Meeting the Needs of Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders During the COVID-19 School Closures

Allison Bruhn, Youn Jeng Choi, Sara McDaniel, Hannah Morris Mathews, Shanna Eisner Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 global pandemic left many educators making an emergency transition to remote instruction when schools were initially closed. Although this transition was likely difficult for most students, it may have been particularly difficult for students with emotional or behavioral disorders, who have complex and resource-intensive social, emotional, and behavioral needs. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which special educators and related service providers felt they were able to meet those needs in the context of the pandemic occurring in the Spring of 2020. Results indicated respondents’ perceptions of their ability to meet students’ needs and implement their students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) were moderated by policies on remote instruction and students’ access to technology. In addition, respondents suggested district- and school-level response strategies, professional development on remote instruction, access to the internet at home, and additional technology would be helpful in future school closures. Implications and limitations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-281
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2022.


  • COVID-19
  • emotional and behavioral disorders
  • individual education plans
  • related service providers
  • special educators


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