Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

The topics listed are individual websites that can be accessed by members of The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP). If you are not a member of AASEP, and would like to join AASEP, click on the following link: Join AASEP to Register .

Members of AASEP, please login  (member login and password) to have full access to all the information and other websites links, in our database.

AASEP's Comprehensive Overview of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Click Here to go to AASEP's comprehensive overview of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.  For numerous other links related to this topic, refer to the variety of topics below. 


  • Modifying the learning environment : Educators have long understood that behavior difficulties can keep students from functioning productively in class. Many school personnel have been considering the effects of behavior on learning for some time.
  • A short guide to understanding accomodations: short guide to explain accommodations and to help you determine if you need one
  • A listing of books and journal articles for students with disabilities: This Resources You Can Use is intended to help professionals and others find information that can guide them in making appropriate changes in the classroom based on what their students need. All of the resources are rich with suggestions and techniques that can help professionals and, ultimately, students.
  • Testing accomodations for students with bi-polar disorder-Pdf file:The suggestions or ideas that follow assume that the student can be maintained in the mainstream building. In actuality, some students with severe symptoms may require home instruction, hospitalization, a self-contained program, day treatment, or residential setting. That said, and while many students with Bipolar Disorder may need special education, some student
  • Accomodations for persons with anxiety and emotional disorders : A person managing an online program, either a virtual volunteering program or one that provides online service delivery for an agency, needs to have a general understanding of various learning styles, working styles and information-processing styles. Volunteer management is not "one-size-fits-all," and simple adjustments in management style can be made to effectively channel talents and resources of the greatest number of people.
  • IEP's and 504 Plans: Similarities and differences: This article discusses the differences in IEP's and 504 plans in terms of requirements, accommodations and modifications.
  • Symptoms and Accommodations for Students with Bipolar Disorder: Children with bipolar disorder often need classroom accommodations to help them benefit from their education. The extent of the accommodations needed by an individual student will depend on the nature, frequency, severity, and duration of his or her symptoms.

To top

Adults with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

  • Factors associated with community adjustment of young adults with serious emotional disturbance: a longitudinal analysis: From their teens to their early twenties, young adults experience dramatic changes across all realms of development. Emerging adulthood, as defined by Arnett (2000), marks the period of development (ages 18 years to 25 years) when individuals explore life possibilities and make choices that set the foundation for the remainder of their lives.
  • Definitions of adults with serious emotional disturbance: A thorough explanation of the definitions and characteristics that are exhibited by adults with emotional disturbance.
  • Recovery and rehabilitation of persons with severe mental illness: a vision: Although some progress has been made to counteract the myths, misperceptions, and stereotypes surrounding mental illness, stigma still prevents many people from seeking treatment and causes countless others to keep their conditions secret for fear of losing their jobs, health insurance, or homes.
  • Facts on Transitional Services for Youth with Mental Illnesses Transitioning to Adulthood: Providing comprehensive support services to youth with mental illnesses transitioning into adulthood is critical to their success. Many youth age out of children’s services without any transitional planning and lack skills necessary to manage their illnesses and accomplish their goals.
  • Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability: The Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability in the United States is a reference on disability and mental health in the United States, created for both non-technical and technical audiences. The book is a resource for agencies, employers, organizations, policymakers, researchers and others concerned with the relationship between mental health and disability. An excellent source for information and statistics on adults with emotional disabilities.

To top


  • Advocacy and learning center: a great souce of information, links and tips for meeting with officials to discuss your child's situation.
  • American academy of child and adolescent psychiatry: Throughout the evaluation process, parents should be directly involved and ask many questions. It's important to make sure you understand the results of the evaluation, your child's diagnosis, and the full range of treatment options.
  • Parent advocacy coalition: This article provides tips for parents on becoming effective advocates for their children.
  • Accessing parent groups: Families with a child who has a disability have special concerns and often need a great deal of information: information about the disability of their child, about school services, therapy, local policies, funding sources, transportation, medical facilities, and much more. Many families find it very useful to join a parent group, where they can meet other families with similar needs. Parent groups can serve many purposes, but primarily they offer parents a place and a means
  • Parent information: If your child is diagnosed with an emotional disability you'll have lots of questions: Which one does your child have? What can you do to help your child? What are your rights as a parent? There are plenty of techniques and research on how to deal with and overcome emotional disabilities. These steps will help you get started on your information search.

