A student who has an identified emotional/behavioral disability (EBD) has persistent and consistent emotional or behavioral responses that adversely affect performance in the educational environment that cannot be attributed to age, culture, gender, or ethnicity.

An evaluation for EBD eligibility includes a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), which identifies the specific behavior(s) of concern, conditions under which the behavior is most and least likely to occur, and function or purpose of the behavior. The student’s response to interventions as targeted on the FBA must be documented. Additionally, a behavioral intervention plan must be implemented with fidelity prior to determining eligibility. A social/developmental history must be compiled from a parent or guardian interview. A psychological evaluation which includes behavioral observations and interview data, an assessment of emotional and behavioral functioning, and may include information on developmental skills and functioning. Educational data must be reviewed to include the relationship between the student’s academic performance and the emotional/behavioral disability. A medical evaluation may be conducted when the ESE administrator determines that the emotional/behavioral responses are caused by a physical problem.

Eligibility for EBD is determined by the IEP team when a student demonstrates an inability to maintain an adequate school performance that can’t be explained by physical, sensory, socio-cultural, developmental, medical, or health conditions. The student must also demonstrate one or more of the following:

* Feelings of sadness, or frequent crying, or restlessness, or loss of interest in friends and/or school work, or mood swings, or erratic behavior

* Symptoms such as fears, phobias, or excessive worrying and anxiety regarding personal or school problems

* 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

* An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers, teachers, and other adults in the school setting

* Behaviors that are chronic and disruptive such as noncompliance, verbal and/or physical aggression, and/or poorly developed social skills

These characteristics must be present for in two or more settings and for at least six months.


Samantha Vandegrift – Program Specialist

(772) 429-4565