young people through relationship development, person-centered planning, and a focus on their future;

2. Tailor services and supports to be accessible, coordinated, developmentally appropriate, and build on strengths to enable young people to pursue their goals across all the transition domains;

3. Acknowledge and develop personal choice and social responsibility; 4. Ensure a safety net of support by involving a young person’s parents, family members, and

other informal and formal key players; 5. Enhance a young person’s competencies to assist him or her in achieving greater self-sufficiency

and confidence; 6. Maintain an outcome focus in the TIP system at the individual, program, and community

levels; and 7. Involve the individual, parents, and other community partners in the TIP system at the prac-

tice, program, and community levels.

Explicit instruction in social, vocational, academic, and self-determination skills can increase inde- pendence and opportunities for employment for students with EBD (Carter & Lunsford, 2005). Transition plans should also include appropriate service providers, including social services and mental health counselors. College-bound students with EBD should have a plan that includes building relationships with course instructors, engaging in the campus community, and accessing available support resources (e.g. psychological counseling) (Cooper & Pruitt, 2005). Strategic plan- ning increases the likelihood that students with EBD will complete high school and successfully transition to their desired postsecondary opportunities.

4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Teachers of students of any age with EBD must work to identify the antecedents of student behavior to help mitigate inappropriate actions. A teacher’s ultimate role is to balance the management of incorrect behaviors with teaching and reinforcing appropriate ones. Stu- dents of all ages benefit from clear and consistent expectations, routines, and communication. Evidence-based practices should be used whenever available (Farley, Torres, Wailehua, & Cook, 2012). Modeling desired behavior, providing ongoing positive reinforcement, and consistently responding to inappropriate behavior are general strategies appropriate for all grade levels. Class- room management techniques can also be tailored for students with EBD.

As discussed earlier in this chapter, students with EBD often struggle with academic performance. Thus, many of the strategies in Chapter 3 for teaching students with SLD may also help students with EBD. This section discusses common classroom management strategies, including manage- ment techniques for classroom rules, routines, and organization. It also covers co-teaching, peer

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

tutoring, and teaching self-regulation and problem-solving strategies, along with focusing on the positive. It concludes with a section on Applied Behavioral Analysis. Many of these strategies either require the teacher to create a positive and organized learning environment or the student to learn to control their behavior in a manageable way—or both.

Classroom Management Strategies Good classroom management, an important component of every teacher’s classroom, is even more important in a classroom with students who have EBD. Good management does not neces- sarily mean being a strict or harsh teacher. Rather, it indicates that the classroom runs efficiently, has clear and consistent routines, and has behavioral expectations that the students know. In fact, management techniques that are punishment-based rather than positive-reinforcement- based are often ineffective for improving the behavior outcomes of students. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS), mentioned earlier in this chapter, is one technique for improv- ing classroom management. Establishing routines with clear cues, as well as carefully organizing physical space and instruction plans, can also contribute to a well-run classroom.

PBIS PBIS should be implemented school-wide so that all teachers and staff understand how to approach behavior management within the school. Its focus is on positive rules and behaviors. Teachers are supposed to catch the students demonstrating good behaviors and reward them with praise or a reward. For example, a teacher might say, “I like how Lucas placed his book under his desk,” or “Thank you, Lily, for raising your hand.” The teacher should avoid saying, “Elizabeth, your books don’t go on the floor,” or “Don’t shout out the answer, Caleb.”

The school designs an approach to management of behavior. Usually, a few rules or expecta- tions—typically three to five—are developed and implemented across school settings. Teachers receive training on teaching these rules and how to reward students who follow the rules. Each set of rules or expectations is positively stated, and informs students how to act or what to do. Some examples of rules are the following:

• Respect yourself; respect others; respect property. • Be safe; be responsible; be respectful. • Respect relationships; respect responsibilities.

These expectations are used not only in the classroom but also in school assemblies, on the school bus, on a field trip, at the playground, in gym class, and in the restroom. They can be used across the entire school or the entire district. Teachers should provide students with examples for follow- ing the expectations while participating in different activities during the school day. For younger students, it might be helpful to have pictures that accompany the rules (Jolivette & Steed, 2010) to show them what each appropriate behavior looks like.

