Social & Emotional Characteristics

Summary: Children with emotional and behavioral disorders can have a wide range of variation in there social and emotional characteristics.  As we spoke of in the classification section, they are split into externalizing behavior and internalizing behavior. Most students who externalize their behavior have learned this either from their family or from social cues and media sources throughout their life time. In the case of those students who internalize their disorder, it usually due to a miscommunication when picking up on social cues, or some failure in the social learning setting.

Most students that have emotional or behavioral disorders can vary greatly in terms of emotion or mood. For instance, they can often be down one minute and up the next. Extreme cases of this are diagnoses as bipolar disorder. Which is basically defined as rapid extreme mood swings and shifts in level of activity, and ability to carry out every day tasks. These students can be extremely reserved and then talkative, disruptive, and emotional in your class all in the same time.

Major Issue:
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder is another disorder that is getting a lot of attention by the national news media. Unlike schizophrenia however, there have not been the major motion pictures to come out and demystify the ailment.  Much like other individuals with an emotional or behavioral disorder, men and women with bipolar disorder can have very sporadic behavior. They will be very happy go lucky one minute, and the next minute totally unproved they may want nothing to do with learning in your class. Knowing this just stresses the idea of keeping your patience and your calm inside the classroom, because students do not always have the ability to do it themselves. It has also been argued that this disorder is diagnosed far too often in the current time period. This argument was made in a study by
Gregory T. Hatchett called The Enigma of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents. In this study he argued that rarely do the cases that are diagnosed as bipolar meet the strict regulations stated in the DSM-IV. This disorder, much like ADHD, is hotly debated and argued whether it is being wrongly diagnosed or if many people are just overcompensating for children's misbehavior.  

Socially these students who have behavioral disorders usually experience more social acceptance than students who have emotional disorders. According to a study done listed first in the resources section, this is due to the fact that often the children that act out are championed in classrooms. This is very similar to the idea of the class clown that everyone likes. If someone is constantly drawing attention to themselves and is very outgoing, the chances are that generally they will be better accepted in school than those who often stick to themselves and are rather introverted like many students with emotional disorders can be.  It is also true though, that both children rely  heavily on close positive relationships, just as we all do.