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Children's Health Council

Profile of an Esther B. Clark School Student

What type of student will derive real educational benefit from 3 years at Esther B. Clark School?


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The domains of Emotional Disturbance (ED) and Other Health Impaired (OHI) are both wide and at times seemingly amorphous so I thought I would take this opportunity to provide you with a typical profile of an EBC student who can genuinely benefit from the EBC program and in better than 8 out of 10 cases will end up being successfully placed in a less-restrictive environment after 3 years with us.

Primary Eligibility: Must be…

  • Emotional Disturbance (ED)
  • Other Health Impaired (OHI)


  • Verbal Comprehension (VC) and Visual-Spatial (VS) domains at least in the Average range
  • Fluid Reasoning (FR), Working Memory (WM) and/or Processing Speed (PS) may be disproportionately lower (i.e. >1 standard deviation) lower than VC and VS domains


  • Receptive Language (Listening Comprehension/Receptive Vocabulary) at least in the Average range
  • Pragmatics underdeveloped and an identified problem area

Academic Achievement

  • Reading Decoding, Vocabulary and Comprehension at least in the Low Average range
  • Math Calculations, Reasoning and Applied Problems at least in the Low Average range
  • Written Expression domains likely to be in the Low Average even Borderline range and a source of frustration and trigger for mal-adaptive behaviors
  • Visual Motor Integration likely to be Low

Behavior/Emotional Rating Scales

  • Anxiety, Depression/mood, Fears, Withdrawal, Somatization may all be in the Elevated or Clinically Significant range
  • Academic/School Problems likely at least the At Risk range
  • Hyperactivity, Impulsivity likely in the Clinically Significant range
  • Social skills and adaptive skills in likely in the Clinically Significant range
  • Defiance, Violence potential, Aggression and Conduct problems evaluated on a case by case basis

Any Autism Rating Scale

  • Low probability
  • Note: When a student who has been identified and becomes eligible initially under Autism and the district changes the student’s eligibility to ED or OHI, we have, over time seen these children make far less progress in our program.

Exclusionary Criteria

  • The presence of any two amongst: fire starting, animal abuse, reported inappropriate sexual touching or stalking; felony level assault on another individual
  • Known current use/abuse of any mind-altering or illegal substance
  • Criminal activity performed after probation officer assigned
  • Parent/guardians refuse to partake in Parent/Family Counseling on a weekly basis

Notes: EBC has had much success in assisting students who have become “school refusal kids.” We have helped students who have missed extensive time (i.e. weeks even months) and have refused to attend despite district interventions (e.g., SARB, interactions with truancy officers, reduced days) to successfully re-integrate and re-engage in school-based academics and social activities.

We have also served as a “step down” from residential programs and a school placement for students who are coming out of acute and/or repeated psychiatric hospitalizations for extreme anxiety and/or depression even if the child has not yet been identified as eligible for special education.

Typical Issues Present upon Referral

Lower Division Grades 2 – 5

  • Hyperactivity, impulsivity
  • Problems with delay of gratification rewards
  • Overreliance on frequent/immediate tangible incentives to cooperate
  • Low frustration tolerance ending up in fight, flight or freeze behavior
  • Work refusal followed by eloping
  • Poor friendship skills; inflexible when peer conflict resolution is attempted
  • Argumentative then escalates to disruptive
  • Chronically gets timed out of class and ends up repeatedly getting sent home
  • Rigid and blaming of others in the moment, then distressed/sad about self afterwards
  • Slow developing reading and writing skills even though oral language skills age-appropriate

Upper Division Grades 6 – 9

  • Recent escalation of school and/or work refusal
  • Socially isolated/ostracized; may have significant social anxiety
  • Fearful, anxious, depressed including reported episodes of suicidal ideation
  • Threatened to or has engaged in self-harming behaviors; emergent psychosomatic ailments
  • Poor perspective taking; tends to catastrophize
  • Poor self-awareness but acutely aware of own discrepancy relative to peers
  • Has fallen up to 2 years behind in academics because of lost instructional time
  • Persistent hardship with and distaste for writing assignments, homework chronically not done
  • Perceives self as victimized by others; little sense of having an internal locus of control
  • Outpatient therapy, Resource Specialist support, other weekly interventions inadequate to stem social-emotional and behavioral decline

Referral Packet to EBC

  • Most recent triennial or psycho-educational testing report with all scores included
  • Current and immediate past IEP including any addendums in the interim
  • Current FBA and BSP (if one)
  • Incident reports/Suspension reports from past six months (if any)
  • Mental Health Evaluation such as an ERMHS assessment (if one)
  • Reports from outside agencies such as wrap services, outside tutor, therapist, assessors in past year (if any)


Download Student Profile