One way to help students understand school rules and routines is to have the teachers and stu- dents create videos that illustrate examples and non-examples for behavior within the school or community. Students play a major role in the acting or producing of these videos and make them more meaningful and interactive.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Teachers and staff need to have a policy for dealing with instances when students choose not to follow the school rules. Everyone should react in a similar manner. For example, if a student hits another student, all teachers should know that the consequence of hitting is an immediate refer- ral to the office. If a student throws trash on the floor, all teachers should deal with this infraction within the classroom in a similar manner.

Classroom Routines and Cues In addition to implementing PBIS, teachers must establish classroom routines and cues. When students know how to walk from their desks to the carpet area for “daily calendar,” for example, or when students know where to turn in their algebra homework, teachers can spend more time focused on instruction rather than on transitions and enforcing rules.

Classroom routines should include how students should respond in certain situations. For exam- ple, when students are working in small groups or independently, the teacher should develop cues for having the entire class get back together. A teacher may flicker the classroom lights or clap her hands. Some teachers will set a timer and ask all students to have finished an activity by the time it beeps. A teacher can count backward from 5 to 1, which gives students an opportunity to put their materials away and be ready for the next task. Whichever strategy the teacher chooses, he will have to “teach” students how this strategy works. In addition, the teacher must use the strategy consistently and have clear consequences for infringements.

It is helpful, when delivering instruction, for teachers to move around within the classroom (Musser, Bray, Kehle, & Jenson, 2001). A teacher who sits at a desk and expects students to remain on-task is tacitly permitting students to get off-task. When a teacher is walking around, students are more likely to focus on the teacher, and they do not have the time or opportunity to daydream or act out. If a student’s behavior starts to diverge from expectations, the teacher can glance at or refocus the student by pointing to the board or to the student’s work. Teachers who move around the classroom also gather information on how students are doing with a lesson or work.

Classroom Organization Appropriate organization of the physical classroom space may help students with EBD. A class- room that is highly organized (e.g., desks in rows, all textbooks on the blue shelf) is less distracting and enables students to focus on instruction (Mundschenk, Miner, & Nastally, 2011).

Instruction also should be organized in a way that allows students to know what to expect (Cancio & Conderman, 2008). For example, teachers should always state the goal of a lesson, teach by building upon previously-learned knowledge, and have a review at the end of the lesson. Teach- ers should also consider the pace at which they deliver their lessons. Sometimes teachers slow instruction down, thinking that lower-performing students need slower instruction, but that is not the case. A lesson that is delivered at a brisk pace keeps students’ attention and provides fewer opportunities for off-task behavior (Archer & Hughes, 2011).

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Teachers may find it helpful to break longer units or projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. When students can complete a task and feel a sense of accomplishment, they may be more will- ing to dive into the next task. Teachers should also think about establishing priorities for instruc- tion. What are the three or four most important components of a unit that students must learn? Focusing on a few, instead of 20 or 30, components may help students with their academic perfor- mance, which, in turn, may positively affect their behavior.

Co-Teaching Co-teaching can be a helpful strategy when students with EBD are in the general classroom (McDuffie, Landrum, & Gelman, 2008). When teachers work together and are well trained in effective co-teaching strate- gies , the academic performance of students can improve and instances of inappropriate behav- ior can decrease. Typically, when students are actively involved in a lesson, students have fewer opportunities to be off-task. Also, with two adults in the classroom who are constantly monitoring and interacting with the class, undesirable student behavior can be redirected quickly.

Peer Tutoring Another useful strategy for teach- ing EBD students in the general

classroom is peer tutoring (Bowman-Perrott, 2009), which pairs students to work on academic skills. Peer tutoring can be used in any content area at elementary, middle, or high school grade levels. Typically, one student will “coach” the other as they are reading, doing math problems, or working on an activity. The coach provides feedback, and both students get an opportunity to be the coach during the lesson.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Co-teaching involves two teachers working together to teach a classroom of students. For example, co-teachers might be teaching a fifth-grade science lesson on the properties of water. One teacher may work with half of the class by reading the textbook passage about solids, liquids, and gasses. The other teacher may be conducting an experiment with the rest of the class. By splitting the class in half and having the students work in smaller groups, the teachers are able to give individual students more attention and redirect behavior as necessary. It is always easier to work with 12 students rather than 24!

