As you a prospective expert in Emotional and Behaviour Disorders (EBD’s), prepare a training program to raise awareness to primary school teacher on EBD

Emotional disorders:- Is a mental disorder in which one’s emotions are disturbed to a great extent. This disorder is not due to any abnormalities in the brain development or function. It is a psychological condition in which thoughts and emotions are not in the proper state. Though the causes of emotional disorder are not very specific, there is a correlation between the disorder with certain causal factors like exposure to parental drugs, experiences of physical abuse poverty, being neglected, parental stress, changing rules and expectations. The causes can be broadly categorized into biological, family, school or living environment. Among of emotional disorders includes, especially children are conduct disorders, anxiety disorders, affective disorders, personality disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, schizophrenia, oppositional defiant disorder, pervasive development disorder and so on.

Behavioural disorders:- Refers to a category of mental disorder that are characterized by persistent or repetitive behaviours that are uncommon among children of the same age, inappropriate and disrupt others and activities around the children or refers to behaviour which is maladaptive, deviant and more likely to make people feel distress or is a behaviour which is deviated from normal and they are not social cultural accepted. Example, among of behaviour disorder includes, attention deflect hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), dissociative disorders, disruptive behavioural disorders and so on.

Emotional and behavioral disorders:- according to counselor for exception children in 1991, emotional and behavioural disorders. Refers to emotional and behaviour responses which are so different from appropriate age, culture, norms and have effect on social and educational performance. Those emotion and behavioural responses deviate from chronic, persistence and effect.

According to Individual with Disability Education Act (IDEA), emotional and behavioural disorder or emotional disturbance, refer to the condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a market degree that adversely affect a child’s education performance.

  1. An inability to build and maintain interpersonal relationship
  2. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors
  3. Inappropriate types of behaviour or feeling under normal circumstances.
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
  5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fear associated with personal or school problem.
  6. Poor academic achievement which is not attributed to other disabilities.


Historical of emotional and behavioural disorders is categorized into three (3) phrases:-

    People with abnormal behaviour were considered as the source of different problems in the society, they were stereotyped by other people in the society, harshly treated, taken to witchdoctors to solve the problem they have. Example people with lames be deceptive such as deafness blindness and other physical and mental disabilities.

    People with emotional and behavioural disorder according to religious considered as those who show inappropriate behaviour under normal circumstance those with evils spirit or sin was the people with emotional and behavioural disorders. They were treated by prayers.

  3. SCIENTIFIC PHASE (19thC – to date)
    This phase involved the use of scientific research to people with emotional and behavioural disorder which showed that emotional and behavioural disorder is caused by both biological factors like abnormal structure of the brain, genetic factors, hippocampus and environmental factors, where they treated people with emotional and behavioural disorder by using psychological principles, theories and medication.


  1. Hyperactivity (short attention span, impulsiveness)
  2. Aggression or self-injurious behaviour (acting out, fighting).
  3. Withdraw (not interacting socially with others, excessive fears or anxiety)
  4. Immaturity (in appropriate crying temper tantrums, poor coping skills)
  5. Learning difficulties (academically performing below grade level)


The children with emotional and behavioural disorder are classified according to different criteria.

  1. Level of severity
    Children with emotion and behaviour disorder according to level of seventy include;

  1. Mild; refers to those children has not severe affected, they are gentle in nature or behaviour. They could be subjected to normal intervention including in class to regularly teacher.

  2. Moderate; refers to that child which is more in middle (therefore a bit stronger) than mild it’s more than mild. They are not included to regularly or others.

  3. Severe; refers to those children which is more affected by emotion and behaviour disorder, and should be educated in special education and be subjected by comprehensive interventions.

  4. Profound; refers to those children which is deeply affected by emotional and behavioural disorder and need much more intensive intervention.

  1. Behaviour expression
    According to behavioural expression children with emotional and behaviour disorder are categorized into two, which are:-

  1. Internalizing behaviour; is one of the types of emotional and behavioural disorder in which the children keep their problem to themselves. Example; are depression, eating disorder, anxiety and likely to show characteristics like very tittle interaction seldom plays with others children, extremely fearful without reason, complains of being sick and bouts of depression.

  2. Externalizing behaviour; is also types of emotional and behavioural disorders in which a child tend to expose their action external. It is directed toward the external environment, example physical aggression disobeying rules, cheating, stealing and destruction of property, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, conduct disorder, socialize disorder.

