What happens if difficult child is classified as ED?


New Member
After difficult child had his meltdown at school this morning, the school guidance counselor suggested that an FBA was in order. I have already requested a full evaluation but originally they didn't think that difficult child needed an FBA.

So what if difficult child is classified as Emotionally Disturbed (or is it Disabled)? What would that mean? Would he be put in Special Education classes or taken out for additional behavioral help? difficult child is very bright, would being labeled ED affect his education? IOW, would they continue to teach him at grade level?

I know I shouldn't worry about the label, but ED just sounds so hopeless.

Gee, I could've sworn today was a Monday! :rolleyes:


There are 13 categories in which a child can qualifty for Special Education. ED is just one. In one respect it doesn't really matter what the "label" is -- what matters is what the child needs.

Your child is entitled to be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Most children qualifying for special education remain mainstreamed. Having an IEP doesn't necessarily mean a self-contained classroom is required.

An FBA should help with designing the IEP.

There are "gifted" children that have IEPs -- being gifted doesn't mean a child doesn't, for instance, also have a specific learning disability.

The child's IEP goals should be geared to keep him/her at grade level if the child is capable of doing the work.

It should be geared to reducing anxiety and teaching coping skills. It might also include specific counseling times for visits to the school counselor.

Just remember that IEP = Individual Education Plan. If a child needs mainstream with a pull-out class, that's what they need. If they need a self-contained classroom that's what s/he needs. If it a therapeutic day school or Residential Treatment Center (RTC), that's how the IEP should be designed.


New Member
Hi there,

I know how scary it feels to get a child "labeled" ED even if we know intellectually how advantageous it will be to receive the services provided from the school system with this classification.
Hopefully you don't have to fight them and sue to get these services for ED.

My daughter received the classification "ED" when she was 15. She is not learning disabled, she's really smart and does very well in school once put into the appropriate environment for her Emotional issues. The classification has allowed her to receive funding for a private school. She attends a therapeutic boarding school.

In my school system they do not have local classes for ED classification that can provide the services needed. Or maybe they just don't want to bother with dealing with these kids, or fighting all the law suits so they pay for private day school, wilderness programs or private therapeutic boarding school placements.

This is not the case else where in the USA. I'm in New York and as you'll read on this board Most CSE are not liberal and easy going with awarding funding for ED classification students.

My daughter applied to colleges and interviewed and does not include information that she had an IEP or had a ED classification.
Her TBS told her it's up to her what she wants to reveal during interviews or on her essay.

The IEP records do not follow them to college.
Grades are the only thing sent to colleges without a caveat they had diffculties.



New Member
Alisha, Mose - thanks for your responses. I know that an FBA is the right way to go with my son. And maybe he is ED, I know he is certainly a handful for me!

I just want him to do well and be happy. I just don't seem to be able to find what will help him get there! :confused:


New Member
well we could only dream of that label for our difficult child when she soooo desperately needed it. Remember she had been recently evaled by school, the counsellor noted depression all over the place,difficult child had "given up" and hated them there??? 10 days later she tried to harm herself because of the school situation there?? And of course they would not change her category to ED. Said since only 2 out of 3 observers noted the depression she didn't qualify!!!! Of course this was after I had asked them to help us with therapeutic day treatment program as next step after the hospitalization!!!! And did she ever tell me that all I needed was one more documentation, say like from the treating psychiatrist at the acute hospital....I think NOT!
Then after three months of residential paid for by our wonderful mental health carrier, did they accept a letter from that treating psychiatrist saying difficult child definitely did NOT need to return to this same environment? NO again. It still hurts me in my heart how they did her and us. SOOOOO I say go for it now, you might need it later. BLUE :mad:


New Member
I just thought I had to respond to this post. There are far more detrimental "labels" that can be put on a child than ED. When my daughter was in kindergarten I went in and told the principal my difficult child had been diagnosed ODD never realizing that our SD doesn't believe ODD is a behavior disorder...rather it is bad parenting or a bad kid or both. So when this beautiful child of mine was only five years old I signed for her full initial evaluation and while they were doing this evaluation I allowed them to force me to put her in a self-contained behavior classroom. For her entire kindergarten school year (I signed for her initial evaluation within 3 weeks of school beginning) this SD continued to delay her classification saying they did not have enough information to classify her SpEd. Mind you they had placed her illegally in a self-contained classroom saying her behaviors were too extreme to be in regular classes (although they had never done a FBA or BIP...said she didn't get those until she was classified SpEd) but they didn't have enough info to classify her and give her an IEP. As a result my difficult child was "labeled" a bad kid at the early age of 5 based on the SD's stereotype of what ODD is. At the due process hearing the director of special education had the audacity to say that she delayed the classification of ED because she didn't want to put such a detrimental label on a child so young...in fact the "label" she did place on her is worse because it implies there is no reason for her behaviors except just being a bad kid. At least with the ED label she qualifies for help and we are still trying to overcome the "bad kid" label.

Just my $ .02 worth.



New Member

How did it work out for your child? Did she ever get the ED
classification and appropriate classroom environment, and therapeutic help?

I agree that the Bad kid or incorrigible label is a million times worse. The IDEA laws protect a classified child, and they do not get ignored or shuffled around just to be contained.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts

The label EBD should not be frightening. It should be a guarantee that your difficult child will get the appropriate help in the least restrictive setting for him. (With some sd's this is a stretch.)

As Alisha said an IEP is just that ...individualized to his specific needs.