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

For peer tutoring to be effective, the teachers need to provide appropriate training for the stu- dents as to how to properly serve as a peer tutor. Peer tutoring works because students have to teach, explain, and think about concepts in different ways to express them.

One peer tutoring program, Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS), has been proven to help students with disabilities (McMaster, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2007). With the reading version of PALS, students work in pairs to work on basic reading skills, such as letter sounds and sight words. At older grade levels, students can read books about any content (e.g., science, history, fiction), and students in the pair read to one another, make predictions about what they will read next, and provide conclusions about the reading.

With the math version of PALS, the pair works step-by-step through math problems. When one student makes a mistake, the coach helps the partner by “teaching” the student. This teaching helps the partner who made the mistake understand why it happened, and it helps the coach because the coach has to work on explaining something in his or her own words.

Several variations of peer tutoring are useful in the classroom (Ryan, Pierce, & Mooney, 2008). Peer modeling is a variation in which students demonstrate desired behaviors to students who need help with these behaviors. Observing peers doing something correctly is almost always more helpful than a teacher just talking about it. For example, if Malik is having difficulty walking to the cafeteria (without running), his classmate Jaquan may show Malik how to walk out of the class- room, down the hallway, down the stairs, and into the cafeteria by walking.

Students can also participate in cross-age tutoring, in which students from different grade levels tutor one another. Usually students are at least two grade levels apart. The older student in the pair takes on the role of teacher, and the younger student benefits from the one-on-one attention, teaching, and immediate feedback provided by the older student.

Teaching Self-Regulation Teaching students self regulation, that is, to monitor their own academic progress and behavior in the classroom, is an important strategy for students with EBD (Lane, Graham, & Harris, 2006). In learning self-regulation, students first learn to set goals. They then learn how to self-instruct, self- monitor, and self-reinforce (Sandmel et al., 2009). For example, a student may set a goal to write an introductory paragraph. One of their self-instructions may be to “Take my time.” The student may self-monitor by asking “Did I include all the sentences?” Self-reinforcement may have the stu- dent saying “I like the first sentence.” Like other strategies for students with EBD, self-regulation is positive and puts much of the responsibility for learning on the student.

One way to help students monitor their behavior is through consequence maps (Tobin & Simpson, 2012), a visual presentation that illustrates two courses of action that students can use when they feel a certain way or when they do something (Figure 4.4). On the consequence map, the trigger is on the left side. Desirable behaviors are shown on the top track of the map; undesirable behaviors are on the bottom track of the map.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Consequence maps can help a student understand what may occur as a result of his actions, and help him make positive choices to regulate behavior. They are typically developed by the teacher, sometimes with student input. Many consequence maps for common situations for students with EBD can be found on the internet.

Figure 4.4: Consequence Map

If a student is angry and wants to hit someone, this consequence map can help the student work through the consequences that will be based on their decisions. The map shows the student consequences for desired and undesired behaviors.

Teaching Problem-Solving Strategies Some students who are older or more mature can go a step beyond consequence maps and be taught problem-solving strategies to help monitor their behavior and make wise choices (Cook, 2005).

Once students understand their triggers, they can use the DIRT mnemonic to help them work through a trigger:

• Define the problem. • Identify appropriate choices. • Reflect on the choices (i.e., make a choice). • Try it out.

I feel like hitting


I start yelling.

I hit someone.

I am still angry. My teacher is


I tell my teacher I am angry.

I sit in the calming chair.

I write about what made me angry.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Students need to practice problem-solving strategies, including DIRT, under supervision before they can employ them on their own. To teach students how to use DIRT to work through different situations, a teacher can set up role playing experiences, conduct the role play, and debrief the students about whether they made the best choices in that situation.

For example, Courtney is a seventh-grade student with EBD. She has difficulty following teacher directions when an academic task is challenging. In Courtney’s science class, her teacher begins to administer a test. Courtney gets really frustrated with a reading passage on the test, and she wants to throw the test off her desk. Instead, she uses DIRT to problem-solve her course of action. Courtney thinks:

• Define the problem. “This test is really hard. I might fail.” • Identify appropriate choices. “I could take the test, or I could go and tell Mrs. VanWert

that I am frustrated about the reading on the test.” • Reflect on the choices (i.e., make a choice). “I will go talk to Mrs. VanWert and see if

she can help me with the reading part.” • Try it out. Courtney raises her hand and talks to Mrs. VanWert.

