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Emotional Disturbance
What is emotional disturbance?
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:
  1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors
  2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
  3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
  5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or social problems
The term includes schizophrenia, but does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined they have an emotional disturbance.

[+] Read about the specific criteria used to determine eligibility in the educational category of emotional disturbance.

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education – Criteria for Eligibility in the Educational Category of Emotional Disturbance

A child displays an emotional disturbance when:
  1. Through evaluation procedures that must include observation of behavior in different environments and an in-depth social history the child displays one of the following characteristics:
    1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors
    2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
    3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
    4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
    5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or social problems
  2. The characteristic(s) must have existed to a marked degree and over an extended period of time. In most cases, an extended period of time would be a range from two through nine months depending upon the age of the child and the type of behavior occurring. For example, a shorter duration of disturbance that interrupts the learning process in a younger student might constitute an extended period of time. Difficulties may have occurred prior to the referral for evaluation.
  3. The emotional disturbance adversely affects the child’s educational performance.
NOTE: Manifestations of an emotional disturbance can be observed along a continuum ranging from normal behavior to severely disordered behavior. Children who experience and demonstrate problems of everyday living and/or those who develop transient symptoms due to a specific crisis or stressful experience are not considered to have an emotional disturbance
[+] Books, journals and other publications on emotional disturbance

The SSD Family & Community Resource Center (FCRC) offers books, videos and other resources on emotional disturbance (PDF). Materials may be sent home through school mail to families whose children receive SSD services. Others may come into the FCRC to check out materials.
[+] Other local, state and national resources related to emotional disturbance

Local
BJC Behavioral Health
www.bjcbehavioralhealth.org

Bridges Community Support Services
www.bridgescss.com

CHADS Coalition
www.chadscoalition.org

Department of Mental Health
http://dmh.mo.gov/mentalillness

Edgewood Children's Center
www.greatcircle.org

Epworth
www.epworth.org

Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital
dmh.mo.gov/hcph

Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri
www.mhaem.org

Hopewell Center
www.hopewellcenter.com

Marygrove
www.marygrovechildren.org

National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI) of St. Louis
www.namistl.org

Provident Counseling
www.providentstl.org

State Resources
Missouri Department of Mental Health Division of Psychiatric Services
http://dmh.mo.gov

National Resources
Boys Town
http://www.boystown.org/

Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders
www.ccbd.net

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
http://www.dbsalliance.org

Mental Health America
www.nmha.org

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org

Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
www.ffcmh.org

National Institute of Mental Health
www.nimh.nih.gov

Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation
www.ocfoundation.org

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
www.samhsa.gov

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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

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