Students with emotional handicaps (EH) have unique personality characteristics, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and emotional issues similar to those that other students have and experience. The difference is one of degree.
EH students have emotional concerns that are more frequent and more serious than other students and, therefore, interfere with the educational process. The behaviors can range from withdrawal and isolation to acting out and aggression and are evident across settings as well as over time. The student with an emotional handicap may experience problems maintaining relationships with peers and adults. They may also have a medical or psychiatric diagnosis, though this is not a requirement for special education services. They may also have other handicapping conditions. Collaborative support between family, school and community can be the critical factor in determining the best possible outcomes. Many EH students go on to post secondary educational programs, employment and become functioning productive citizens.
Students who exhibit behavioral and emotional problems are referred to the school's Student Support Team. This group consists of teachers, counselors, social workers, parents and other professionals who share concerns for the student. The team discusses the student's academic and behavioral issues. Interventions are developed to help alleviate the problems. If the interventions are not successful, in-depth evaluations are completed after receiving parental consent. The student's emotional behavioral problems must persist over an extended period of time and in more than one setting, despite receiving the supportive educational assistance and counseling available to all students.
A student with an emotional handicap will receive services from an Exceptional Education teacher through a range of services. These services may include a regular classroom with supports to a more intensive, structured Varying Exceptionalities classroom where the student-teacher ratio is smaller than the regular classroom. A therapeutic component is included as well as individualized academics and individual and group experiences in social skills. The classroom is characterized by its supportive atmosphere in which expectations and limits are clearly set and consistently implemented. A problem solving approach is modeled by teachers to help the students learn to cope with the stressors they encounter at school, home and community. A behavioral level system may be used. The student's Individual Educational Program (IEP) describes the personal goals he/she will strive to attain with teacher and staff support. Every effort is made to help students make the connections between their choices and the outcomes that result from their choices. Every school provides services to students with special needs. The student may be served in his/her neighborhood school or may be transported to a nearby school for more specialized or intensive programming. It is best to contact the staffing/program specialist or the Exceptional Student Education District office to obtain information regarding services that may be available for your student.
Dismissal may be considered when the student no longer needs the support services provided in the IEP. They are able to be academically and behaviorally successful in the regular education setting. There is usually a gradual decrease of services and a reevaluation may be implemented to assist the IEP team in determining eligibility for dismissal.
For further information, please contact:
ESE Program Supervisor
Phone: (352) 797-7022