Guidelines for Identifying and Educating Students with Emotional Disability

Note from the Commissioner

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE) provides guidance to school districts, parents, school personnel and other professionals. Such guidance is related to disability determinations and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and state statute to determine eligibility for special education and related services.

The revised Guidelines for Identifying and Educating Students with Emotional Disability (2012) are a revision of the Guidelines for Identifying and Educating Students with Serious Emotional Disability published by the CSDE in 1997. The guidelines are intended to provide guidance to school teams, parents or guardians, surrogate parents and mental health professionals, to make appropriate decisions regarding eligibility and specialized services for students with emotional disability (ED) as defined in the IDEA 2004. The principles and practices provided in this document also assist school teams in addressing the needs of children experiencing significant behavioral and emotional difficulties and/or children suspected of having an emotional disability.

The identified goals of the 2012 revised guideline document include the provision of recommended practices and procedures concerning assessment, determination of eligibility; and non-biased, culturally relevant and nondiscriminatory identification processes. Additionally, the document provides examples of scientific research-based interventions (SRBI) aimed at improving academic outcomes for students experiencing ED. References to current legislation and regulations affecting students identified as eligible for special education due to an emotional disability, as well as current best practices in meeting the needs of students with ED, are also provided.

Stefan Pryor
Commissioner of Education