To top

Anxiety Disorders

  • Overview - Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps one deal with a tense situation in the office, study harder for an exam, keep focused on an important speech. In general, it helps one cope. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it has become a disabling disorder.
  • Booklet that describes the symptoms, causes, and treatments of the major anxiety disorders, with information on getting help and coping - A detailed booklet that describes the symptoms, causes, and treatments of the major anxiety disorders, with information on getting help and coping.
  • A fact sheet on anxiety disorders - A fact sheet with descriptions of the major types of anxiety disorders and their treatments.
  • Information About Coping with Traumatic Events - Most people have intense feelings after a traumatic event. Most will completely recover from the trauma; others are more vulnerable, especially those who have had previous traumatic experiences, and will need additional help.
  • Anxiety Disorders (Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - Anxiety disorders range from feelings of uneasiness to immobilizing bouts of terror. This fact sheet briefly describes the different types of anxiety disorders.
  • Statistics and Facts about Anxiety Disorders (Anxiety Disorders Association of America)
  • Reasearch on Anxiety Disorders - About half of adults with an anxiety disorder had symptoms of some type of psychiatric illness by age 15, a NIMH-funded study shows.

Specific Conditions (Anxiety Disorders)

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
  • Panic Disorder: Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder : Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. more>>
  • Social Phobia - Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation?such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others?or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people. more>>
  • Conversion Disorder (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) - Conversion disorder is a type of somatoform disorder. Somatoform disorders are characterized by physical symptoms that suggest a medical condition. But a thorough medical evaluation doesn't reveal any underlying medical cause for the physical symptoms.
  • Separation Anxiety (Nemours Foundation) - You've always dropped off your 1-year-old child at day care without a problem - until today. She's anxious and distressed, she's clinging to you for dear life, and she's making it clear she doesn't want you to leave. She resists the professionals' attempts to calm her and seems to want nothing to do with the other kids. All she wants is you, and she screams and cries every time you try to walk out the door. Finally, you make one last attempt to comfort her and head to the car, feeling guilty, upset, and confused. And the same scenario plays out every day for the entire week.

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

  • Treatment of Anxiety Disorders - Effective treatments for each of the anxiety disorders have been developed through research.19 In general, two types of treatment are available for an anxiety disorder—medication and specific types of psychotherapy (sometimes called "talk therapy"). Both approaches can be effective for most disorders.
  • Getting Help: Locate Services - If unsure where to go for help, talk to someone you trust who has experience in mental health—for example, a doctor, nurse, social worker, or religious counselor.
  • Anxiety Screening Tools (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - One of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder is by taking a Self Test. Self Tests,
    or screening tests, are developed to help you recognize the signs of an anxiety disorder.
  • Anxiety Disorders Information: Guide to Treatment (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - Anxiety disorders are real, serious and treatable. Experts believe that anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors, much like other disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Anxiety Disorders Information: Medications (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - Medication can be very useful in treating anxiety disorders and is often used in combination with other forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. The most important aspect of the process of beginning a medication is to have an open and honest discussion with your physician, followed by ongoing evaluation and monitoring.
  • Anxiety Disorders: The Role of Psychotherapy in Effective Treatment (American Psychological Association) - Everyone feels anxious and under stress from time to time. Situations such as meeting tight deadlines, important social obligations or driving in heavy traffic, often bring about anxious feelings. Such mild anxiety may help make you alert and focused on facing threatening or challenging circumstances. On the other hand, anxiety disorders cause severe distress over a period of time and disrupt the lives of individuals suffering from them.
  • Medications - A very detailed summary that describes mental disorders and the medications for treating them -- includes a comprehensive list of medications.

Coping (Anxiety Disorders)

  • Anxiety Disorders Information: Helping a Family Member (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - Sufferers of anxiety disorders and their families may spend months, even years, without knowing what is wrong. It can be frustrating and can put a strain on relationships; this strain is not necessarily alleviated once there is a diagnosis. Recovery can be a long process.
  • Successful Strategies for Test Anxiety (Freedom from Fear) - We all experience some level of anxiety before a test. A little nervousness can actually help motivate us to perform our best. Too much anxiety can become a problem if it interferes with your performance on tests. Some strategies for dealing with test anxiety:
  • Coping with Anxiety, Fears and Phobias (Nemours Foundation) - Everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, experiences anxieties and fears at one time or another. Feeling anxious in a particularly uncomfortable situation never feels very good. However, with children, such feelings are not only normal, they are also necessary.
  • How Families Can Help Children Cope with Fear and Anxiety (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - Whether tragic events touch your family personally or are brought into your home via newspapers and television, you can help children cope with the anxiety that violence, death, and disasters can cause.