Positive Reinforcement Remaining positive is particularly important when working with students with EBD (Musser et al., 2001) because these students often receive a lot of negative attention, which rarely helps the student or improves a situation. When teachers use positive reinforcement, they focus on acknowledging (i.e., reinforcing) when students use desirable (i.e., positive) behaviors.

The following are some examples of positive ways teachers can interact with students with EBD:

• Develop positive teacher and student rapport. Treat all students with respect, and develop a trusting relationship with each student.

• Use positive class rules. It is always better to tell students what they can do rather than what they cannot do (Table 4.2). Positively stated rules provide students with an idea of how they should act.

Table 4.2: Examples and Non-examples of Classroom Rules

Examples of positive rules Non-examples of positive rules

Be prompt. Don’t be late for class.

Raise your hand. No shouting answers.

Treat others with kindness. Don’t be mean to others.

Walk in the hallway. No running.

Respect the property of others. Do not touch other people’s stuff.

Keep hands to yourself. No pinching or biting.

Listen while others are speaking. No talking.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

• Use the word please. If a student is off-task, a teacher should say, “Martin, please return to your seat.” The teacher should give the student a few seconds to comply with the request before stating the request more directly. If the student does not comply, the teacher might say, “Martin, you need to return to your seat.” These direc- tions are positive yet direct.

• Use the word do instead of don’t. Like class rules, it is better for students to hear “Do keep your hands to yourself,” instead of “Don’t touch your neighbor.” Often, when students hear a “don’t” statement, it is almost a challenge for them to follow through with the “don’t” action.

• Provide positive reinforcement when appropriate. Students may receive reinforce- ment in several ways, including verbal praise, gestures, privileges, and tangible rewards, as shown in Table 4.3 (Jolivette & Steed, 2010; Kern, Delaney, Clarke, Dunlap, & Childs, 2001).

Table 4.3: Methods and Examples of Positive Reinforcement

Methods Examples

Verbal praise. Students should be told what they did well.

“I like how you turned in your assignment quickly and quietly.” “Excellent work solving that ratio problem.” “Thank you for coming to me when you felt bullied at lunchtime.”

Gestures. Students can be given a signal for praise.

Thumbs up. High five. Smile.

Privilege. Students can earn a privilege for appropriate behavior.

“You earn 5 extra minutes of recess.” “You can work with a buddy on this project.” “You can complete the rest of your essay in the library.”

Tangible reward. Students earn a small prize or something that is meaningful to them.

“You can pick a prize out of the class treasure box.” “You earn two tokens.” “You get a partner-of-the-day pencil.”

• Allow students to make choices (Green, Mays, & Jolivette, 2011). When students get to make choices, they feel like they have more ownership over what they do during the school day, and that often leads to positive academic gains and behavior. The choices are always designated by the teacher beforehand. For example, students may get to choose whether they go outside for recess or play in the classroom, or they may get a choice of working the even-numbered or odd-numbered problems in their geometry textbook.

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

• Use a Daily Report Card. A Daily Report Card (Figure 4.5) is a behavioral report that is sent home each day to report on and monitor a student’s targeted behavior (Vannest, Davis, Davis, Mason, & Burke, 2010). The Daily Report Card is an excellent way to keep open the lines of communication between school and home.

Figure 4.5: Daily Report Card

A Daily Report Card is filled out by writing in specific behaviors for a student on the blank lines.

• Make a behavioral contract. The teacher and student might create a behavioral contract (Figure 4.6) that identifies and explains how to track progress on a targeted behavior and spells out the rewards that accompany success in adhering to the tar- geted behavior (Cook, 2005). Sometimes, the parent is also involved in the develop- ment and maintenance of a behavioral contract.

Daily Report Card Write Y (Yes) or N (No)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Child’s Name:


Parent Signature:


Total number of Yeses:

Week of:








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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Figure 4.6: Behavioral Contract

This contract, between a student and his teacher, outlines the behaviors that are expected of the student, how behavior will be measured, and how the student will be rewarded for meeting expectations.

