Behavioral Disorder

Theory, Research, and Practice

Authored by: Ming-tak Hue

Handbook of Educational Psychology and Students with Special Needs

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138295421
eBook ISBN: 9781315100654
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines behavioral disorder (BD) research in the fields of education, health, social sciences, and psychology. The multiplicity of theories, terminologies, and possible causalities are examined to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding and to highlight the factors that may affect the teaching and learning processes of students with BD and where educational psychology theories and research may inform understanding of BD. Emotional disorder and BD are thought to be interrelated and are often used interchangeably or known collectively as emotional and behavioral disorder (EBD). While appreciating the multiple dimensions of BD, many elucidate the notion of EBD as observable internalizing and externalizing behaviors that directly affect children’s achievements. Related educational research has leveraged ecological or systems theory, depicting the causes of students’ behavior as related to home, family, community, school, and society as a whole. The adoption and adaption of varied techniques and strategies to identify and assess challenging behaviors can result in coordinated efforts that inevitably serve to improve the effectiveness of interventions. Based on the available body of knowledge, this chapter proposes both research- and practice-related recommendations. Accordingly, stakeholders may need to undertake coordinated efforts and formulate culture- and language-sensitive identification and assessment tools that use varied forms of evidence to ensure effective and individualized interventions. This should better equip practitioners with the knowledge and skills required to address the unique learning needs of students with EBD and to develop programs that optimally impact the quality of these students’ education. Qualitative investigations with critical stakeholders across racial, ethnic, and age groups and cultures may help practitioners employ appropriate interventions for students with EBD.

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