Emotional Disturbance

Emotional Disturbance Attorney

Representing Clients in New York & Nationwide

One of the disabilities recognized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is emotional disturbance, sometimes referred to as ED. If you have a child who has an emotional disability, you know it can be challenging to ensure his or her educational needs are met.  Teachers and administrators may not recognize that a child’s behavior is the result of emotional or psychological difficulties and thus fail to deal with him or her appropriately.

Unfortunately, children with emotional disabilities can be simply labeled “bad” students or "troublemakers." The special education attorneys of Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP understand the difficulties these students and their parents face. We specialize in helping families of individuals with disabilities with a variety of legal issues, particularly the complexities of the education system.

Serving Parents of Students with Emotional Disturbance

Under IDEA, schools are charged with providing every student with emotional disturbance a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). However, schools sometimes fail to fulfill their obligations to students with disabilities. When this happens, Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP can help parents work with educators to ensure that each student can reach his or her educational potential.

Often, simply getting the school to recognize and identify your child as having an emotional disturbance that qualifies for special services under IDEA is a difficult first step. If your child has frequent behavioral issues that stem from an emotional disturbance of some kind, our special education lawyers will support you and guide you. We will help you prepare for meetings with teachers and administrators and will help you challenge decisions that you feel are not in your child’s best interests. For example, if the school district decides that your child is not entitled to services under IDEA, we can represent you in due process hearings to challenge that ruling.

Even when your child has been identified as having a qualifying IDEA disability, such as emotional disturbance, there are many forms of emotional disturbance and mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, schizo affective, reactive attachment disorder, etc.), and often school districts are ill equipped to adequately respond. Frequently, schools view their role narrowly and they fail to look at the whole child. Whether your child needs the proper supports and interventions to remain in the public school, or whether he or she needs specifically trained professionals only available in a private program, we can help. We can attend IEP meetings to provide advice, support and representation as well as help you respond when you feel your child’s needs are not being met by his or her IEP.

Disciplinary Issues for Children with Emotional Disturbance

Because children with emotional disabilities may have trouble with rules and authority or other issues, discipline can be a major challenge for these students. Teachers and administrators who do not understand your child’s unique needs may punish him or her inappropriately or even make matters worse by treating your child unfairly. Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP understands both the parents’ and educators’ concerns regarding discipline for students with emotional disturbance, which allows us to help reach practical solutions with educators and in resolving disciplinary issues. If you feel your child is being disciplined unfairly or inappropriately, we can be strong and persuasive advocates on your child’s behalf, even initiating a due process hearing, and court action if necessary.

For more information about our services for parents of children with emotional disturbance, please contact the education attorneys of Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP to schedule a free initial consultation.