Section 3: Children and mental health disabilities
3.3. Do rates of emotional disturbance differ by age group?
Data from school year 1995-96 show that only 3.5% of students with disabilities ages 6-7 were identified as having emotional disturbance; this percentage increases for each age group to 13% of students with disabilities in high school years (13.1% for ages 14-15; 13.0% for ages 16-17).
Overall, in the United States, an estimated 10.8% of children ages 6-17 were served by IDEA. Emotional disturbance was identified in .92% of the overall student population nationwide, although predicted prevalence is closer to 2%. States vary greatly in the rate of identification of emotional disturbance, from .06% to almost 2%, reflecting different state practices.*
The percentage of students with disabilities identified as having emotional disturbance increases with age and is highest in the high school years.
Figure 17: The percentage of students with disabilities identified as having emotional disturbance, by age group, 1995-1996
Source: U.S. Department of Education, OSERS (1998), Section II: Students with Emotional Disturbance, and Table AA13, p. A-40
Surveys: U.S. Department of Education, OSEP, Data Analysis System, 1995-96