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e x c e p t i o n a l l e a r n e r s aprendedores excepcionales
Emotional disorders
Bilingual and bicultural learners
Attention Deficit Disorder
Emotional disorders
Communication disorders
Physical impairments
Aprendedores bilingües y biculturales
El Déficit de Atención
Desórdenes emocionales
Desórdenes comunicativos
Debilitaciones físicas

What are emotional disorders?


Individuals with emotional disorders exhibit emotional, behavioral, and/or social challenges that are consistent and acute and severely impede their academic performance.  Such students demonstrate socially unacceptable behavior or feelings under normal situations.  Emotional disorders are not related to intellectual, sensory, or other health conditions.  Emotional disorders may manifest themselves as anxiety disorders (such as obsessive-compulsive, eating, panic, and post-traumatic stress disorders as well as phobias), mood disorders (such as depression and bipolar disorder), oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and/or schizophrenia.  Emotional disorders are broadly categorized into externalizing and internalizing behaviors.  Externalizing behaviors include aggressiveness, disruptiveness and refusal to cooperate, while internalizing behaviors can mean depression, excessive shyness, anxiety, obsessive compulsiveness, and forcefully expressed anger and frustration (Turnbull et al., 2002). 
Strategies for working with
children with emotional disorders


Teachers and parents working with students with emotional disorders should aim towards helping them develop social interaction skills, friendships, healthy self esteem, academic expectations, and socially acceptable behavior and emotional expression.  One effective method of accomplishing these goals is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).  Under this strategy, all adults working with the child collaborate to change the system of stimuli the child receives and, consequently, his or her behavior.  Parents, teachers, and other adults intervene by setting examples of desirable behavior for the child to follow, providing positive and negative reinforcement, and generating consistent, immediate consequences (or lack thereof, when appropriate) to the child's behavior.  Another effective method of working with students with emotional disorders is peer mediation.  This inclusive approach to resolving conflicts among students strengthens the often poor relationship of students with emotional disorders to their peers.  Under peer mediation, a specially trained neutral third party, called the mediator, helps solve the problem by facilitating a dialogue between the disagreeing students, impartially identifying the conflict and what (not who) caused it, and helping both parties communicate, negotiate, and reach agreement (Turnbull et al., 2002).

For more information

ToughLove International
(215) 348-7090

support for families troubled by acting-out behavior

Schizophrenia page
(212) 263-6622

Children & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation
(847) 256-8525

Phobias page
(800) 969-NMHA

Children and Depression page
(800) 969-NMHA

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(802) 296-6300

The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation
(203) 315-2190

Panic disorder page
(866) 615-NIMH - toll free

Massachussetts Eating Disorder Association
(617) 558-1881