  1. Clinical derived classification system
    Was the major system used by medical and psychological person, is the American Psychiatric association (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV), it was developed and tested by groups and committee of psychiatric, psychological and health care professionals. DSM-IV identifies ten major groups disorders among of these include; pervasive developmental disorder, attention deficit and disruptive disorder feeding and eating disorder.

  2. Statistical derived classification system
    Are the system/method used to collect date about emotional and behavioural disorder which are found most common to children by psychological testing, parental interviews, questionnaire, collecting data and behavioural rating scales. According to statistical derived classification system categorize children with emotional and behavioral disorder into four which are; conduct disorder, anxiety, immaturity, socialization.


There are two causes of emotional and behavioural disorder which are:-

  1. Biological Causes:- Biologically emotional and behavioural disorders is a result of three causes which are; (i) structure (ii) biochemical (iii) Genetics

  1. Structure:-Emotional and behavioural disorders occur due to abnormalities structure of brain. Example people with schizophreniahave law/small ventricles; people with obsessive compulsive disorder (DCD) have low frontal lobe.
  2. Biochemical:- Emotional and behavioural disorder occurs due to chemical imbalance of transmitters called neurotransmitters and hormones imbalance. Example people with schizophrenia have low dopamine; people with depression have serotonin, personal identity problem.

  3. Genetics:- Emotional and behavioural disorders can be inherited from one generation to another. Example through genes which passes from parents to children such schizophrenia, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia have found to have genetic causes, attention deflect disorder (ADD) is also caused by genes.

  1. Environmental Causes:-Emotional and behavioural disorder can occurs due to environment/experience that an individual passed through in his/her life. Example if child have parented by parents who are always fighting each other a child may develop aggressive behaviour, if a children rejected by parents can develop anxiety, depression and phobia.

    Kind of learning individual receives from parents and other significance figures. Example people can develop fear because of being associate with bad things or object/situation. Example people could not use fish because it can associate with snakes.In experience, when people backed by dog at early year can develop to fear dog at any areas.


There are four theoretical/etiology/causes that explain emotional and behavioural disorder

  1. Biological approaches
  2. Psychological approaches
  3. Social-cultural approaches
  4. Bio-psychosocial approaches.

  1. Biological Approach:- Emotional behavioural disorder are caused by both organic and genetic factors. It identified/diagnosed of threated as physical disorders. Also there are three views of biological approach which are; (i) Structure views (ii) Biochemical view and (iii) Genetics views.
  2. Psychological Approach:- Is an approach of emotional and behavioural disorder which explain through four theories which are; (a) Psychodynamic theories (b) Behavioural theories (c) Cognitive theories and (d) Humanist theories.

  1. Psychodynamic Theories:-According to psychodynamic theories emotional and behavioural disorders id cantered in unconscious mind/structure of personality which are ID, super ego and Ego. Emotional and behaviour disorder occurs when Ego fail control, the balance between the ID  and super Ego, whereby ID operates under pleasure principle of morality and Ego, operates under principle of reality. Abnormal behaviour is highly influenced by our unconscious by mind.

  2. Behavioural Theories:- It focus much on immediately behaviour shown by an individual at a particular time. Abnormal behaviour is through learning which can be through association and consequences.

  3. Cognitive Theories:- This theories believes that emotional and behavioural disorder are result of our own irrational, thoughts, believes and our own perception and if you want to help people with emotional and behavioural disorder using cognitive theories you should change him/her believes, thoughts and perception.

  4. Humanistic Theories:- Emotional and behavioural disorder occurs when an individual to attain his/her needs for a long period of time. Example, when you fail to reach at your self-actualization, when your goal being confronted by someone, emotional and behavioural disorder occurs.

  1. Social-cultural Approach:- Emotional and behavioural disorder influenced by environmental experience and social-cultural factors example relationship of married, ethnic group, culture, gender. Thus why is very difficult to define emotional and behavioural disorder because some behaviour is likely to be shown by the culture and not to other culture.

  2. Bio-psychosocial Approach:- This approaches agree that emotional and behavioural disorder are not caused by one factors, therefore our behaviour is caused by interruptive factors called interactionism, which is caused by interaction of psychological, biological and social factors. Example depression.


