How to help students with emotional and behavioral disorders?

emotional and behavioral disorders

Is your child throwing tantrums and meltdowns in public or at home?

Students with Emotional and behavioral disorders have a wide range of characteristics. Although he may be good at receptive language skills, his expressive language puts you off. He may be feeling bogged down in expressing his wants, needs, and feeling. Sometimes, they are too shy to communicate, share, and ask for help. Because students who struggle with behavioral disorders also face language barriers. It may be of great concern to you as a mother to figure out what he is trying to tell.

So, what can a teacher do to help the students?

These behaviors or students with EBD as called are demanding and challenging to teachers. When the students with behavioral problems are left undetected in classrooms or at home, they are left irritated, frustrated, and withdrawn. Furthermore, the intensity of the disorder may vary from one child to another. Children are left with mood disorders, such as depression, or experience intense feelings of anger or frustration. By being aware and sensitive to their needs, the teachers can support them. Also, trying to get to the root of the problem or accessing his behavior helps.

Some examples of students and what might be going through their minds:

“I am too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help from peers.”

“This looks impossible, even if I try!”

“I rather just do my work than saying something and get into trouble later.”


Students with EBD need to be welcomed with open hands. They need a positive environment that supports growth, fosters care and self-esteem. They need additional support from parents and teachers to improve. Honest communication is essential between the teachers and the parents. They need to come together to help the students and resolve the matter.

There have been numerous studies in the past of behavioral strategies. If used effectively, they can create an impact and improve behaviors in all ages. Improving behaviors are important in academic learning and growth. And to implement that, successful measures and preventions have to be utilized.

Let us explore some strategies which are most effective in bringing forth the improvement:

1) Setting rules:

Students with EBD require special attention in terms of rules and tasks to be successful. The students should be provided clear information when it comes to instruction and learning. Rules are important to prevent students from getting aggressive or lose track. They are also very important in promoting appropriate behaviors, such as respectful manners and completion of tasks.

Although the rules go a long way in helping students, they should not be exceeded. It can become ineffective, as they have a difficult time remembering the rules. Rules should be simple and clear. There should be three or four main rules and not more. Let the child take it step by step and process it. Making a list and posting it on board helps. An example list is:

  • Being punctual
  • Respect one another
  • Be polite
  • Have consideration
  • Trying your best
  • Completing assignments on time

2) Following consistent routines:

Students with EBD struggle with transitions. Consistent routines can positively affect students’ academic performance. A routine is a set of instructions given for daily occurrences. They allow students to complete day-to-day tasks. For example, when to start a class, finish an assignment, taking attendance, etc.

Following routines are very important for behavioral strategy. They prevent fewer disruptions and allow students to complete the tasks on time. This way, the students get more opportunities to learn and grow.

3) Support positive behavior:

Teaching children with EBD can be difficult and challenging. The students need to receive information lovingly. Fostering and rewarding positive behavior has proven to be more effective than punishing them. Negative behavior towards the students will only make problems worse.

When the teacher adapts verbal reinforcement or praise, the students behave appropriately. When they receive positive feedback, they tend to see a positive benefit to good behavior. They will start seeing you as a friend than an adversary. In turn, this will motivate them to do well. Here are some techniques to support positive behavior:

  • Point system: For every good the student does, the teacher gives them a point. These points or tokens can be used to buy rewards at the reward store.
  • Behavior chart: The teacher marks the chart with the student’s name who abides by the rules. These charts help in monitoring the student’s behavior closely. Students who perform well, their names are on the top. This makes every student accountable for their actions and equally responsible.
  • Gestures: When the student does well in the classroom, the teacher raises her hand to acknowledge the action. Gestures made with hands, eyes, and face help students feel joyful and positive.
  • Peer review: Students are asked to monitor their peers to identify positive behavior. The one who identifies the behavior and the one who watches get rewarded equally. This fosters a sense of teamwork between them and in the classroom.

4) Recognizing their efforts:

Students with EBD tend to perform better when they are given recognition. There is much that educators can do to motivate these children. The students with behavioral difficulties are unable to express their feelings. They lack the social skills for interacting with peers and have low-self esteem. Despite that, if the student manages to complete the task, then acknowledge the efforts. By understanding what the students need, you can monitor their progress. If the student has not finished assignments on time, understand the problem rather than finding faults because finding faults will hamper their growth more.

Help students recognize their mistakes and find the solution with them to work on them. Sometimes a student with EBD makes a mistake to gain attention or refrain from completing tasks. Helping them open up and be more accepting of their shortcomings plays a crucial role. Being open to their suggestions and helping them address their issues helps them immensely. Be honest with feedback and give minimal inputs to support their behavior.

5) Instill Hope:

While the characteristics of the student with EBD may sometimes seem daunting, the idea is never to give up. Some students demand more attention and understanding than others. But to reinforce positive behavior with such children has proven to be more effective than eliminating negative behavior. By fostering positivity, you can keep them motivated. Punishments and belittling them only make matters worse. Although it may test a teacher’s patience, it may be worth it.

The teachers need to be proactive and flexible in addressing the student’s issues. To give moral support to a student, the teacher has to be giving and instill faith. Coming together with a structured plan and supportive work environment helps. Teachers who are consistent, pursuant, and help students overcome problems influence greatly. Alternatively, instilling them with Hope will help.


The overall system of students with emotional struggles produces more heat than light. Dealing with anger, aggression, and non-acceptance is demanding and takes a toll. Yet, the teachers who focus on developing the strengths rather than fixing the students’ flaws are more successful. By not giving up on students, proactive teachers can make a world of difference and lead the way to a brighter future!

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