The federal definition of emotional disturbance (ED) provides limited guidance to educational professionals charged with making Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act eligibility determinations. Despite calls to revise the definition, the ED category remains largely unchanged nearly four decades after being codified into federal law. To navigate the vague, ambiguous, and outdated eligibility criteria, school psychologists must adhere to comprehensive assessment strategies whenever an ED placement is considered. In this study, we examined the ED assessment practices of 214 school psychologists. The results indicated that respondents all too frequently relied on only select sources of data (e.g., behavior rating scales), rather than taking a multimethod, multisource approach, when evaluating children referred for emotional and behavioral concerns. Implications for both the practice and preparation of school psychologists are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ryan_allen/1/