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Serious Emotional Disability (SED)

Definition: A child with a Serious Emotional Disability shall have emotional or social functioning which prevents the child from receiving reasonable educational benefit from general education.


Professional Learning Opportunities

Webinar:  Discerning Social Maladjustment in Evaluations for Serious Emotional Disability (SED)

The Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit has provided a recording of a live webinar on discerning social maladjustments from Serious Emotional Disability (SED) when evaluating eligibility for SED recorded in December, 2016.

This webinar recording provides information on commonly understood definitions of social maladjustment, common characteristics of social maladjustment, an approach to determining whether a student qualifies for an SED when social maladjustment is present, and intervention resources.

Link to Recording (YouTube)

Workshop: Transforming Disability Identification through Culturally Responsive Approaches
Featuring: Janine Jones, Ph.D.
This workshop focuses on the problem of disproportionality and the over-representation of students of color identified for special education under the category of Emotional Disturbance.

Picture: Powerpoint cover for Through a New Lens by Dr. Janine Jones, June 18, 2015


Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Special Education for Students with Serious Emotional Disability
(for use by districts that have adopted  SED criteria)


CDE SED Wikispaces
The Colorado Department of Education, with the help of the 2015 Serious Emotional Disability (SED) Taskforce, created a wikispace with various tools for collecting data, action planning, and measuring fidelity of and for behavior interventions, including Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs).  This site allows for exploration of behavior tools: CDE Behavior Tools


Topic Briefs


Consent for Evaluation & Prior Written Notice for conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)

Prior to providing individualized assessment, including FBA, consent for evaluation and prior written notice must be obtained.  Some districts have created a form specifically for FBA to avoid triggering a new Individualized Education Program (IEP) event in the IEP software.  Consult the special education director to obtain the correct forms, protocols and procedures for your Administrative Unit.  Below is a sample form created from Jefferson County Public Schools in 2013.  This form is provided as an example and is not for use without the directive of the special education director.


For more information about Serious Emotional Disabilities, please contact:

Julia Wigert
Phone: (303) 866-6933

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