Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Emotional Disabilities in the Classroom

Using a common relationship measure, Jaime Zurheide is hoping to better understand the teacher-student dynamic for elementary school children with Emotional Disturbance (ED).

Zurheide, PhD Special Education student, is using the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS) to examine the dimensional structure between classroom teachers and students with ED, ages eight to 12.

Characteristics of students with ED includes inappropriate behavior, pervasive mood swings and difficulty forming relationships, Zurheide explained.

"Basically, kids that do a lot of acting out in the classroom," she said.

According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, the six types of emotional disturbances include anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, conduct disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and psychotic disorders.

The process of Zurheide's project involves recruiting special education teachers to participate in the study and then screening potential students to determine if they fit the criteria. After receiving permission from a student's guardian, both the student and their teacher complete two measures.

The measures include statements such as, "I get along better with adults than kids my own age," and give the test-taker a scale to indicate if the statement is true, somewhat true or not true.

The results of the measures are then compiled and compared using STRS.

"This scale is very commonly used," Zurheide said. "I would like to see if some of the things (researchers) are finding work for kids with ED."

Additionally, Zurheide hopes to examine similarities and differences in both teacher and student reports of relationship quality– specifically for students with ED.

Zurheide, who earned the Council for Exceptional Children Division for Research Doctoral Student Scholars award in 2013, began the project in January and plans to finish data collection by this fall.