Introduction to Special Issue: Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth (Volume 22)

Article excerpt

This volume of Education and Treatment of Children contains a collection of research articles that were originally presented at the 22nd Annual Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders national conference on Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth held in Scottsdale, Arizona in November of 1998. These peer-reviewed articles were selected from among the over 125 papers presented which dealt with the education and treatment of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). This publication also represents Volume 22 of the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders ongoing monograph series on Severe Behavior Disorders of Children and Youth. This volume begins with an article based upon the CCBD President's address. President Doug Cheney provides a personal and thoughtful call for professionals in the field to mentor, respect, and support one another, as well as our students, as we try to develop meaningful programs and services for students with EBD. He discusses the role of the mentor through four lessons: (a) model what you expect; (b) respect the complex lives of your students and families; (c) provide abundant learning opportunities to your students; and (d) work collaboratively with others.

Many of the remaining articles in this volume focus on the discipline issues surrounding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997. Drasgow, Yell, Bradley, and Shriner provide a follow-up analysis to their article in last year's (Volume 21) monograph where they: (a) present the requirements of the new law; (b) describe the process for conducting a functional behavioral assessment (FBA); (c) explain the legal requirements for developing measurable goals and benchmarks or short-term objectives; (d) describe the development of a behavioral intervention plan (BIP), and (e) present a model to guide schools to meet their own specific needs.

Nelson, Roberts, Rutherford, Mathur, and Aaroe present the results of a statewide survey of special education administrators and school psychologists to examine their views of the relative effectiveness, usability, suitability, and practicality of FBA procedures. While they found that these professionals are generally supportive of FBA for a range of problem behaviors, administrators and psychologists were uncertain whether FBA would be acceptable for the unique low-frequency behavior problems that lead to suspension and expulsion. These professionals further indicated that educators might be unaware of and unwilling to conduct FBAs.

In a related article, Hendrickson, Gable, Conroy, Fox, and Smith present some of the major challenges school districts face in implementing FBAs. They describe a statewide school improvement initiative, Success4, that the state of Iowa is taking to overcome these challenges. They present arguments for fundamental changes in educational policies and practices in order to enhance school district effectiveness and accountability in conducting FBAs.

Ellis and Magee describe the activities of the Behavior Assessment and Technology Support Systems group who have been integrating functional analysis into public school assessment processes. …