Organizations (Anxiety Disorders)

  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America
  • National Institute of Mental Health

Children and Anxiety Disoders

  • Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - Taking your child to the doctor for a mental health problem is as important as visiting the doctor for an ear infection or broken arm. But knowing when and where to seek mental health care can be difficult. Here are some these tips for parents to make the process easier.
  • Anxiety Medication and Kids (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - <font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">The use of medication is just one of the many treatment options available to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Parents are understandably hesitant about putting their children on medications without knowing which ones are appropriate, how they will affect their child, and if and when they are safe to use.</font>
  • Being Afraid (Nemours Foundation) - The use of medication is just one of the many treatment options available to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Parents are understandably hesitant about putting their children on medications without knowing which ones are appropriate, how they will affect their child, and if and when they are safe to use.
    Frequently asked questions* about treating anxiety disorders in children with medication:
  • Children and Adolescents with Anxiety Disorders (Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - Have you ever been afraid? Everyone gets scared sometimes. Do thunder and lightning make your heart beat faster? Maybe your mouth goes dry when your professional announces a pop quiz, or your palms sweat when it's your turn to give your report in front of the class. Perhaps you get butterflies in your stomach when you see the bully that picks on you.

Teenagers and Anxiety Disorders

  • All about Anxiety (Nemours Foundation) - Anxiety is a natural part of life, and most of us experience it from time to time. The word "anxiety" usually refers to worry, concern, stress, or nervousness. For most teens, anxiety is limited to particular situations such as tests, important dates (like the prom), or driving lessons.
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Nemours Foundation) - To your dismay, your daughter has started to complain more and more about the appearance of her eyelids. She grudgingly compares them to those of her classmates. You frequently catch her standing before a mirror, scrutinizing their appearance. When you try to discuss your concerns, she becomes defensive. To make matters worse, you've observed her reading materials about cosmetic surgery.

To top

Assessment of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

  • Why functional assessment of behavior is important: Educators have long understood that behavior difficulties can keep students from functioning productively in class. Many school personnel have been considering the effects of behavior on learning for some time. The 1997 Amendments to the IDEA take that consideration one step further: the relationship between behavior and learning must not only be considered but acted upon.
  • Behavioral recording : Another method of evaluating a student's behavior that provides you with a very precise picture of its severity is behavioral recording.  The professional or aide observes the student directly and records how long or how often a certain behavior occurs. Using this method, you can compare the degree of occurrence of the behavior with the degree to which it is exhibited by other students.
  • Conducting a functional behavioral assessment : Identifying the underlying causes of behavior may take many forms; and, while the Amendments to IDEA advise a functional behavioral assessment approach (which could determine specific contributors to behavior), they do not require or suggest specific techniques or strategies to use when assessing that behavior. While there are a variety of techniques available to conduct a functional behavioral assessment, the first step in the process is to define the behavior in concrete terms. In the following section we will discuss techniques to define behavior.
  • Sociograms : A sociogram is a professional-made device that is used to provide additional information regarding a student and how s/he interacts with peers.   It is a valuable tool for determining how a student is viewed by his/her classmates.  Students respond to a professional-provided direction such as "List the two classmates with whom you would most like to sit", "Write the name of  the person with whom you would enjoy working on a project.", "If you were going on a vacation, which of your classmates would be nice to have along, and why?"
  • Manifestation determination: It is a process conducted by the IEP team (along with other necessary qualified personnel) to investigate whether there is a relationship between the student's action(s) of concern and his/her disability.  The team must decide whether the student's action(s) were a reflection of his/her disability or perhaps the result of it.

To top

Assistive Technology

  • Technology solutions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders: Motivating students to learn in any environment can be a challenge, but that challenge is compounded in self-contained classrooms for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Not surprisingly, many students with emotional disability experience poor academic results. They fail more courses, earn lower grade point averages, miss more days of school, and are retained more than students with other disabilities.