• Use Check In–Check Out (CICO). With CICO, the student checks in with a teacher at the beginning of the school day, receives feedback on behavior during the day, and then checks out with the teacher at the end of the day. The interaction with the teacher is positive, and students usually earn points for appropriate behavior and work toward rewards (Todd, Campbell, Meyer, & Horner, 2008). Some teachers may actually use CICO multiple times with a student during the school day. The teacher might ask, “Did you eat breakfast this morning?”; “How did your algebra test go?”; “Do you have the money you need to go on the field trip?”

Rewarding Desired Behavior When students demonstrate appropriate behaviors, it is important to provide positive conse- quences, or rewards. Rewards are not necessarily a physical prize and may be tangible or intan- gible. There are many ways to reward desired behaviors (Table 4.4):

• Use a “mystery motivator.” Place a picture or a written motivator in an envelope (Musser et al., 2001). For example, if a student likes playing a game on a computer tablet, the mystery motivator might be a picture of a tablet or the words, “You get 10 minutes on the tablet!” If the student completes an assignment or participates in an activity properly, she gets to open the envelope and receive the mystery motivator.

Effective from January 15, 2013 through March 15, 2013.

Behavioral Contract

Sam has the opportunity to earn a gold star sticker for each of the following behaviors:

1. Working quietly during the morning busywork period from 8:15 to 8:45 am 2. Turning in busywork assignments on time and complete 3. Handing in all homework completed and on time

Each of the above listed behaviors can earn Sam one sticker per day. The teacher will decide if Sam has satisfactorily completed each behavior and will provide the earned stickers at the end of each school day. Upon earning 15 stickers, Sam can choose a reward from the following list:

1. A homework pass good for one assignment 2. Five additional minutes of free time during computer class 3. Extended recess period

Student Signature:

Teacher Signature:

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

• Use a token economy. Students earn tickets or tokens when they follow rules and meet expectations. These tokens can be earned individually or with a group and used to collect tangible or intangible rewards (Anderson & Spaulding, 2007).

Table 4.4: Tangible and Intangible Rewards

For individual students For groups of students

Tangibles Intangibles Tangibles Intangibles

Balloon Certificate Eraser Gift certificate Highlighter Notebook Pen Pencils Ribbon School memorabilia Sidewalk chalk Stamp Stickers Toy

C all home (with student present)

Class activity Class game Extra time First to line up Lunch with teacher “No homework” pass Note home Office helper Sit near friend Special seat

Field trip Movie Pizza party

Call home Choice of activity Class activity Class game C lass recognition at

assembly E xtra 5 minutes of

activity Hold class outside Listen to music Lunch outside Monthly movie Note home

Source: Anderson & Spaulding, 2007.

Providing Consequences for Undesired Behavior Like desired behaviors, undesired behaviors also should have consequences, in this case to redirect the behavior. Some behaviors (e.g., smacking another student) merit immediate consequence. Other behaviors may receive delayed consequences (e.g., refusing to participate in a class activ- ity). Whether the consequence is immediate or delayed typically depends upon the severity of the behavior. For example, hitting another student is completely unacceptable, and while the teacher should want all students to participate in the lesson, the teacher may need to address the student’s noncompliance before class ends.

Teachers should outline these consequences as they are creating their classroom management plan. It is much easier to be proactive in planning contingencies than to react in the moment. Also, it is best if the entire school has contingency plans that all teachers are aware of and can imple- ment school-wide.

Here are some examples of consequences for undesired behaviors:

• Time out. The student goes to a designated space (either in the teacher’s classroom or another area of the school) to reflect upon his or her actions. Time out should be used sparingly or else the practice loses effectiveness. A teacher should always moni- tor a student who is in time out.

• Time out and reflection. When a teacher requests a student to do something and the student refuses, the teacher may send the student to another classroom with another teacher (Benner, Nelson, Sanders, & Ralston, 2012). In the other classroom, the

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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

student is directed to reflect upon the behavior. The regular classroom teacher then debriefs the student in a discussion about the antecedents and the behavior. Some- times the student may write about his or her feelings or experience before returning to the regular classroom.

• Office referral. The student goes to the office to meet with the principal or staff mem- ber who is in charge of discipline. Office referrals should be a last resort for behavior difficulties, or they should be used in cases of extreme behavior, such as hitting, kick- ing, or biting. Students may also be sent to the office if they threaten the teacher or other students.

