Utah’s Special Education Rules to implement the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes the following definition of emotional disturbance:

“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 student’s educational performance:

(1) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

(2) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

(3) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

(4) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

(5) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

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

“Emotional disturbance” is a term that covers the following two types of behavioral difficulties, which are not mutually exclusive and which may adversely affect a student’s educational performance.

(1) Externalizing refers to behavior problems that are directed outwardly by the student toward the social environment, and usually involve behavioral excesses.

(2) Internalizing refers to a class of behavior problems that are directed inwardly, and often involve behavioral deficits.”

Emotional Disturbance Information Sheet 

It’s very helpful to read more about emotional disturbance. Following are links to additional information:

NICHCY Emotional Disturbance Resources
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) offers brief, but detailed fact sheets on Emotional Disturbance. Each fact sheet defines the disability, describes its characteristics, offers tips for parents and teachers, and connects you with related information and organizations with special expertise.

Allies with Families
Allies with Families was created in 1991 to offer practical support and resources for parents and their children and youth who face serious emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. It was created to support all families in the state of Utah. Allies with Families knows what you are going through because we have been through similar experiences. They know parents are sometimes stigmatized when they have a child with these disabilities. No one should have to go through a crisis alone. They have learned how to locate services and support. We know how hard it can be to get support and information that pertains to our children. They are here to share this knowledge with you. Allies with Families is a Utah chapter of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, an organization of families supporting families by sharing experiences and strengths.

NAMI Utah (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
(801) 323-9900 or Toll-free (877) 230-6264
NAMI is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses that affect the brain.

New Frontiers for Families
(435) 676-2599
New Frontiers for Families mission is that through the Wraparound process to bring providers, educators, businesses, community leaders and neighbors together in order to empower families to succeed at home, at school and in their communities by listening and working together to create services and supports that meet their needs.

Mental Health Matters
Get Mental Help, Inc., the new owner of Mental Health Matters, was founded to supply information and resources to mental health consumers, professionals, students and supporters. While the percentage of people facing a diagnosable Mental Disorder in any given year is substantial, the acceptance of these problems can be hard to come by. Essentially, Mental Health Issues are hidden illnesses. The need for an anonymous avenue for consumers and supporters to gather information very real and very large and Mental Health Matters is attempting to help.