Current Educational Practices in Classifying and Serving Students with obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Current educational practices for classifying and serving students with mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been associated with specific problems. These include the stigma of labeling, misalignment of school-based categories (e.g., E/BD, OHI) with clinical diagnoses, and concerns regarding the provision of appropriate services to these students. In the present study, Illinois school psychologists completed a survey on current practices for classifying and serving students with a primary diagnosis of OCD. The results indicated that 0.7% of the students served by school psychologists had a primary diagnosis of OCD. The majority of these students (74.5%) were served under IDEA. Of the students receiving services under IDEA, 51.4% were classified under E/BD and 31.8% under OHI. Approximately two-thirds of the students with OCD (67.1%) were educated in less restrictive settings (e.g., regular classroom with or without resource/part-time special class). School psychologists’ comments suggested a pattern of ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding the appropriateness of IDEA categories for OCD, concerns regarding the stigma of labeling, and problems related to providing appropriate services to these students. Response-to-Intervention (RtI) as an alternative to current evaluation practices is proposed and recommendations for improving traditional categorical service delivery models when RtI is not implemented are provided.
Keywordsobsessive-compulsive disorder mental disorders emotional disturbance behavioral disorders other health impaired labeling (of persons) school psychologists
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