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Mental Health Issues in Special Education


Educators as Catalysts for Change in Dealing with Students' Mental Wellbeing

Mental Health issues of maltreatment, neglect, abuse, and trauma

  • Every 11 seconds a child in the U.S. is reported abused or neglected
  • Child abuse and neglect has been cited by the CDC as a priority health problem
  • There were 68,326 confirmed child abuse/neglect victims in 2009
  • Child abuse is a cycle: parents abused as children are more than six times as likely to abuse their children as parents who were not abused
  • Approximately 50% of these victims were pre-school age
  • Approximately 93% were abused by their own family, thereby increasing the need for training for...

Increased awareness of mental health issues and sensitivity to students and the behaviors that manifest themselves, particularly in the classroom, can lead to a classroom environment that is safer, students that are more successful and faculty that feel more secure and successful in their teaching environment.

Educators are continuing to encounter increasing numbers of students dealing with mental health issues. 

With an increased understanding of mental health issues facing many of our students, faculty members can be extremely helpful in supporting these students. 

Through increased awareness and sensitivity, educational professionals can assume the role of being effective change agents in the process of healing, communication skills and learning of this special group of students.

Educators can be a student's first link to help by appropriately understanding children that come from "hard places"

One in five school-age children has a mental disorder that results in extreme functional impairment.

Children with mental health disorders fall into more than one category under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), for special education purposes:

  • Currently, schools identify only a little over 0.5% of children as having an "Emotional Disturbance", (the term used in IDEA for most mental disorders).

  • A little under 1% of children are identified as having "Other Health Impairments", largely Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

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