• My child is eligible for special education services under the category of Emotional Disturbance. What does this mean? 

    According to the Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities (2008), Emotional Disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

    • 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.
    • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

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

    Because the eligibility team at your child’s school agreed that he/she meets the criteria of the Ohio Operating Standards, your child will have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will address his/her unique needs and allow him/her to access the grade-level curriculum to the greatest extent possible. 

    What specialized instruction and related services will my child receive?

    Goals for children with emotional disturbance (ED) vary and depend on the unique needs of the child, but typically address some of these areas:

    o   Social interaction – social awareness and relationship skills

    o   Behavior – self-awareness, self-management, complying with directives

    o   Academics – reading, written expression, mathematics

    Students with ED should also have a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) conducted by a qualified team. The FBA helps to inform the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), which outlines the behavior modification support that a child will receive.

    Can a student with emotional disturbance attend any CMSD school?

    CMSD is committed to providing quality school choices for all families. Every school in CMSD is staffed with Intervention Specialists to support students in all disability categories with access to the general education curriculum along with specially designed instruction in academic areas. All schools also have access to related services (speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy) and postsecondary transition services. Intervention specialists may teach separate academic classes that allow the student to receive grade-level instruction using specially designed instruction and enhanced accommodations. 

    In addition to these services in all schools, there are specialized single classrooms in every Cleveland neighborhood. CMSD offers a small, single classroom environment for some students identified with an emotional disturbance who need more intensive supports than in a regular education classroom. These ED classrooms have up to ten students (K-8) or 12 students (high school), a teacher and a paraprofessional. While academics are always the focus, the student will receive specialized behavioral support designed to meet their individual needs. ED teachers receive additional training on utilizing behavioral supports in the classroom in order to meet the needs of their students.  The type of setting in which a student receives services is a decision of the IEP team.

    Additional Resources

    Center for Parent Information and Resources – Emotional Disturbance