Academic Strategies Many of the strategies for students with SLD may help students with EBD improve their classroom performance. In addition, the strategies in Table 4.5 may be useful.

Table 4.5: Academic Strategies for Students with EBD

Strategy Explanation Example

Computer-assisted instruction

Students interact with a computer program that teaches or practices a skill.

Students have the opportunity to review or practice skills (e.g., vocabulary, multiplication, identification of U.S. states) in an interactive way that holds student attention.

Copy, cover, compare

Students view information, cover the information and answer, and then check for accuracy.

The student views the math fact on a flash card: 9 3 6 = 54. The student covers the fact. On a separate sheet of paper, the student fills in the answer 54. Then, the student looks back at the flash card and compares answers.

Corrective feedback Students benefit from feedback that is provided immediately and helps them understand a mistake and correct it.

The teacher sees a misspelled word, points to the word, and asks the student about a specific spelling rule (e.g., dropping “y” when adding a suffix).

Mnemonics Students use a mnemonic to help them remember how to complete an activity or solve a problem.

A student uses the mnemonic PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiply, divide, add, subtract) to solve a math problem.

Previewing Students get a chance to preview materials before working on the material. This helps students focus and organize their thinking around the topic.

A teacher lets a student look over a test and ask clarifying questions before taking the test.

Prompting The teacher provides verbal or nonverbal prompts (i.e., cues) to help the student stay on-task or answer a question.

A teacher may point to a question in the student’s textbook, or the teacher may rephrase a question.

Response cards Students use a card, sign, or item and hold it up to display response to a question.

Students have a “true” card and a “false” card. When the teacher asks, “The Civil War took place in the 20th century,” students hold up the appropriate card.


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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 How Do I Teach Students With EBD?

Strategy Explanation Example

Allowing student to retake a test

Students who are now familiar with the test layout and test content get an opportunity to take the test again.

Students get a second opportunity to take a fractions test and try to beat their previous score.

Story mapping Students map out the important parts to a story or passage. Often, students use a graphic organizer for the mapping (Figure 4.7).

Students use a graphic organizer to represent the who, what, when, where, and why of a reading passage.

Taped read-alongs Students listen to a taped voice while they read along in a book or reading selection.

Students listen to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Adjusting task difficulty

The teacher changes the mastery level of a task to the student’s level.

A student may have to master 80% of questions instead of 90%. Alternatively, a student may read a slightly easier version of text on the same topic.

Sources: George, 2010; Vannest, Harrison, Temple-Harvey, Ramsey, & Parker, 2011.

Figure 4.7: Graphic Organizer

This hamburger, which is an example of a graphic organizer, provides students with a way to organize their thoughts when they are writing a paragraph. Students write the main idea of the paragraph on the top bun. Then they write supporting sentences on the hamburger and toppings. Finally, students write a conclusion on the bottom bun.

Topic Sentence

Concluding Sentence


Sentence (1-2)

Directions: Write the main idea of the paragraph on the top bun. Then, write supporting sentences on the hamburger and toppings. Finally, write a conclusion on the bottom bun.

Sentence (1-2)


Table 4.5: Academic Strategies for Students with EBD (continued)

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Case Study: Determining Appropriate Instruction Based on an FBA Jaylen is a second-grade student in your special education classroom. You teach Jaylen along with six other K–2 students all subjects for the entire day. Jaylen’s IEP states she has conduct disorder, which seems to be most apparent by her refusal to follow classroom directions and her reactive response to consequences. According to your classroom management plan, when Jaylen does not follow direc- tions she receives a consequence. The first consequence is a verbal warning, which can often escalate a situation with Jaylen. She gets visibly angry when given a consequence, and occasionally becomes violent towards other students in the class. It is apparent your whole-class behavior management sys- tem is not enough to correct misbehaviors and teach Jaylen appropriate ways to follow directions and respond to consequences.

