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Emotional Disturbance & Prevalence Rates

Emotional Disturbance & Prevalence Rates. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS. Prevalence. In special education, prevalence refers to the total number of individuals with a specific disability in a given population at a given time.

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Emotional Disturbance & Prevalence Rates

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  2. Prevalence • In special education, prevalence refers to the total number of individuals with a specific disability in a given population at a given time. • Prevalence is expressed as a percentage of the population exhibiting a specific exceptionality. • e.g., Today, the prevalence of students with speech and language disorders is estimated at 19% of the special education population. This means that we that approximately 19 out of every 100 students in special education is identified as a student with a speech and language disorder.

  3. Prevalence of Emotional Disturbance • According to the 26th Annual Report (U.S. Department of Education, 2004), 482,597 students between the ages of 6 to 21 years of age were identified as having emotional disturbances (about 42,000 in NY State) • This represents approximately 9% percent of all students having a classification in special education (in NY State it’s about 10.2%) • Student classified with emotional disturbances represent about 1% of the entire school-age population.

  4. ED is one of the “Big Four” Category of Disability Percentage of Students in Special Education Specific Learning Disability 51% Speech & Language Disorder 19% Mental Retardation 11% Emotional Disturbance 9% • Approximately 90% of all children and youth receiving special education are reported under 4 categories (1) LD; (2) S & L (3) MR & (4) ED. • These four are referred to as the “Big Four” of Special Education and are often called “high prevalence or high incidence” disabilities.

  5. Prevalence Controversy with ED There is extreme variation in ED rates from state to state and among school districts. Why? 1. Ambiguous definition of ED 2. Differences in “Acceptable” vs. “Unacceptable” behaviors • Differences in the assessment materials and data collection procedures used • Parental acceptance v. non-acceptance of the term “ED” (based on the recommendation of the school)

  6. Gender Features of Emotional Disturbance • Males are significantly more likely than females to fall within each major disability groups. • The largest disparity is within the category of emotionally disturbance, where boys comprise some 80 percent of the population. • Boys outnumber girls in the ED classification about 4:1 or 5:1 (depending on research studies) • Why?....Most prominent theory is that boys are more likely to exhibit externalizing behaviors; girls are more likely to exhibit internalizing behaviors

  7. Externalizing Behaviors • Externalizing behaviors are directed outward, typically toward other people. • Externalizing behaviors are disturbing to others and generally result in considerable disruption in the classroom. • Examples of externalizing behaviors include aggressive behavior (e.g., punching, swinging at or hitting another person), temper tantrums, swearing, destructive acts, and other types of noncompliant behaviors

  8. Internalizing Behaviors • These are behaviors that are directed “inward” or "within the self“. Children and youth with internalizing behaviors are far less likely to be identified by teachers and families because they do not create “chaos” that characterizes children & youth with externalizing behaviors. • Internalizing behaviors include: worrying, shyness, depression, apathy, anxiety, social withdrawal & low self-esteem • **Internalizing behaviors can be just as serious as externalizing behaviors because of the long-term potential impact (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts)

  9. Gender Features of Emotional Disturbance • Girls are seldom referred, identified, and placed in special education programs for students with ED. • Since girls are more likely to exhibit internalizing behaviors, they are not disruptive to the class or the learning process, and therefore educators may not see the behaviors of these students as a serious concern, and hence not refer them for special education

  10. Age of Identification • Most students with emotional or behavioral disorders who are receiving special education are in the 12-17 year age range. • Students with emotional or behavioral disorders are rarely identified before they enter school • Part of the reason for this late identification is that the problems are rarely addressed immediately or identified early. • The problems of children with ED tend to be neglected for as long as possible and overlooked by both parents and the school. ED has a negative connotation. LD as a classification is much more accepted today than is ED

  11. Report from NYS on Students with Emotional Disturbance • The data on the next 2 slides provide the number of school-age students classified with Emotional Disturbance & provided special education programs and services on December 1, 2004. • The students reported were the responsibility of the school district’s Committee on Special Education (CSE), had a current Individualized Education Program, and received special education programs or services that met State standards.

  12. Two Final Key Points—Communicating About Individuals with Disabilities • Key Point Regarding Communicating about Individuals with Disabilities 1. Put the person first: Say: “The Child with an Emotional Disturbance” NOT “The Emotionally Disturbed Child.” • This puts the focus on the individual, not the particular functional limitation • The child with depression, not the depressed child…

  13. 2. Avoid “ic” • Avoid “ic”..meaning don’t say • “she’s bulimic” rather, “she suffers from bulimia”… • Don’t say, “He’s autistic”, rather, “He is classified as a child with autism.” • Don’t say “Billy is a schizophrenic”, rather, “Billy has been diagnosed with schizophrenia…

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