To top

Bipolar Disorder

Overview-Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipolar Disorder - A general overview of bipolar disorder from the NIMH
  • Going to Extremes: Bipolar Disorder (National Institute of Mental Health) - A brief overview of the symptoms, treatments, and research findings.
  • Overview  (American Academy of Family Physicians) - Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings. This condition is also called manic-depressive illness. It may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Diagnosis/Symptoms-Bipolar Disorder 

  • Bipolar Disorder - Signs and Symptoms (National Mental Health Association) - Bipolar disorder is often difficult to recognize and diagnose. It causes a person to have a high level of energy, grandiose thoughts or ideas, and impulsive or reckless behavior. These symptoms may feel good to a person, which may lead to denial that there is a problem.
  • Extreme Irritability: Is It Childhood Bipolar Disorder?  -  Results of a new study may help improve the diagnosis and treatment of two debilitating childhood mental disorders — pediatric bipolar disorder (BD) and a syndrome called severe mood dysregulation (SMD).

Treatment-Bipolar Disorder 

  • Lithium (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) - Drug information on lithium, used for treating bipolar disorder
  • Mental Health Providers: Making the Right Choice (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) - Seeking mental health treatment can be a big decision. But acknowledging your need for treatment is only the first step. You must also find a doctor or therapist to see.

Prevention/Screening-Bipolar Disorder

  • Mood Disorder Questionnaire (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - This questionnaire is a good first step in discovering if you might have this illness but it is not meant to take the place of an evaluation by a physician or a mental health professional.

Coping-Bipolar Disorder

  • Dealing Effectively with Bipolar Disorder (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - PDF file of informational pamphlet providing guidance and information on coping with bipolar disorder
  • Healthy Lifestyles: Improving and Maintaining the Quality of Your Life - PDF file of a pamphlet on improving the quality of life living with bipolar disorder.


  • Find a Support Group in Your Community (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - This map of the united states provides links to bipolar and depression support groups by region

Organizations-Bipolar Disorder

  • Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation - A trusted source of vital information on Pediatric Bipolar Disorder, resources at your fingertips, and a network of parents and experts who can help.
  • Depression and Bipolar Alliance - The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the nation’s leading patient-directed organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses – depression and bipolar disorder. The organization fosters an understanding about the impact and management of these life-threatening illnesses by providing up-to-date, scientifically-based tools and information written in language the general public can understand.
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has become the nation’s voice on mental illness, a national organization including NAMI organizations in every state and in over 1100 local communities across the country who join together to meet the NAMI mission through advocacy, research, support, and education.
  • National Institute of Mental Health - The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is one of 27 components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal government's principal biomedical and behavioral research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • National Mental Health Association - The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. With more than 340 affiliates nationwide. NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million individuals with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research and service.

Children and Bipolar Disorder

  • Child and Adolescent Bipolar Disorder (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) - One of the biggest challenges has been to differentiate children with mania from those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Both groups of children present with irritability, hyperactivity and distractibility.
  • Child and Adolescent Bipolar Disorder: An Update from the National Institute of Mental Health - Research findings, clinical experience, and family accounts provide substantial evidence that bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, can occur in children and adolescents. Bipolar disorder is difficult to recognize and diagnose in youth, however, because it does not fit precisely the symptom criteria established for adults, and because its symptoms can resemble or co-occur with those of other common childhood-onset mental disorders.
  • Storm in My Brain:Kids and Mood Disorders (Bipolar Disorder and Depression) - PDF file targeted to children with information on bipolar disorders and depression, from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Teenagers and Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipolar Disorder (Nemours Foundation) - Page targeted to teens with information on bipolar disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) in Teens (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) - Research has improved the ability to diagnose Bipolar Disorder in children and teens. Bipolar Disorder can begin in childhood and during the teenage years, although it is usually diagnosed in adult life. The illness can affect anyone. However, if one or both parents have Bipolar Disorder, the chances are greater that their children may develop the disorder.

To top

Books and Publications

  • Practical advice for managing student behavior - Books from CUNY's Hunter College school of social work.

To top

Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Raising Questions, Finding Answers: A brief overview that focuses on the symptoms, treatments, and research findings.

