Introduction to Special Issue: Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth (Volume 28)

Article excerpt

This issue of Education and Treatment of Children marks the 28th annual volume of the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders Monograph Series on Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth. The eight articles published here represent a peer-reviewed selection of papers originally presented at the 28th Annual Teacher Educators for Children with Behavior Disorders National Conference held in Tempe, Arizona in November of 2004. This monograph series has been devoted over the years to providing in-depth information on the education and treatment of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). Consulting editors and field reviewers from both Education and Treatment of Children and Behavioral Disorders were responsible for reviewing and selecting these articles for publication. Collectively, these articles address a number of issues and challenges, suggest a number of programmatic education and treatment strategies, and propose directions for future research and practice for students with EBD.

This issue begins with Frank Gresham's paper based on his keynote address at the 2004 TECBD conference. Gresham proposes an alternative approach to emotional disabilities (ED) identification based on a student's response or lack of response to an evidence-based intervention. The response to intervention (RTI) approach provides a functional alternative to the federal definition of emotional disturbance, which Gresham suggests is nebulous, often illogical, and self-contradictory. He defines and describes RTI and provides methods and procedures for quantifying whether or not a student shows an adequate or inadequate response to an evidence-based intervention implemented with integrity.

The remaining articles in this special issue of ETC represent a cross-section of important research and practice issues in the education and treatment of children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. Joao Lopes addresses three issues related to the effectiveness of interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders in Portugal: (1) the comorbidity of emotional, behavioral, and learning disorders, (2) the influence of academic underachievement on the development of EBD; and (3) the failure school personnel to intervene early with students with EBD.

The next two articles deal with youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice system. Heather Baltodano, Pamela Harris, and Robert Rutherford examined the relationship of age, ethnicity and disability on the academic achievement of males in a large juvenile correctional facility. They found significant differences between mean scores on academic achievement measures such as the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement--Third Addition (WJIII) and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) across various ethnic groups and between those youth identified as special education and those not identified.

David E. Houchins, Kristine Jolivette, Suana Wessendorf, Megan McGlynn, and C. Michael Nelson provide data for implementing school-wide positive behavioral support (PBS) in juvenile justice settings. Through focus groups, these authors provide a rationale for adopting and adapting successful public school proactive strategies for defining, teaching and supporting appropriate student behaviors for youth in correctional facilities. The individuals in the administrators, teachers, and clinical staff focus groups identified ecological congruence issues of how PBS is and can be unique in a juvenile justice setting. …