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Inclusion of Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. in a High School science classroom . Erin Acheson EDSP 6644 Spring 2009.

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inclusion of students with emotional behavioral disorders

Inclusion of Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

in a High School science classroom

Erin Acheson

EDSP 6644

Spring 2009


“…teachers feel under increasing pressure to achieve academic results at all costs in a curriculum which makes few concessions to … ‘the unteachables’.”( Times Educational Supplement editorial, 2005, as quoted in Cooper, 2008).

“‘It is no surprise that teachers…find coping with special needs in mainstream classrooms difficult without additional training and classroom support.…”

(Times Educational Supplement editorial, 2005, as quoted in Cooper, 2008).

“The dark heart of inclusion: every child matters , but only if they behave themselves”

(Louisa Leaman as quoted in Soan, 2006).

“Growing numbers of [students with] special needs are behaviour-related.” (Times Educational Supplement editorial, 2005, as quoted in Cooper, 2008).

support for inclusion
Support for inclusion

Students can learn from appropriate interactions with same-age peers (although more intensive training is always needed) (Hallahan, 2009).

Academic goals of students with EBD should parallel those of their peers anyway (Hallahan, 2009).

Inclusion necessitates that teachers have a highly structured classroom and lesson plans that are relevant to students with EBD, which benefits all students (Hallahan, 2009).

more support for inclusion
More Support for Inclusion:
  • Inclusion prevents tracking of students with disabilities and allows for students with and without disabilities to work together (Hallahan, 2009).
  • Pull-out programs aren\'t as effective as general education classrooms with proper support (Hallahan, 2009).
  • Working closely with special education teachers builds valuable collaborative skills for both teachers and will allow support of all students in the classroom, not just students with EBD. (Hallahan, 2009).
impediments to inclusion
Impediments to Inclusion
  • Schools can exacerbate the problems of students with EBD by:
    • Not taking into account different styles of learning and expression
    • Using curriculum that is not relevant to the “real world lives of students”
    • Tracking
    • Punitive discipline (Cooper, 2008).
  • Integration is difficult and demanding and needs to be done on a case-by-case basis (Hallahan, 2009).
  • Students need rigorous instruction in order to make progress which may not be possible in a general education class (Hallahan, 2009).
impediments to inclusion1
Impediments to Inclusion

Teachers need to “be willing to make wise choices for students who choose to behave unwisely” and be consistent (Hallahan, 2009).

Negative behaviors of students with EBD distract from the learning environment of all students (Hallahan, 2009).

Students with EBD take a greater proportion of a teacher’s time leaving less time for all other students (Hallahan, 2009).

Full inclusion negates the importance of affiliation with students who have disabilities. (Hallahan, 2009).


What does it say about inclusion of students with EBD?

there is a correlation between academic deficits and ebd
There is a correlation between Academic deficits and EBD

Students present more learning problems than their peers without disabilities

50% of students with EBD drop out of school

Students often lack basic academic skills along with negative behaviors

(U.S. Department of Education as quoted in Pierce, 2004; Reschly, 2006; Hallahan, 2009).

insufficient research
Insufficient Research

Few empirical investigations of classrooms and schools successfully educating and including students with EBD have been conducted (Danforth, 2006).

Little research has been done on high school students and students with internalizing behavior problems (Hoagwood, 2007).

Majority of research on students with EBD focuses on behavioral outcomes instead of academic outcomes (Pierce, 2004).

research community often falls into two camps
Research community often falls into two camps:

Despite opposition from the research community, there is progression toward inclusion of students with EBD. American public schools have gradually become more inclusive in general. (U.S. Department of Education, 2004 as quoted in Danforth, 2006).


Promote positive social interactions and cooperation.

The social aspect of school is especially important for students with disabilities (Reschly, 2006).

  • Promote learning, social–emotional development, and organizational strategies that improve academic achievement and mental health (Hoagwood, 2007).
  • Support students with EBD by giving more help with academics or personal problems, offer more autonomy in decision making, and participation in the school environment. (Reschly, 2006).

Purposefully design the classroom and lessons

  • Creating smaller, more personal environments may ease interpersonal connections between students and teachers (Reschly, 2006).
  • Teacher-mediated interventions like structured academic tasks, pre-planning, and sequential prompting during tasks can increase academic performance in students with EBD (Pierce, 2004).
  • Teachers of children with EBD should be trained to use these strategies and to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of academic achievement (Pierce, 2004).

Be consistent!

  • Use group-contingency (group rewards) management techniques (Snowman, 2003)
  • Behavioral controls in an educational program are essential for students with EBD (Hallahan, 2009).
  • Use effective instruction so that students can learn to live and work with others
  • Allow students to make all of the choices they can (Cooper, 2008; & Hallahan, 2009).