Good luck


New Member

Yes my daughter did finally get the ED label in first grade, but they still thought that the ODD meant she just hadn't been made to mind..as I said, this SD doesn't think it is a behavior disorder but rather just that the child needs to learn who is in control. So although we did get the ED label and she was placed in a regular classroom, they still didn't work with her according to what she needed. They had one of thier secondary coordinators of SpEd (works with teenagers) who felt she knew exactly what my daughter needed and developed a BIP that was going to "show" my child who was boss. Of course difficult child knows who the boss is, just doesn't care. Anyway the events of her first grade year...which included difficult child spending many hours in a time-out room by herself (she is claustrophobic) usually for not following adult directions, and then a regression of behaviors while in time out that caused the school to report me to CYFD for suspected sexual abuse, to them asking for another evaluation and handpicking the PhD who then diagnosis bipolar and then placing her on homebound until she could be "stabalized on medication"...is what caused us to file due process. The HO determined that they needed to contract with a qualified child psychologist to be a part of the IEP team and develop her BIP and a reintegration plan. SD appealed that decision, review officer overturned the original decision, we filed an appeal and are now waiting for the court date to come up. In the meantime the SD changed my daughter's placement to a different school, we are still working with the contracted PhD and things are a little better this school year...her third grade year...but the director of SpEd and many others still just think she is a bad kid and that the problem is with her and of course my parenting skills...the SD has done nothing wrong according to them. Of course the SD's attorney made the comment at the last IEP meeting (in January..her annual)that "yes, but you are asking that she be educated in a regular education classroom..."

Sorry this is so long...but even now three years later the "bad kid" label still prevails in most people's mind over the ED label.



New Member
My difficult child was tortured at his old school by the principal, who kept suspending him and telling us that he needed to be in a school where teachers were trained in restraint methods and where they had a secure facility! We refused the ED classification and insisted on OHI, due to his speech delays.

Finally, the SD forced us to see their shrink. It was the best thing I ever did. He was better than our shrink and told me that my son's main problem was a mismatch between him and his school. He gave him a diagnosis of school based anxiety disorder.

We immediately moved him to a different school in our SD (we own a rental property so we had a valid address and did not need to seek a variance). He was placed in a class with a first year teacher who has an ODD daughter with a substance abuse issue, so she understood our son. However, she was new and had a hard time with the class in general.

The new principal asked if we would consent to an ED classification from the OHI as that would allow an aide to be assigned to my son. We agreed on the condition that nobody disclose to my son that the aide was for him, he was to think she was there for the entire class. Apparently, we could not get an aide with an OHI classification of speech-language (other subcategories such as blindness or deafness would get one, even under OHI, but speech alone would not). In fact, my son was in grade 3 then and had not even had or needed speech therapy since grade 1 and at the beginning of grade 3 jumped up 4 reading levels so he wasn't even language delayed anymore.

In any event, the aide has worked out nicely. She moved with difficult child to grade 4 this year (we told him that last year she worked with a brand new teacher and this year she is working with a man teacher of 30+ years as part of HER training and it was just a coincidence that they are together again!). Don't know what we will do in grade 5 as the aide decided she liked teaching so much, she will be working as a student teacher next year and is guaranteed a spot as a teacher the year after that. This girl worked on Wall Street and decided after 9/11 that she did not want to do that anymore, that she wanted her life to have meaning. She has helped my son so much.

So, although husband and I fought against the ED label, it has actually helped our son, at least to this point. We are hopeful that he can be declassified by middle school and will use grade 5 as a transition time to see if he can function. He is very bright and scores gifted in both math and verbal, but has a writing refusal.



New Member
my son is also ed. better to get the supports now. they did not identify my son before since he did so well in school. so we had to finally get him help when he had a mental breakdown and suicide attempts. what is his diagnosis. any medications? if he is BiPolar (BP) go read the bipolar child for help. you will need to address goals and accomadtions for his support. my son is also bright. he however needs a very small therapeutic school so he is going to private which is college prep. you need to get therapy minutes with a liscensed therapist or lsw. you need to get a safe place for him to go to. you need a therapist available at all times for a melt down. you need things like extended homework time, or decreased homework when stressed or all the time if he needs it. what are his needs.


I have to agree with everyone else (more or less).

Learning Disability (LD) is a far more dire diagnosis in my opinion than ED which is treatable with both medications if appropriate and therapy. Learning Disability (LD) can be managed and certainly many Learning Disability (LD) people are successful but if correctly diagnosis'd (not loosely applied to every child who isn't performing in school), it is a life-long diagnosis with no medications and no clearly demonstrated Tx regimen. It's trial and error :(

Schools diagnosis too many kids Learning Disability (LD) because their parents find it more acceptable than ED. The Learning Disability (LD) label harms academic expectations in my opinion but NOTHING is worse than the bad child/crazy parent label which is not serviced under the law and affords no protection from expulsion in adolescence.

I have found it VERY diffiuclt to get services for my bright ED student. So difficult that he is now in private school--without Special Education but with therapy in addition. This is at our expense and our s.d. violates the law daily with ED internalizers but I need to take care of one kid and he needs a small school. I wish I could make services available to all the ED kids in public high schools who are pushed out, drop out, are bullied and left to their own devices. Schools definitely do not want to serve academically able ED kids but this is the best category to demand that the s.d. do so in my opinion.

I wish more parents of young children would look seriously at the advantages of an ED label--although Alsiha is correct--labels shouldn't determine services-- because ED says nothing--zero--about academic potential and Learning Disability (LD), by definition, means that achievement is lagging.

Even when kids with documented LDs have good long-term potential for adult success, the lowered academic expectations of teachers are hard to overcome.