It’s very complex/difficult tasks to identify children/people with emotional and behavioural disorders, why it’s difficult to identify, assess and measure.

  1. Different of Culture:- What is acceptable in one culture is not acceptable in other culture
  2. Comorbidity:- Refers to situation where more than one abnormal behaviour occurs to an individual at one time. Example anxiety, depression, general anxiety disorder.
  3. Conjunction with other disabilities:- Some emotional and behaviour disorder occur in conjunction with other disabilities example attention deficit/hyperactive disorder while children has learning disabilities.
  4. Some theories contradict other theories example; behaviours contradict other the same to cognitive, psychodynamic and humanistic. They contradict each other to explain the cause of emotional and behavioural disorders.


  1. Systematical observation
  2. The use of psychological test e.g. rating scales
  3. The use of diagnosed questionnaires
  4. Diagnostic interviews
  5. Cognitive testing
  6. Achievement test
  7. Screening test, functional behavioural processing


According to William Heward in his book of exception to children 2013, he found that, there different dimension that can be used by teacher, psychiatry to measure children with emotional and behavioural disorder among children.

  1. Frequency; focus on how many times a child engage in certain behaviour.
  2. Duration; focus on time a child spend in showing a certain behaviour, short or long time example tantrum should be 5 to 10 minutes for one hour is normally in child.
  3. Topography; focus on form of behaviour expressed by child, we look physical shape of a behaviour shown by children example if you command student to sit down but one stand up.
  4. Magnitude; focus on intensity of behaviour shown by a child example focus on softness and hardness of behaviour shown by children.
  5. Stimulus control; if child cannot discriminate when and where to show certain behaviour cannot control his stimulus, we can consider as abnormal behaviour.


Therapy means treatment which it can either be scientific or an art, most of biological therapy are scientific in nature and psychological therapy are artistic in nature. Psychological therapy involves artist simply because there are different approaches, counseling, experiences beliefs psychologist use to help people with emotional and behavioural disorder.

  1. Biological Therapy:- Refers to treatment of emotional and behaviour disorders which involves reducing or eliminating the symptoms of psychological disorders by changing the way an individual body function. Biological therapy include;

Drug Therapy:- Was the therapy which used to control emotional and behaviour disorder by using medicine or drugs example of Anti-psychotic drug - used to control ADHD, Schizophrenia. Anti-depressant – used to treat people with depression. Ant-anxiety – used to treat people with anxiety and phobia and Lithium – used to treat people with Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD). Other biological therapy includes;

Psychosurgery:- Introduced by EGAS MONIZ in 1930 by conducting as well known procedure called pre-frontal lobotomy.

Pre frontal lobotomy:- Is the neurosurgical procedure and form of psychosurgery, it consist of writing/injection scraping away of the connection to and from the pre-frontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain.

Frontal lobes:- Are involved in thought procedures, motor function, problem solving spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgment, impulsive control and sexual behaviour.

  1. Cingulatomy:-Is neurosurgical procedure that is used to treat a variety of debiting diseases including chronic, pain which developed in 1960’s.

Electro-convulsive Therapy:- Formally known as electro shock therapy and often referred to as shock treatment. Electroconvulsive therapy is a psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in patient to provide relief from mental disorders.

Psychological Therapy:- refers to the process of treating emotional and behavioural disorder by using principles, theories particular when based on regular person, to help a person challenges and overcome problem in desired ways.

Psychotherapy use the following strategies/procedures (i) Procedures (ii) Talking (iii) Interpretation (iv) Analysis (v) Listening (iv) Interaction

Four main Psychotherapy

  1. Psychoanalysis therapy
  2. Behavioural therapy
  3. Cognitive therapy
  4. Humanistic therapy

  1. Psychoanalysis/Psychodynamic Therapy:- focuses on unconscious thought, intensive interpretation and early childhood experience which believes that emotional and behaviour disorder is caused by our unconscious/Early childhood experience.
    Psychodynamic use the following therapeutic techniques to get know what is in an individual mind; (i) Free association (ii) Dream analysis (iii) Analysis of Resistance

Free Association:- Occurs when a client given a chances to speak whatever comes in his/her mind is where we can recognize what is unconsciousness is in child. And role of therapy is just to interpret what was spoken.

Dream Analysis:- Therapist have to encourage client to speak what has dreaming

  • Manifest content:- Refers to dream content which an individual is aware what he/she dreamed therefore is able to remember
  • Latent content:-Refers to the dream which an individual is un-able to remember what he/she dreamed, is not aware off.

Analysis of Resistance:- Refers to different defensive strategies that used by client to prevent therapist from under funding what is in client unconscious mind/thought. Client can show the following behaviour; (i) coming late (ii) sticking on one thing (iii) not sharing decision at all.

  1. Behavioural Therapy:- Behaviourist believes that Abnormal behaviour psychological disorder and emotional behavioural disorder are learned when an individual is interacting with other people, so they use behavioural theory of learning to help. Client with EBD through unlearned of what they have learnt. These ways/principle include the following:- (i) Systematic desensitization (ii) Aversive Conditioning (iii) Behavioural modification

Systematic Desensitization:- Used to treat people with anxiety, therapist to ask question the client things fear more and then therapist arrange chronological stating with most fear to lows.

After arranging, teach relaxation to client present the most fear to client chronological.

Aversive Condition:- Involves repeating, repairing of an desired behaviour, abnormal behaviour with aversive condition. Therefore is to associate un-desirable behaviour to aversive condition/stimulus. e.g. to drunker – keep aversive things in drinks in order to make him hate.

Behavioral Modification:- Involves use of reward, reinforcement and punishment, other techniques in behaviour are; flooding, which take place as an individual in a closed room is flooded with things which fears.

  1. Cognitive therapy:- Believes that our abnormal behaviour is results of our own thought, believes, perception the world around him/hers.

    Cognitive restructuring, refers to the process of changing an individual the way perceives, him selves, believes and thinks, which can use questions. Types of cognitive therapy;

  1. Rational Emotion Therapy:- It was developed by Albert Ellis in (1962), believes that our psychological disorders such as depression are results of our believes.
  2. Cognitive Therapy:- It was developed by Aaron Beck in (1976) which focused on thoughts, where he said psychological disorders, abnormal behaviour and EBD’s are results of our own illogical thoughts.
  3. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy:- Focus to changes on individual an thoughts, believes and perception while behavioural therapy focuses to changes individual on behaviour.

  1. Humanistic Therapy:- Believes that our psychological disorder EBD’s is a results of in ability to find out meaning in life which are more likely to develop lineless not coordinated to others, people develop EBD because of their own choice example engagement of an individual in drug. Client is require respect to client and required enforce the client to answer (freedom to client).

  2. Family Therapy:- Is the types of psychological counseling (psychopathy) that can help family members to improve communication and resolve conflicts. It was provided by psychologist clinical social worker or licensed therapist.


Refers to where children with EBD should be educated, psychologist and psychiatry has been debating as where children with EBD should be educated, recent research shows that children with emotional and behavioural disorder is highly determined by BEHAVIOURAL SEVERITY.


Refers to which each child have mild EBD can be educated with other normal people as can be included to children with normal.

            Mild; should be included to regular class

            Severe behaviour; should be placed in special education class to be toughed self-management skills any social skills.


  1. Personal Characteristics/Attributes:- Teacher of children with EBD should be tolerant to them such be able to repeat telling to sear down.
  2. Patient:- The teachers should be patient that he/she do not expect, positive change/outcomes within one day/week since the positive outcomes occurs after a certain week.
  3. Acceptance:- Teacher should accept children the way they are without the consideration of their appearance, but suppose to go with the same emotion (happy, toy, warm).

Therefore, a person seemed to have EBD where he/she show the behaviour that is inappropriate which persist for long period of time and to marked degree. As the teacher when he/she identify such behaviour shown by student is ought to take intervention immediately by treating using psychological principles especially in teaching practices any biological therapy (medication) especially in hospitals.


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Heward, W.L. (2009). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education. Pearson: Upper Raddle River, NJ.

Kauffman, J.M. (2005). Characteristics of Emotional and Behavioural Disorders of Children and Youth (8thEd). Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Rutherfold, B.R., Quinn, M.M., &Mathur, S.R. (Eds). (2004). Handbook of Research in Emotional and Behaviour Disorders. New York: The Guilford Press.

Smith, S.E (1994). Parent-Initiated Contracts: An Intervention for School Related Behaviours. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling 28,182.