In order to design and implement a more individualized plan, you convene Jaylen’s IEP team and start the FBA process. For the first week of the assessment, you worked collaboratively with another special education teacher to document Jaylen’s behavior throughout various periods of the school day. You also interview her and her family members to determine what she understands to be corrective action and positive rewards that she is motivated to work towards. Your notes revealed that during classroom instruction, one of the reasons Jaylen doesn’t seem to follow directions is because she is often dis- tracted. You notice that she gets up out of her seat frequently and does not voluntarily participate. You also notice that Jaylen gets very anxious when you call on her for an answer, and that this confusion can at times lead to anger. Jaylen seems to be most calm and engaged in the morning during reading centers, and becomes more easily agitated as the day goes on.

When Jaylen is calm she is easy to communicate with and a very understanding student. Her student interviews state that she “likes helping out the teacher” and is happy “when my mom is proud of me for being good.” Jaylen is aware that she is often in trouble, but doesn’t seem to feel in control of her reactions to teacher directions and consequences. This initial information collected from the FBA will help the IEP team design and implement a BIP for Jaylen.

Questions to Consider:

1. Is Jaylen exhibiting internalizing or externalizing behaviors? 2. What would you set as the inappropriate behavior to correct? Why? 3. What would be the desired behavior to replace the inappropriate one? How would you mea-

sure success (number of times within 20 minutes, number of minutes per day, etc.)? 4. Based on the information gathered in the FBA, what actions/environments might trigger the

inappropriate behavior? 5. How could you think about these potential causes and antecedents to avoid escalation of the

undesired behavior whenever possible? 6. What could you do to teach Jaylen why she is getting a consequence and the

“correct” way to respond to one? When should you communicate this to her?


• Students with EBD have emotional and behavioral difficulties that interfere with partici- pation in the classroom. A number of disorders, defined by the DSM-IV, fall under the EBD umbrella. For a student to receive services under IDEA 2004, the EBD must be exhib- ited over a period of time and adversely affect the student’s educational performance.

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CHAPTER 4Post-Test

• Students with EBD were often labeled as having a mental illness before the middle of the 20th century. While some types of EBD categorize as mental illness, many students with EBD do not have a diagnosed mental illness.

• Students with EBD exhibit a wide variety of externalizing and internalizing characteris- tics. Externalizing behaviors are behaviors directed towards others, and these behaviors are easier to identify. Internalizing behaviors are directed to oneself and are harder to identify. The majority of the time, boys exhibit more externalizing behaviors, and girls exhibit more internalizing behaviors.

• Researchers do not have a definitive answer about what causes EBD, although most people hypothesize that genetics and the student’s environment play important roles.

• EBD is often diagnosed by schools or medical professionals using traditional assessment, observation checklists, rating scales, and interviews. Some schools may use RTI to diag- nose students with EBD.

• Students with EBD require classroom support, such as self-regulation and reinforcement for positive behavior, at all grade levels. The IEP team must create a transition plan for students in high school to prepare the students for living in society.

• Teachers of students with EBD should be familiar with behavioral and academic strate- gies. Behavioral strategies include having a classroom management plan, using PBIS, using positive reinforcement, teaching self-regulation, and teaching problem-solving strategies. Academic strategies include using computer-assisted instruction, cover-copy- compare, story mapping, and response cards.


1. ED, as outlined by IDEA 2004, does not cover which disorder? a. Schizophrenia b. Anorexia nervosa c. Anxiety disorder d. Socially maladjusted

2. Which acronym is used to describe emotional and behavioral difficulties under IDEA 2004? a. ED b. BD c. EBD d. ADHD

3. Students who have been diagnosed with EBD spend their school day in which setting? a. Mental institution b. General classroom c. Least Restrictive Environment d. Self-contained classroom

4. Among students with EBD, rates of _____________are higher among girls. a. Internalizing behaviors b. Tourette’s c. Externalizing behaviors d. Academic difficulty

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CHAPTER 4Discussion Questions

5. What causes EBD? a. One parent also has an EBD. b. A student is raised in foster care. c. A student was exposed to toxins. d. A combination of genetics, environment, and schooling.

6. For a diagnosis of EBD, what must a student exhibit? a. Externalizing behaviors that affect office referral and academic performance. b. Poor academic performance. c. Chronic, inappropriate behavior over an extended period that affects academic

performance. d. Internalizing behaviors that affect academic performance.

7. How is RTI used for diagnosis of EBD? a. Students do not respond to Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions. b. Students do not respond to Tier 1 interventions. c. Students do not follow PBIS rules. d. Students do not use their Daily Report Card.

