Welcome to dese.mo.gov. We hope you enjoy the site, and we welcome your feedback.

Emotional Disturbance

Eligibility Criteria

Emotional Disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree hat adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

(1) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
(2) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
(3) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
(4) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; and,
(5) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or social problems.

The term includes schizophrenia, but does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined they have an emotional disturbance.

A child displays an emotional disturbance when:

(1) Through evaluation procedures that must include observation of behavior in different environments and an in-depth social history, the child displays one of the following characteristics:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; and,
  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or social problems.

(2) The characteristic(s) must have existed to a marked degree and over an extended period of time.In most cases, an extended period of time would be a range from two (2) through nine (9) months depending upon the age of the child and the type of behavior occurring.For example, a shorter duration of disturbance that interrupts the learning process in a younger student might constitute an extended period of time.Difficulties may have occurred prior to the referral for evaluation; and,

(3) The emotional disturbance adversely affects the child’s educational performance.

NOTE:  Manifestations of an emotional disturbance can be observed along a continuum ranging from normal behavior to severely disordered behavior.  Children who experience and demonstrate problems of everyday living and/or those who develop transient symptoms due to a specific crisis or stressful experience are not considered to have an emotional disturbance.

Standards and Indicators
Incident Rates
Characteristics
Instructional/Intervention Strategies
National Resources
State Resources
Parent Resources