What Does ‘ED’ Mean in Special Education?

If you’re not familiar with the term “ED,” it stands for “emotional disturbance.” This is a category of special education that includes students who have difficulty regulating their emotions.

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Most people are familiar with the term “special education,” but many do not know what the initials “ED” mean. “ED” stands for “emotional disturbance.” Emotional disturbance is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as a disability that interferes with a child’s ability to learn and participate in school.

There are many different types of emotional disturbances, and children with ED may exhibit a wide range of symptoms. Some common signs of emotional disturbance include:

– Withdrawal from friends or social activities
– Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or anger
– Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
– Excessive worry or fear
– Frequent outbursts or periods of aggression

If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to their doctor or a mental health professional. Many children experience some of these symptoms at one time or another, but they do not necessarily have an emotional disturbance. Only a professional can diagnose ED.

What is Special Education?

Special education is instruction that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. TheIndividualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for each student who is eligible for special education services. This document includes information about the student’s current level of functioning, specific goals, and the services that will be provided to the student and his or her family.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program. It’s a written plan that’s developed for each public school student who needs special education. The IEP is created through a team process and reviewed at least once a year.

The IEP team includes you, your child’s teachers, related services providers, and the school district representative. Together, you’ll look at your child’s strengths and needs. You’ll set goals for your child’s education, and you’ll decide what special services and supports she needs to help her achieve those goals.

What are the different types of disabilities?

There are many different types of disabilities that can qualify a student for special education services. Some of the more common disabilities include:

Intellectual Disability: A disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

Learning Disability: A disorder that affects a person’s ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. These difficulties can show up in many ways including problems with reading, writing, math, attention, and/or behavior. A learning disability can make it hard to succeed in school, at work, or in other areas of life.

Spelling disorders
Disorder of written expression

ADHD/ADD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic condition that includes difficulties with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. People with ADHD often have trouble completing tasks, paying attention, and controlling behavior. Although it is most commonly diagnosed in kids, symptoms can persist into adulthood.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. People with ASD often have difficulty developing social skills and table mannerisms as well as exhibiting repetitive behaviors such as flapping their hands or repeating certain phrases over and over again

Emotional Disturbance: Refers to a mental health condition that adversely affects a child’s academic performance or ability to learn in school. This condition is characterized by any one or more of the following five identified characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree: an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers; inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances; generalized pervasive moods ; or delays or regression in development . Examples include anxiety disorders , depression , bipolar disorder , schizophrenia , eating disorders , and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What Does ‘ED’ Mean?

ED stands for Emotional Disturbance. The students who are covered under this category have an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. Some of the common characteristics of students with ED are social withdrawal, hostility, anxiety, and depression.

Emotional Disturbance

Emotional disturbance, as defined in federal special education law, means 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 child’s educational performance:

-An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
-An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
-Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
-A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
-A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems

Other Definitions of ‘ED’

In addition to the medical term “erectile dysfunction,” the acronym “ED” has many other meanings.

Some of the most common include:

-Economic Development
-Emergency Department
-Environmental Design
-Equalization Diablo (type of mapping software)


ED means “educationally disabled.” This is a label given to children who have been diagnosed with a learning disability that affects their ability to succeed in school. These children are entitled to receive special education services that are designed to meet their individual needs.

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