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Listen to our podcast about behaviorally challenged students here

by: Lynette Walters

Dealing with emotionally disturbed students is no easy task.  No, let me place the emphasis on the words ‘NO TWO’ emotionally disturbed students are alike.They are simultaneously precious and fragile by nature.  Does expertise play a big part in handling? Or is instinct a better approach?

Let’s look at both to ensure we cover all angles and achieve the desired results: meeting the student where they are, providing for their needs, and making them feel secure.  In my opinion,there are  five essential approaches have proven to be the most effective when dealing with students who are emotionally disturbed:

1) Be sensitive – Think of your job as being to provide a security blanket for the student. I’m not saying for you to enable them, or give them a crutch, but to instead model your sensitivity to their needs.

2) Be informed – Study and/or observe the student, if you will. Read the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Read the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) where applicable, and research the disability to further increase understanding.

3) Be proactive – Knowing triggers that may offset an episode is essential.  Always think PREVENTION.

4) Be a team player – Consult and collaborate with parents, students, other teachers, coaches, etc. to ensure that everyone is on the same page.  Working together always enhances a students’ chance of educational survival and success.

5) Be an advocate – Advocate for the child’s ability to cope with the emotional disorder in varied settings. Encourage them to be active, remind them that they are in control of their behavior, and encourage others to in be inclusive.

Understandably, the a fore-mentioned methods may seem a little overwhelming and time-consuming to both new and veteran teachers. Just remember that practice makes perfect when dealing with students who are emotionally disturbed. While trial and error is inevitable at best, making a viable effort never fails.  Most importantly, the student needs to know they have someone in their corner actively seeking ways to assist in their ‘special’ educational journey. Will that be you?

Have you ever dealt with students who are emotionally disturbed? Share some strategies you used with them?

Listen to our podcast about students who are behaviorally challenged.

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