Emotional disability is a condition exhibiting one (1) or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:
- an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
- an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
- a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
Emotional disability includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disability as defined in this section. The term “emotional disturbance” is sometimes used as a substitute for the term “emotional disability” and shall be considered an equivalent term for purposes of these regulations.
The current eligibility criteria for Emotional Disability under state law is found in Title 14 Education Delaware Administrative Code Section 925. If a student is found to have a disability, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must also determine the need for special education and related services (6.0 Determination of Eligibility).
The IEP team shall consider documentation of the manifestation of the clusters or patterns of behavior associated with emotional disability and documentation from multiple assessment procedures. Such procedures shall include, but not be limited to, an evaluation by either a licensed or certified school psychologist, or a licensed psychiatrist, classroom observations by teacher(s) and at least one other member of the IEP team, a review of records, standardized rating scales, and child interviews.
Age of Eligibility: The age of eligibility for children identified under this definition shall be from the 4th birthday until the receipt of a regular high school diploma or the end of the school year in which the student attains the age of twenty-one (21), whichever occurs first.
* Retrieved from Title 14 Education Delaware Administrative Code.
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Program Brochure
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Partnership: Delaware BEST for Young Children and Their Families Brochure
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
The Technical Assistance Center for Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) for Young Children
Office of Early Learning
Delaware Department of Education
Dover, DE 19901