To top


  • Why kids misbehave - This page presents four views on how to figure out why a youngster is misbehaving.   The first model represents the views of Rudolph Dreikurs.  The second represents the views of behaviorists who advocate for the process and procedures of applied behavior analysis.  The third involves discussion with the student.  The fourth is a procedure known as "Functional Behavior Assessment".
  • Your guide to causes of mental illness: Although the exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors.

To top


  • Defined Characteristics - Definitions of Adults With a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Children With a Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) Under the Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) Block Grant.

To top


  • Anxiety disorders - A brief overview of anxiety disorders.
  • Possible alternate assessment strategies - This initial discussion is not intended to provide a complete course of training, but to offer an overview of some of the techniques involved. Further, one philosophical base is not advocated over another. Rather, a combination of techniques is promoted to address behavioral, cognitive, and affective functions of a student’s behavior and advocate the development of positive behavioral interventions and supports that tap each of these areas as well.

To top

Classroom Management

  • Behavior management checklist - Research shows that while a punitive, coersive approach toward behavior management may gain superficial compliance, students  feel alienated from those teachers (and school in general), lose motivation to achieve, and resist changing the undesireable behavior.
  • Managing group behavior - Use these suggestions as a checklist to determine your skill in managing the behavior of groups of students.
  • Helping kids develop self management - These simple techniques (so simple that a lot of teachers don't believe that they'll work until they give them a try) are nice things to try before going to your penalties for non-compliance and misbehavior.
  • Best practices for behavior disorders - Best Practices for Behavior Disorders in the Classroom
  • Addressing skill deficits - If the student does not know what the behavioral expectations are, the plan can be formulated to teach expectations, and would include the supports, aids, strategies, and modifications necessary to accomplish this instruction, with expectations explained in concrete terms.
  • Giving and getting respect - When students feel valued, respected and welcomed in their classroom, they are more likely to behave better and demonstrate respect toward you.  Here are a few tips for creating the optimal classroom environment.
  • Token economies - A token economy involves awarding tokens, chips, stickers, check marks, points, or other items/markings to students who demonstrate desired behaviors identified by the teacher.
  • Addressing performance deficits - If a functional behavioral assessment reveals that the student knows the skills necessary to perform the behavior, but does not consistently use them, the intervention plan may include techniques, strategies, and supports designed to increase motivation to perform the skills.
  • Primer on behavior management - how well you manage student behavior is crucial to your success as a teacher.  The behavior that is exhibited in your classroom affects how administrators, colleagues, kids, parents, and YOU view your competence as a teacher.
  • Primer for beginning professionals - Our first year of teaching has a tremendous impact on our personal and professional life.  A positive experience leads to a long and rewarding career.  A negative one promotes feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and isolation.  The greatest threat to a long and successful teaching career is student misbehavior.  Teachers report it to be their primary source of career-based stress, and former teachers report it to be the number one reason that they left the field.  Nationally, over 1/5 of new teachers leave the profession in the first three years (the rate is higher in low income urban areas).