Reinforce appropriate behaviors and (if necessary) punish inappropriate behavior


Most functional assessment research has focused on recognizing and creating interventions that maintain consequences of problem behavior.

  • Antecedent assessments can be used in FBAs to identify environmental variables that contribute to the incidence of both inappropriate and appropriate behaviors.
  • Studying these antecedents allow for the development of interventions that prevent problem behavior and promote appropriate classroom behavior.

(Stichter, 2004).

Use functional behavioral assessments to identify and encourage appropriate behaviors

  • There is research support for “proactive classroom management” strategies:
    • focus on preventing problems through the promotion of positive instructional strategies
    • Identify antecedent variables in the context of the classroom (Hoagwood, et al., 2007)
  • The schools demonstrating most success with students with EBD include positive emotional, social interactions that value all students as part of the school community (Cooper, 2008).
  • Match teaching to students’ needs (Hallahan, 2009)
  • Expand “the way in which we view success, and not equating educational success solely with test scores…” (Cooper, 2008)
  • Soan (2006) says that several agencies need to work as one to support students with EBD.
use fbas
Use FBAs!
  • Functional behavioral assessments (FBA) are important to the development of effective behavioral support plans and are supported by major organizations like the APA and legislation (IDEA) which mandates FBAs in disciplinary situations. (Hallahan, 2009)
  • Few studies have examined its usefulness in the classroom with students with EBD, but there is a growing literature base to validate its relevance.
  • Interviews and direct observations done for the FBA in the classroom setting lead to successful interventions and are important in creating an assessment-based behavior support plan supported by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). (Kern, 2004).
5 common features of effective inclusion instruction and assessment for students with ebd include
5 Common features of effective inclusion, instruction, and assessment for students with EBD include:
  • Leadership: Principals and leadership teams provide effective leadership and communicate the values of the school. This leadership needs to have hope and concern for solutions, not just problems.
  • Shared values: staff work to promote the values of the school involving all students.
  • Behavior policy and practice: A consistent behavior plan with strategies for students with EBD as an extension of behavior policy for all pupils is present. Teachers are consistent with discipline and guidelines.
  • Understanding EBD: Staff understand the nature of EBD, and can distinguish it from ordinary misbehavior. Staff also need to understand the development (social, emotional and cognitive) of all types of students.
  • Teaching skills and the curriculum: Effective teaching strategies for students with EBD are the same as those for all students. Teachers need to collaborate and plan for instruction. This includes best practices such as accessing students’ interest and prior-knowledge, peer teaching, and using questioning strategies that allow students to make connections. (Cooper, 2008)
  • Cooper, P. (2008). Nurturing attachment to school: Contemporary perspectives on social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Pastoral Care in Education, 26(1), 13-22.
  • Danforth, S., & Morris, P. (2006). Orthodoxy, heresy and the inclusion of American students considered to have emotional/behavioural disorders. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 10(2-3), 135-148.
  • Hallahan, D. P., Kauffman, J. M., & Pullen, P. C. (2009). Exceptional learners: An introduction to special education. Pearson: Boston.
  • Hoagwood, K. E., Olin, S. S., Kerker, B. D., Kratochwill, T. R., Crowe, M., Saka, N. (2007) Empirically based school interventions targeted at academic and mental health functioning. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 15(2), 66-92.
  • Kern, L., Hilt, A. M., & Gresham, F. (2004) An evaluation of the functional behavioral assessment process used with students with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. Education & Treatment of Children, 27(4), 440-452.
references cont
References cont.
  • Pierce, C. D., Reid, R., & Epstein, M. H. (2004). Teacher-mediated interventions for children with EBD and their academic outcomes. Remedial and Special Education, 25(3),175-188.
  • Reschly, A. L., Christenson, S. L. (2006). Prediction of dropout among students with mild disabilities: A case for the inclusion of student engagement variables. Remedial and Special Education, 27(5), 276-292
  • Snowman, J., & Beihler, R. (2003). Psychology applied to teaching (10th ed). Houghton Mifflin: Boston.
  • Soan, S. (2006). Multi-agency working: Are the needs of children and young people with social, emotional and behavioural needs being served within a multi-agency framework. Support for Learning, 21(4), 210-215.
  • Stichter, J.P.,  Sasso, G. M., Jolivette, K., & Carr, E. G. (2004). Structural analysis and intervention in a school setting: Effects on problem behavior for a student with an emotional/behavioral disorder. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 6(3), 166-177.