Youth with EDBD Introduction


There is no question that adolescents with emotional disabilities (ED) constitute the most underserved and unserved segment of the special education population. Within the school system, great confusion exists over: (a) the criteria for assigning the ED label to students, (b) the way in which they should be educated, (c) the content focus of that education (e.g., whether academic or behavioral content), and (d) the effectiveness of current educational strategies. These problems are reflected and amplified in the school-to-community transition experiences of adolescents with ED. Recent studies document that adolescents with ED display high rates of school dropout, substance abuse, and criminal activities coupled with low rates of school completion, enrollment in post-secondary educational programs, employment, and services from community-based social service agencies.

What does the future look like?


Given that most adolescents with ED do not enroll in any sort of educational program upon entering the community, the reality is that the secondary grades will constitute the last likely set of coordinated educational and social services that will be received by these young people. If the general negative transition experiences for most adolescents with ED are to be affected, it is mandatory.

  • For high school transition programs to include and serve adolescents with ED and
  • to structure those services in such a way as to address the group’s unique needs in the most powerful possible manner. The purpose of this module is to address this broad and critical issue.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this online training, you will be able to:

Session 1:

  • Identify the key elements of an effective transition program for adolescents with ED.
  • List three reasons for the importance of the relationship between the transition specialist and the adolescent with ED.
  • Describe critical themes for the work of the transition specialist.

Session 2:

  • Describe three reasons why it is important to ensure that each job placement is as successful as possible.
  • Identify the three types of skills that can be gained through a competitive work placement.
  • List the five phases of the job support model.
  • Describe how the phase model of job support could be used to move a student from one job to one with more responsibilities and freedoms.

Session 3:

  • Describe three ways to go about developing competitive jobs in the community for adolescents with ED.
  • Identify two reasons why it is important for the individual to “fit” the requirements of the job setting.
  • Demonstrate one way to appraise the skills requirements of potential job settings