  • Ways to catch kids being good - The most effective behavior management technique is the easiest to implement..."catching 'em being good".  Research shows us that the quickest and most effective way to promote the display of appropriate behaviors is to reward them (e.g., touch, a smile, a "thank you", praise, points, food,...whatever would be reinforcing to those youngsters).  We all like to have our efforts acknowledged, and will show more of that behavior if it brings us rewards.
  • How your teaching style affects the managing of behavior - A great deal of misbehavior occurs because the students are not interested in the lesson.  Kids who are bored will create their own entertainment.  Here are some ways to engage youngsters in your lessons.
  • Promoting positive peer pressure - This page contains ideas that bring about cooperation on the part of your class and promote "positive peer pressure" (students motivating others to behave appropriately).
  • Assertive discipline - Lee and Marlene Canter, when consulting for school systems, found that many teachers were unable to control undesirable behavior that occurred in their classrooms.  The Cantors, rightfully so, attributed this to a lack of training in the area of behavior management.  Based on their research and the foundations of assertiveness training and applied behavior analysis, they developed a common sense, easy-to-learn approach to help teachers become the captains of their classrooms and positively influence their students' behavior.  Today, it is the most widely used "canned" (prepared/packaged) behavior management program.  Assertive discipline has evolved since the mid 70's from an authoritarian approach to one that is more democratic and cooperative.
  • Cooperative learning - Cooperative learning is not having students merely sitting together, helping the others do their work.  Having students who finish their work first assist others is also not a form of cooperative learning either.  Neither is assigning a group of students to work together without assuring that all contribute to the product.
  • Differential reinforcement procedures - DR interventions are structured versions of "catching ‘em being good".  Instead of punishing the "bad behavior" to decrease it's occurrence, you get rid of it by using positive reinforcement in a structured manner.
  • Schedules of reinforcement - Given the precise and structured nature of the procedures of applied behavior analysis, you can be sure that any self-respecting behaviorist would make sure to "catch kids being good" only under certain circumstances (like in the Differential Reinforcement procedures) and on a particular schedule.  By implementing a certain schedule when first building a behavior, and later changing to other schedules, you can promote stronger, more ingrained versions of appropriate behavior while "weaning" kids from rewards.  Here, you'll find information on the different schedules and when you might make use of them.
  • Shaping - The practice of shaping (also known as "successive approximation") is not, in and of itself, a method for managing inappropriate behavior.  Instead, it is a method that assists you in setting goals for the behavior of a certain student.  Shaping will provide guidance and direction for your behavior change program, and will help you assess its effectiveness.  It can assist you in changing an aberrant behavior or creating an appropriate behavior that is not yet in the student's repertoire.
  • Task analysis - Many of the day-to-day behaviors in which we engage without even thinking about them are really quite complex, comprised of many smaller, discrete, singular, specific sub-behaviors that we perform in a certain order.
  • Time out - An intervention in which you remove a misbehaving youngster from a situation or environment that is reinforcing the inappropriate behavior.
  • The really big list of classroom management resources - A collection of classroom management and discipline websites, still (probably) the biggest on the World Wide Web. Originally created by a bleary-eyed and courageous band of Monmouth University graduate students who gave up one week of their lives scouring the entire Internet (well almost), this site has many of the best that cyberspace has to offer.
  • Council for children with behavior disorders - The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD) is the official division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) committed to promoting and facilitating the education and general welfare of children and youth with emotional or behavioral disorders.

To top


  • Definition of emotional disturbance - Many terms are used to describe emotional, behavioral or mental disorders. Currently, students with such disorders are categorized as having a serious emotional disturbance, which is defined under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as described here.

To top



  • Depression: A Treatable Illness - A fact sheet that describes the symptoms and types of depression and effective treatments.
  • Overview of Depression - An overveiw of depression from the National Institute of Mental Health
  • Clinical Depression: What You Need to Know (National Mental Health Association) - Clinical depression is very treatable, with more than 80% of those who seek treatment showing improvement.  The most commonly used treatments are antidepressant medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.  The choice of treatment depends on the pattern, severity, persistence of depressive symptoms and the history of the illness...
  • JAMA Patient Page: Depression (American Medical Association) - A person who feels sad all the time, has unexplained crying spells or loses interest in usual activities may have major depression, a serious medical illness that should be distinguished from normal temporary feelings of sadness after a loss, such as the death of a relative or friend.


  • Symptoms: Learning to Recognize Clinical Depression in the Workplace (National Mental Health Association) - No two people experience clinical depression in the same manner. Symptoms will vary in severity and duration among different people.


  • Depression: Electroconvulsive Therapy (American Academy of Family Physicians) - It is believed that ECT works by using an electrical shock to cause a seizure (a short period of irregular brain activity). This seizure releases many chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, deliver messages from one brain cell to another. The release of these chemicals makes the brain cells work better. A person's mood will improve when his or her brain cells and chemical messengers work better.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy May Relieve Severe Depression, Other Disorders (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) - In certain cases ECT may be the best treatment option, sometimes offering fast and dramatic benefits. In severe depression, for instance, the risk of suicide may be high, requiring treatment that can quickly alleviate symptoms. And for some people, antidepressant medications aren't effective.
  • How to Find Help Through Psychotherapy (American Psychological Association) - Millions of Americans have found relief from depression and other emotional difficulties through psychotherapy. Even so, some people find it hard to get started or stay in psychotherapy. This brief question-and-answer guide provides some basic information to help individuals take advantage of outpatient (non-hospital) psychotherapy.
  • Medications (National Institute of Mental Health) - A detailed booklet that describes mental disorders and the medications for treating them -- includes a comprehensive list of medications.
  • Questions and Answers on Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents, and Adults (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research) - FDA is announcing a request to the manufacturers of ten antidepressant drugs that they strengthen the "Warnings" section of the package insert to encourage close observation for worsening depression or the emergence of suicidal thinking and behavior in both adult and pediatric patients being treated with these agents, particularly for depression but also for other psychiatric and nonpsychiatric disorders.
  • Types of Treatment: Clinical Depression is a Treatable Illness (National Mental Health Association) - If you or someone you know may benefit from a counselor or mental health center, here are some questions and guidelines to help you find the right care.

