are many terms used to describe emotional, behavioral or mental
disorders. Currently, children diagnosed with such disorders are
categorized as having a serious emotional disturbance, which can
be characterized by: an inability to learn; an inability to build
or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships; inappropriate
types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; general
pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or a tendency to develop
physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
causes of emotional disturbance have not been adequately determined.
Although various factors such as heredity, brain disorder, diet,
stress, and family functioning have been suggested as possible causes,
research has not shown any of these factors to be the direct cause
of behavior problems. Some of the characteristics and behaviors
seen in children who have emotional disturbances include: Hyperactivity;
Aggression/self-injurious behavior; Withdrawal; Immaturity; and
with the most serious emotional disturbances may exhibit distorted
thinking, excessive anxiety, bizarre motor acts, and mood swings
and are sometimes identified as children who have a severe psychosis
children who do not have emotional disturbances may display some
of these same behaviors at various times during their development.
However, when children have serious emotional disturbances, these
behaviors continue over long periods of time. Their behavior thus
signals that they are not coping with their environment or peers.
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