8. Which helps identify possible triggers to student behavior? a. BIP b. IEP c. RTI d. FBA

9. Which is not important for PBIS? a. Positively stated rules b. Tangible rewards c. School-wide implementation d. Classroom and non-classroom routines

10. Why are academic strategies important for students with behavioral difficulties? a. Students with EBD struggle with reading. b. Students with EBD typically miss more classroom instruction than students without EBD. c. Students with EBD are not as smart as students without EBD. d. Students with EBD only act out because they do not know the answer to an academic


Answers: 1 (d); 2 (a); 3 (c); 4 (a); 5 (d); 6 (c); 7 (a); 8 (d); 9 (b); 10 (b)

Discussion Questions

1. Why do students with EBD require services under IDEA 2004? 2. What are ways that classroom teachers can help students with EBD? 3. Which route for diagnosis is best for identifying students with EBD?

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CHAPTER 4Acronyms Used in Chapter 4

Answers and Rejoinders to Pre-Test

1. False. Some students with EBD struggle with mental illness, whereas other students do not have a diagnosed mental illness.

2. False. Students with EBD may exhibit externalizing behaviors or internalizing behaviors. Some students exhibit both types of behaviors.

3. True. Researchers are still working to determine the causes of EBD, but it’s likely that genetics and the student’s environment play a role.

4. True. Many schools use traditional assessments to make a diagnosis of EBD, but RTI can also be used.

5. True. Students with EBD benefit from classroom management strategies that are posi- tive in nature.

Additional Resources

• The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders provides the latest research and tips for teaching students with BD.

• This site from the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights has EBD resources along with resources for other disabilities.

• On this site, news and information on EBD are updated frequently.

• This site features information for implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Sup- port.

Acronyms Used in Chapter 4

Acronym Definition

ADHD Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

BD Behavioral Disorder

BIP Behavior Intervention Plan

CICO Check In–Check Out

DIRT Define the problem, Identify appropriate choices, Reflect on the Choices, Try it out

DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision

EBD Emotional and Behavioral Disorder

ED Emotional Disturbance

FBA Functional Behavioral Assessment

GBG Good Behavior Game

IDEA 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEP Individualized Education Program


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CHAPTER 4Key Terms

Acronym Definition

NIH National Institutes of Health

NSF National Science Foundation

OCD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OHI Other Health Impairment

OSEP Office of Special Education Programs

PALS Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies

PBIS Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support

PBS Positive Behavior Support

PL 94-142 Education of All Handicapped Children Act

PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

RTI Response to Intervention

SLD Specific Learning Disability

SRSS Student Risk Screening Scale

TIP Transition to Independence Process

Key Terms

Acronyms Used in Chapter 4 (continued)

behavioral disorder (BD) When a student exhibits behavior that is inappropriate, unusual, and or excessive; this term is now more favored than ED.

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) A plan of action, based on the FBA, to improve the behavior of a student.

emotional disturbance (ED) When a student exhibits behavior that is inappropriate, unusual, or excessive; this is the technical term for EBD as outlined by IDEA 2004.

emotional and behavioral disorder (EBD) The combination term now used when referring to students with emotional or behavioral difficulties.

externalizing behaviors Behaviors directed toward others, often to provoke and draw attention in obvious ways.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) An analysis of the triggers that lead up to a student’s behavior and a description of the behavior.

internalizing behaviors Behaviors that a person directs toward him- or herself.

mental illness The medical term for mental conditions that affect how a person feels, thinks, and functions.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) A school-wide behavior model that focuses on positive expectations and positive rewards; also called Positive Behavioral Sup- port (PBS).

positive reinforcement Tangible or intangible rewards given when students demonstrate specific behaviors or meet behavioral goals.

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CHAPTER 4References

qualitative research Research that describes the quality of something.

quantitative research Research that describes the quantity of something.

randomized-control trials An experiment in which a group of students is randomly assigned to receive an experimental program and another is randomly assigned to not receive the program.

self-regulation The act of monitoring your own behavior and learning to control your own behavior and act in specific ways.

single-subject design An experiment to deter- mine the effect of an experimental program for a small number of students.

socially maladjusted Engaging in violence, truancy, substance abuse, or unable to listen to authority figures.


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