Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Emotional or behavioral disorders are common among young people especially learners. Emotional and behavioral disorder or (EBD) is described as a condition that exhibits certain characteristics over a long period, and to a certain degree which negatively affects a child’s educational performance. It is also described as a condition in which the emotional and behavioral response of a student is different form the normally acknowledged, age appropriate, ethnic or cultural norms that effects performance in self-care, relationships, academic progress, classroom behavior and personal or work adjustment (Lehr & McComas, 2005). Learners with emotion and behavioral disorders are mostly young children and adolescents/teenagers. Educating such children with emotional and behavioral disorders can be quite challenging. It requires special schools and education with teachers trained to handle students with special needs and sometimes mental disabilities. Students with these disorders are identified by certain traits and behaviors. They require special attention, care and a number of strategies to handle them and give them support, so they develop normally.
Children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders are special needs children. Their learning and education is affected because they do not perform in the same way as the rest of the learners. Their interpersonal relations and focus is not normal because they exhibit limited abilities in connecting with people and things. They are characterized by the inability to learn that cannot be explained by sensory, intellectual or health factors. These children have an inability to build and maintain fulfilling interpersonal relationships with teachers and peers. These learners have inappropriate behavior and a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. In addition, these learners have a tendency to develop fears and symptoms associated with school or personal factors (Laurent Clerc, 2013).
Identifying a leaner with emotional or behavioral disorder is not difficult given their different behavior and emotions. These characteristics have little to no consideration or understanding of cultural and social rules. A learner with this disorder is inattentive and distractible, impulsive, disrupts classroom activities, preoccupied, aggressive, resists change or transitions in routine, has low self-esteem, bullies and intimidates other students, has poor concentration, difficulty working in groups, absent from school regularly, demonstrates a self-injurious behavior, manipulates situations often and cannot apply social rules to other’s personal belongings and space or follow class rules (Lehr & McComas, 2005). Emotional and behavioral disorders most often consist of antisocial and externalizing behaviors. A child will often do things that other children do not do given his/her condition. They disturb peers, bite and hit, complain, yell and curse, lie, steal and have temper tantrums. The learners ill have a hard time staying oat her/his seat, will argue excessively, destroy property and do not respond to teachers corrections. The noncompliance behavior is the source of all other behavioral excesses exhibited by a learner with emotional and behavioral disorder.
Biological and psychological factors influence the development of the brain. Emotional and behavioral disorder is influenced by genetic components that predispose a patient. People can have this disorder given their genetic composition which is found among family lines. Brain damage from brain injury, exposure to toxins and poor nutrition also affect an individual leading to the disorder. Furthermore, people can acquire the disorder from stressful life events, aggression, childhood maltreatment and malnutrition. Child maltreatment like neglect, sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse lead to the occurrence of emotional or behavioral disorder. The most affected learners are those that come from poverty stricken backgrounds, single parent households, children of foster care and homeless children. In addition, school factors like lack of research based interventions for EBD learners and teachers without EBD certification cause an increase of EBD symptoms in children (Laurent Clerc, 2013).
Effects of the Disorder
Learners with emotional or behavioral disorder are a nightmare to the teachers and educators. This is especially if the educators are not familiar with the condition the student is suffering. These children and youth have a hard time because of their behavior. It is normal for children to fight and be aggressive or throw tantrums. The difference is that children with this disorder do it in excess. They are not liked by other students and often lack friends. They are antisocial and mean to other learners. They destruct learning in the classroom by making it unconducive. They insult the teacher and other students they steal property, yell, bully others and fight with other students. They do not focus or concentrate in class and find other ways of disrupting the concentration of other students. The aggression in learners with this disorder occurs without provocation. There is always destruction, physical fights and vandalism where these learners are because they cause others to strike back. Behavioral and emotional disorders that start early with consistency in behavior do not stop with age. People believe that children with this behavior stop their aggression as they grow older. If left undiagnosed and treated, the disorder could continue to adulthood. Young learners who develop with this condition are highly likely to drop out of school in the teen years, can get arrested and involved in criminal activities, abuse, harassment or violence (Sage up, 2002).
Learners with EBD are trained and taught in special education settings. This is because in a regular school, they receive little experience and knowledge compared to learners with disabilities. They attend alternative schools that are designed to serve students placed at the risk of school failure. The risk that they are placed in is suspension, behind in credits, parenting or pregnant. Some end up in incarceration. This is given reports that proof a large number of the juvenile offenders have disabilities. Without special education, the EBD learners drop out of school, go to alternative schools or juvenile corrections because they do not get successful in the traditional classroom setting. Nevertheless, based on the diagnosis given by a psychiatrist, a child does not have to be placed in a classroom because most of them learn and become successful in normal class settings (Lehr & McComas, 2005).
Recommendations for Improvement
Behavior change should be the main focus for teaching learners with EBD. This is because most of their problems originate from behavior and emotions. Therefore, the system for teaching learners wit EBD focuses on discouraging all unwanted behavior and rewarding the desired behavior. Without behavior change and control these learners end up developing ADHD and other complications that affect their learning and daily life. The educator needs to identify the behavior that needs changing and create a baseline of the observed behavior. A reward system needs to be established to give the learner motivation for good behavior. The students need to have goals on which the learning process aims at achieving. A behavior modification chart can be used to help the student understand his/her progress. A learner with EBD needs to be assisted by a psychologist who can effectively diagnose the nature of his/her condition and the way forward (Laurent Clerc, 2013). Support for learners with EBD can be acquired from the family since they are the closest figure with whom the learner is familiar and confident. There is collaborative, culturally competent, individualized, community and strength based. The family, school, community, mental health care providers and other services. They need social development programs to encourage behavior change. Emotional stability can promote mental health and self-advocacy and counseling through provision of instructions. They should be given relevant opportunities to learn outside school.
Laurent Clerc. (2013). Emotional/Behavioral. Gallaudet university National Deaf education center. Disorders. Retrieved November 21, 2013. http://www.gallaudet.edu/clerc_center/information_and_resources/info_to_go/educate_children_%283_to_21%29/students_with_disabilities/emotionalbehavioral_disorders.html
Lehr, C. A. and McComas, J. (2005). Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders: Promoting Positive Outcomes. Retrieved November 21, 2013. http://ici.umn.edu/products./impact/182/over1.html
Sage up. (2002). Introduction to Emotional Disturbance and Behavioral Disorders. 4008-ch01.qxd 2/20/02. Retrieved from, http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/7271_zionts_ch_1.pdf