Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities

  •  A student with an emotional/behavioral disability has persistent (is not sufficiently responsive to implemented evidence based interventions) and consistent emotional or behavioral responses that adversely affect performance in the educational environment that cannot be attributed to age, culture, gender, or ethnicity.

    A student with an emotional/behavioral disability has an inability to maintain adequate educational performance that cannot be explained by physical, sensory, socio-cultural, developmental, medical, or health (with the exception of mental health) factors; demonstrates one or more of the internal or external factors that constitute an emotional/behavioral disability for more than six months and in multiple settings; and needs special education as a result of the emotional/behavioral disability.

    A student must exhibit one or more of the following factors/characteristics that constitute an emotional/behavioral disability:

    1. Feelings of sadness, or frequent crying, or restlessness, or loss of interest in friends and/or school work, or mood swings, or erratic behavior; or
    2. The presence of symptoms such as fears, phobias, or excessive worrying and anxiety regarding personal or school problems; or
    3. Behaviors that result from thoughts and feelings that are inconsistent with actual events or circumstances, or difficulty maintaining normal thought processes, or excessive levels of withdrawal from persons or events; or
    4. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers, teachers, and other adults in the school setting; or
    5. Behaviors that are chronic and disruptive such as noncompliance, verbal and/or physical aggression, and/or poorly developed social skills that are manifestations of feelings, symptoms, or behaviors found in numbers 1, 2, or 3.

    The needs of students who exhibit E/BD are best addressed through a school-wide system of positive behavioral supports where interventions are developed through a problem solving process, and data are used to monitor and evaluate intervention effectiveness and inform decisions. The challenge of developing evidence-based interventions with sufficient intensity to match the student’s needs is the task of a school-based problem solving/intervention team. Most students with E/BD will respond to evidence-based interventions developed through a problem-solving process and implemented with fidelity. However, some students with E/BD will need specially designed instruction and related services beyond general education resources and supports to sustain adequate progress in the learning environment.

    Students need to meet specific eligibility criteria to receive direct services from the Intensive Behavior Intervention-3 Program.  When students with E/BD receive services for the full school week in a comprehensive public school or cluster site setting, the results of prior interventions and progress monitoring data support the need for a lower adult-to-pupil ratio than offered in other ESE delivery models. This program includes a highly structured academic and affective curriculum; extensive support services that shall include individual or group counseling, and parent education and support; and, when appropriate, consultation from mental health, medical, or other professionals. The IEP team must determine that services cannot be provided in a less restrictive environment. 

    Multidisciplinary educational teams, including parents, design programs to meet the individual behavioral and academic needs of students with serious emotional disabilities. Most students can benefit from supportive treatments provided in regular programs. For others, at least temporary placements in special classrooms or programs may be appropriate.

    Our highly qualified teachers provide a structured environment where students experience a high degree of success; rules and routines are predictable; and students are consistently rewarded for appropriate behavior. Behavior management techniques, such as positive reinforcement, token economies, contracting, and time-out, which rely on direct measurement and monitoring of behavioral change, are commonly used in our special programs. The assessment and systematic teaching of social skills through modeling, discussion, and rehearsal are frequently used to help students increase control over their behavior and improve their relations with others. In addition, supportive therapies involving music, art, exercise, and relaxation techniques, as well as affective education, individual, and group counseling are sometimes employed to improve self-understanding, self-esteem, and self-control.



    Regionally Located Schools within Collier County with Special Classes & Staff
    for Serving Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities **
    Elementary Eden Park Elementary, Mike Davis Elementary, Naples Park Elementary, Sabal Palm Elementary, and Shadowlawn Elementary
    Middle   Gulfview Middle and Corkscrew Middle
    High   Lely High and Palmetto Ridge High

    *Some students with emotional/behavioral disorders are served in their home zoned schools as determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) team.

    District Contact
    Sonja Samek ESE Coordinator
    (239) 377-4779

    Information & Resources

    Visit the related Florida State Board of Education Rule. Open the Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities Word document to read the Rule.

    The Children's Advocacy Center of Collier: The Children's Advocacy Center of Collier County (CACCC) is a nonprofit agency that provides a coordinated, multi-agency approach to the investigation, intervention, and treatment of child sexual and physical abuse. 

    Collier H.U.G.S.: Health Under Guided Systems (H.U.G.S.) is a free community based children’s behavioral health program that addresses the prevention and early intervention of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges for children ages 3 months to 18 years.

    The David Lawrence Center (DLC):  DLC provides mental health and substance abuse services to children, adults and families in need in Southwest Florida. 

    Emotional Disturbance - PDF

    Florida Standards and Access Points 

    Guidelines for Implementation of the Revised Rule for Exceptional Student Education Eligibility for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities
    Florida Technical Assistance Paper, 2011

    National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. 

    National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Collier County: NAMI of Collier County provides a variety of services and programs for youth and adults with persistent mental illness. 

    SEDNET:  SEDNET(8B) Promotes a system of unified care, multi-agency partnerships, positive provider-family relationships, integrated education, mental health, social services, optimal, accessible services for students with emotional/behavioral disorders and their families.

    Youth Haven of Southwest Florida: Youth Haven provides several programs including The Child and Family Counseling Center, The Emergency Shelter, The Family Support and Prevention Services and the Homeless and Runaway Youth Program .