Alternative Therapy-Depression

  • St. John's Wort and the Treatment of Depression (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) - The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has developed this fact sheet on the use of St. John's wort for depression. It is part of a series intended to help consumers make informed decisions about whether to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for a disease or medical condition.
  • Study Shows St. John's Wort Ineffective for Major Depression of Moderate Severity (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) - An extract of the herb St. John's wort was no more effective for treating major depression of moderate severity than placebo, according to research published in the April 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Research on Adolescence and Depression-Depression

  • As Antidepressant Medication Treatment Increases, Adolescent Suicide Rates Decrease (American Medical Association)  - Increases in antidepressant medication use are associated with decreases in rates of suicide among older adolescents and adolescent males, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Combination Treatment Most Effective in Adolescents with Depression (National Institute of Mental Health) - A clinical trial of 439 adolescents with major depression has found a combination of medication and psychotherapy to be the most effective treatment.


  • Getting Help: Locate Services (National Institute of Mental Health) - If unsure where to go for help, talk to someone you trust who has experience in mental health—for example, a doctor, nurse, social worker, or religious counselor.

Organizations Involved With Depression

  • American Psychiatric Association
  • Center for Mental Health Services
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Mental Health Association

Children and Depression

  • Antidepressant Medications for Children: Information for Parents and Caregivers (National Institute of Mental Health) - Research has shown that, as in adults, depression in children and adolescents can be treated. In particular, antidepressant medications — called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because they specifically target the neurotransmitter serotonin — have been shown to be of benefit to children and adolescents with major depressive disorder. Certain types of psychological therapies have also been shown to be beneficial.
  • Depression in Kids: How Is It Treated? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) - At one time, doctors didn't believe that children could experience depression. But researchers have found that depression is quite common in kids. Treatment may include psychotherapy and medication.
  • When Your Child is Depressed - Not everyone recognizes depression when it happens to someone they know. And some people have incorrect ideas about what it means to be depressed. People who don't understand may react to the depressed person's low energy with criticism, scolding them for acting lazy or not trying.

To top


  • Childhood onset anxiety disorders - PDF file.  After attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional-defiant disorder, the anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses in children and adolescents. As many as 3-5% of children suffer from anxiety disorders, not counting obsessive-compulsive disorder which affects another 0.5-1.0% of children.
  • Dual Diagnosis and Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders - A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is affected by both chemical dependency and psychiatric/emotional illness. Both illnesses may affect a person physically, socially, psychologically, and spiritually. Each illness has symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to function effectively. 
  • Double diagnosis: - Drug and alcohol abuse: More and more research is now showing that one reason many substance abusers have so many setbacks is that they also have an untreated, co-occurring psychiatric illness.
  • Extrem Irritability: Is It Childhood Bipolar Disorder?  -  Results of a new study may help improve the diagnosis and treatment of two debilitating childhood mental disorders

To top

Eating Disorders

  • Eating Disorders: Facts About Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions: A detailed summary that describes symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping.
  • Study Tracks Prevalence of Eating Disorders - Results from a large-scale national survey suggest that binge-eating disorder is more prevalent than both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

