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Social, Emotional And Behavioural Difficulties

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The research and literature on the topic of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) is broad and extensive. Within this field, the literature covers many areas of study and incorporates wide-ranging interpretations of SEBD. As explained by Cole and Visser (2005), SEBD is an imprecise umbrella term that describes a myriad of difficulties; this has led to vast amounts of research and literature in different areas of the field. After a brief analysis of the key documents that have led to the current position, this review will focus on three main areas that are consistent throughout a majority of the literature. These issues are: why SEBD arises in children; assessment of SEBD pupils and the development of SEBD provision. Although these areas are addressed separately, there is an inevitable overlap between the topics and other issues within the field.

Literature identifies one of the most controversial issues in this area is the complexity of defining SEBD (Fogell & Long, 1997; Cole, Visser & Upton, 1998; Cooper, 2001; Kauffman, 2001). The earliest explicit reference to pupils with SEBD can be identified with the introduction of 1944 Education Act, which categorised children with special educational needs by their ‘disabilities’. However, the act considered many children to be ‘uneducable’ and pupils were labelled into categories such as ‘maladjusted’. The Education Act 1981 abolished the categories set out in the Education Act 1944, and introduced the term
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