By : Rekha Rajvanshi
What is Emotional Disturbance?
‘Emotional disturbance’ means a condition exhibiting one or more specific characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), explains that emotional disturbance is characterized by:
- An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
- Inappropriate types of behaviour or feelings under normal circumstances
- A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems
Causes– No one knows the actual cause or causes of emotional disturbance. Several factors—heredity, brain disorder, diet, stress, and family functioning—have been suggested and vigorously researched.
Diagnosis- Relevant professionals such as Psychologists and School Counsellors can only do the assessments/tests and make a decision about the child.
Tips to the parents- Since no two emotionally disturbed children are the same, it becomes challenging for the parents to deal with these ED children. Here are some tips that parents can try when working with their emotionally disturbed children-
- Don’t give your child a crutch, but be sensitive to his needs.
- Be active at your child’s school. See what works and what doesn’t work for your child. Research and read more information about the need to further increase your understanding.
- It is good to be proactive. Know the triggers that may upset your child, take preventative steps and keep a plan ready for him.
- Be a part of your child’s world- Talk to the school counselors, psychologists, medical practitioner, teachers and coaches about your child’s educational progress to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Encourage your child to be active, remind them that they are in control of their behavior, and encourage others to in be inclusive
(Rekha Rajvanshi has a Masters of Psychology and Master’s of Philosophy in Education. She also studied Special Education at Macquarie University and works as a learning and Support teacher. She supports students with disabilities on a regular basis. This month, Rekha is sharing information on emotionally disturbed children and what we as parents can do to help them)