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Are Students with EBD Given an IEP Plan?

by Lori Garrett-Hatfield

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders, or EBD, may have difficulty navigating classroom environments, maintaining relationships with teachers and/or following school schedules. Some students with EBD are placed in special education, but some may not need special services to succeed in a regular classroom. Most students with EBD can be successful when educators find the right blend of services, modifications and accommodations for them.

Emotional and Behavior Disorders

The Georgia Department of Education defines a student with EBD as: lacking ability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and/or teachers; suffering from learning difficulties that can't be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors; consistently or chronically behaving in inappropriate ways; displaying a pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; and/or tending to develop physical symptoms when facing personal or school problems. A student with EBD exhibits these behaviors to the point that it interferes with her schooling and/or daily life. Some examples of students who might fall into this category are students who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, psychosis or oppositional-defiant disorder.

Special Education Services

Not all EBD students require special education services. However, according to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, if the student's emotional or behavioral disorder affects his schoolwork and classroom behavior, even after teachers and staff have put interventions in place for the student, it is possible the student may need special services. However, a special education teacher will determine whether a student is eligible for special services, and it is possible the student will be tested by a school psychologist or other professional.

Individualized Education Plan

According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, an individualized education plan, or IEP, must be written for any student who needs special education services. Each IEP will have goals for the student that are measurable, such as: "John will keep his hands and feet to himself in the hallway 5 out of 10 times during one hour." The IEP will have instructions for how the student is to be taught -- whether he will receive instruction in the regular classroom, in a small group, by himself, with a special education teacher or with a paraprofessional in the classroom. A student's IEP also may include counseling services.

Other Services

Not all EBD students require special education services. Some students may be able to get accommodations and modifications in the classroom under a 504 plan. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, a child who meets the criteria of a disability under special education guidelines, but only needs accommodations or modifications during testing time, for example, may instead receive a 504 plan. To have a 504 plan, parents, teachers and staff meet and discuss what accommodations and modifications the child needs during the school year. Unlike an IEP, which must be renewed every three years, a 504 plan must be reviewed each year.

About the Author

Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.

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