19. Special Education Overidentification 2011: Emotional Disturbance

The category emotional disturbance requires a significant degree of clinical judgment and therefore misidentification is invited.  The child’s educational performance must be affected for special education placement. HHence a gifted child who acts out may be incorrectly placed in special education.

Boys are at risk for false placement.  Both their learning styles and emotional styles are different from females.  Most teachers are women who dislike disruptions of instruction.

Clinical judgment is highly qualitative, based on descriptions, reports and qualitative scales. Learning and relationships can be impaired causing parents and teachers stress.  Symptoms vary widely from internal feelings and moods to physical symptoms to outward patterns of misbehavior.

Schools lack resources for behavior training and counseling so special education placement is a place to send behavioral cases.


Non-disabled minority children are said to occupy places in special education in Emotional Disturbance category.  Non-disabled Black pupils too often meet this fate.  Placing non-disabled black children in special education is dangerous for them.

Edward Fergus, writing for Essential Educator (http://essential educator.org/), “Distinguishing Difference from Disability: The Common Causes of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education,” reports:

Since Lloyd Dunn’s report (1968) on the overrepresentation of Black and Latino students in special education countless federal, state and district reports, as well as research studies exist that document the various facets of educational practice impacting these rates. Most recently the over-representation picture is troubling: in 2008, the school enrollment of Blacks (15.5%) differed greatly from their representation in special education (20.4%) and among students with an Emotional Disturbance classification (29.1%); while enrollment of Whites (55.5%) was mirrored in special education (55.9%) and among students with an ED classification (56.3%).”





Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: