Teen Academic Issues

Emotional Disturbance

The Federal Special Education Law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines Emotional Disturbance as a condition exhibiting one 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:
(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems

The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states: Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Common Examples of Emotional Disturbances

  • Anxiety Disorders – characterized by irrational fear
  • Bipolar Disorder – dramatic mood swings
  • Conduct Disorders – difficulty following rules; inappropriate social behavior
  • Eating Disorders – extreme eating behavior
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – characterized as recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors
  • Psychotic Disorders – abnormal thinking and perception




Treatment for adolescents with Emotional Disturbances involves family, school and community services working together to be a support to the individual. In the school setting, the Special Education Department is responsible for helping students with Emotional Disturbances. In order to receive services from the Special Education Department, a meeting is held and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is created for the student. The IEP describes strengths and weaknesses of a student, special education services that are needed, goals and measureable objectives and classroom accommodations that are needed for the student to be successful. The IEP is developed by the parents and school personnel, such as teachers, special education director, school psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, school counselor, etc.

Triumph Youth Services works with young men diagnosed with mild to moderate Emotional Disturbances. Our educational staff will work with your son’s current IEP. Triumph Youth Services has a Special Education certified teacher on staff and will help facilitate and monitor progress and collaborate with your school district regarding your son’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Triumph Youth Services offers a small, highly structured family-type environment for youth. This family-like community promotes a social environment that takes on both therapeutic and healing properties instead of maintaining negative behaviors.

Our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach utilizes individual therapy combined with group and family therapy to treat each youth’s issues. In addition to the therapy, the Positive Peer Culture utilized in Triumph Youth Services facilities help the youth process their issues and build skills for their own personal progress.

Triumph Youth Services provides a daily Life Skills Group. The goal of our Life Skills Group training program is to teach the student a new set of responses to social situations, as well as how to integrate his behavior with others in the environment. Our staff members are trained and encouraged to be effective leaders by serving as teachers or coaches who hold the young men responsible for working on problems and to act as limit setters, good listeners and model appropriate responses to various situations.

The clinicians at Triumph Youth Services are highly trained and have extensive experience working with adolescent youth. Our clinicians are licensed and approved as mental health professionals to provide individual, group and family therapy.

Call Triumph Youth Services. We are here to help.

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