• Special School;
  • psychiatric disorder;
  • attention deficit disorder

The education of children with behavioural difficulties is under scrutiny from various quarters. The provision of specialised school environments is being questioned, at the same time as there is pressure to minimise the exclusion of disruptive pupils. This study looked at the rate of psychiatric disorder that was prevalent in a school for emotionally and behaviourally disordered (EBD) pupils, and found, using DSM III-R criteria, that 24% of the sample had depression, 11% had overanxiousness, and 70% had a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD). Educational attainment assessment showed that 75% had a reading age that was at least 2 years below their chronological age. These results suggest that such settings are dealing with a very disturbed group of youngsters.