To top

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • FAQ about attachment disorder - An attachment disorder is a mental and emotional condition occurring in the first two years of life that causes a child not to attach, to bond, or to trust his primary caretaker.
  • FAQ about child abuse - Frequently asked questions about child abuse from The National Exchange Club Foundation
  • FAQ about child bullying, school bullying and bullycide - Frequently asked questions about bullying and bullycide from bullyonline.org
  • FAQ about suicide - Attempts at suicide, and suicidal thoughts or feelings are usually a symptom indicating that a person isn't coping, often as a result of some event orseries of events that they personally find overwhelmingly traumatic or distressing.
  • FAQ about the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health - President George W. Bush established the Commission by presidential Executive Order 13263 on April 29, 2002.  This President's Commission was the first comprehensive study of the nation's public and private mental health service delivery systems in nearly 25 years.
  • FAQ about anxiety and teens - Anxiety disorder is a real emotional disturbance; it's not just simply worrying, and it can be treated to help a person have a healthy and full life. From time to time, everyone worries about his or her health, family, money, and school. However, when a person has anxiety, they worry all the time, even when nothing is wrong. A person with anxiety always expects the worst will happen, can't relax, and feels tense most of the time.
  • FAQ about mental illness in persons with mental retardation - Mental health is a goal for all people, including those with mental retardation, not just those having difficulties. Mental health is an essential ingredient in the quality of life. The two main aspects of mental health are emotional well-being and rewarding social and interpersonal relationships.

To top

History of the Field

  • History of mental health care: What is striking in looking at the history of mental health care is that at periods through the centuries, indeed through the millennia, there has been an accepted way of dealing with people with mental health problems, conventional for the time, that, however well-intentioned, has more often than not been inhumane, punitive, and largely unsuccessful, while alongside the orthodox practitioners there have been others with more enlightened approaches, attempting to do things differently.
  • History of modern mental health policy: An excellent history of mental health policy in the United States in the first half of the 20th century.
  • History of Occupational Therapy in mental health: The history of Occupational Therapy(OT) had it's origin in the 1700's during Europe's "Age of Enlightenment". At this time, radical new ideas were emerging for the infirm and mentally ill.

To top

Medical Issues/Medications

  • Medications chart - This chart lists the common medications used with children and adolescence with emotional issues. It provides the brand names, generic names and approved ages for the medications.
  • Promoting Appropriate Use Of Psychotropic Medications For Children And Adolescents - Since all children's treatment and services should be guided by CASSP Principles, this should include the use of psychotropic medication for children and adolescents, when clinically indicated. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this in not always the case.
  • Children and psychotrophic drugs - Traditionally, mental health treatment for children relied upon behavioral or talk therapy, often coupled with an attitude of "waiting until they grow out of it." However, treatment options have changed dramatically since the 1970s. For today's children suffering from mental or behavioral disorders, psychotropic medications can work miracles.
  • Children and medications - One in ten of America's children has an emotional disturbance such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression or anxiety, that can cause unhappiness for the child and problems at home, at play, and at school. Many of these children will be taken by their parents to their family physician or pediatrician, or, in many cases, a specialist in child mental health. The child will be carefully evaluated and may begin some type of therapy.
  • Psychopharmacologic Medication: What Teachers Need to Know - Forness & Kavale (1988) and (Forness, Swanson, Cantwell, Guthrie, & Sena (1992) have also noted a decrease in classroom performance among children treated with psychostimulants for ADHD and disruptive classroom behavior. They have questioned whether the resultant decrease in behavior or relative gains in attention are worth the greater loss of learning performance in some children.

To top

Parent Information

  • Handling children’s fears: Some more common childhood fears are of darkness, animals, storms, fire, water, or strangers. Many children have fears that they or their parents will be hurt or killed. Also common is the child's fear of new situations, such as starting a new school.
  • Coping with child’s stress: Stress is the body's physical, chemical, and emotional reaction to an overwhelming, confusing, or exciting situation.
  • Child discipline series-very extensive: The topic of child discipline causes heated arguments on 'Net discussion boards, as the proponents of spanking clash with those who are completely opposed. The fact is, child discipline is an important and emotional issue for us. We worry about our child's misbehavior and how we should handle it.
  • Parenting How To’s: Simple strategies for better family communication and child discipline.
  • Parent’s index to childhood and emotional disabilities: excellent overview of the many common emotional disorders found in childhood and adolescence.

To top


  • The Prevalence of Mental Health and Addictive Disorders - Few families in the United States are untouched by mental illness. According to current estimates, at least one in five people has a diagnosable mental disorder during the course of a year. This includes adults as well as children. The prevalence of mental health disorders is defined as the number of people with a disorder that are present in the general population.

To top


  • Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia - A fact sheet that describes the symptoms, treatments, and causes of schizophrenia in children.
  • Overview of Schizophrenia - A detailed summary  that describes symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping.

To top

Transition Services

  • AASEP's comprehensive guide to transition services

To top