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Emotional and behavioral disorders

the definition

A condition in which one or more of the following characteristics appear over a significantly long period of time, appear in two or more settings, and negatively impact a child’s educational performance:

1-Inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

2- Inability to build or maintain personal relationships with peers and teachers.

3- Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances.

4- A general mood of unhappiness or depression.

5- The tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears related to personal or school problems.

the date

1870-1932 : Elizabeth E. Varelhy, founder and first president of the International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children, The Council was organized on August 10, 1922, In 1958, it was named the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). This organization was related to the education of children with emotional disorders And behavioral.

The term “affective disorder” was first developed by Eli Bower in the 1960s. who conducted research on identifying students who need services due to severe emotional and behavioral problems.

1957: The term “affective disorder” was proposed and actually adopted by Congress in 1975 with the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children (EHC) Act.

1997: People with emotional disturbances were classified as disabilities according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under this classification, a student cannot be expelled from school for misbehavior if the behavior is the result of an emotional disturbance.

the reasons

Studies have not proven the actual causes of emotional disturbance. Some studies indicated the presence of many factors such as: heredity, brain disorder, Diet, Stress. Many clinical studies have been done, But so far, researchers have not found that any of these factors are the direct cause of behavioral or emotional problems.


Some of the symptoms and behaviors that appear in children with an emotional disorder include:

1- Hyperactivity (impulsivity) and short attention span .

2- Aggression or self-harm behavior ( self-harm) .

3- Withdrawal and lack of social interaction with others.

4- Immaturity behavior (such as inappropriate crying, temper tantrums, Poor coping skills).

5- Academic performance below the level of peers or the level of study to which he belongs.

6- Excessive anxiety or fear.

Children with the most serious emotional disturbances may exhibit distorted thinking, excessively worried, strange movement actions, Abnormal mood swings.

Many children who do not suffer from an emotional disorder may exhibit some of these behaviors at different times during their development. However, when children suffer from an emotional disorder, these behaviors persist over long periods of time and their behavior indicates that they are not adapting to their environment or peers.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that special education and related services be provided free of charge to every qualified child with a disability, including preschool children ages

Between (3-21) years old, These services are specifically designed to meet the child’s individual needs related to disability, such as: Emotional disturbance as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) In accordance with international agreements .

In the academic year (2016), more than (349,000) children and youth suffering from emotional disorders received these services to meet their individual needs.

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