Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) struggle in school, perhaps more so than any other group of students. Whereas it is commonly recognized that these children and adolescents have severe social skills deficits, which impede development of meaningful relationships with peers and teachers, it is also true that students with EBD evidence significant academic deficiencies. On average, these students perform 1.2–2 grade levels behind their peers while in elementary school (Trout, Nordness, Pierce, & Epstein, 2003). Unfortunately, this gap increases with age.
Despite these dismal academic outcomes, the majority of interventions conducted with these children have focused primarily on behavior modification, often neglecting glaring academic deficiencies (Ryan, Reid, & Epstein, 2004).