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Volume 32, Issue 3 (2003)

Commentary: Scaling Up Social-Emotional and Academic Supports for All Students, Including Students With Disabilities

pp. 327—330

Elias, Zins, Graczyk, and Weissberg(2003) have written a concise summary of the daunting challenges and possible solutions to improve outcomes for students with mental health needs. As a special educator, I would like to focus my comments on the potential benefits of school-wide approaches for students with the greatest psychosocial needs. The critical importance of these efforts cannot be denied;recent estimates identify approximately 20% of children and adolescents under the age of 18 with mental health disorders (see Surgeon General’s Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 1999).When one out of five children suffer from conditions that directly affect their chances for success in life, everyone with an interest in child development and learning needs to consider better approaches to prevention and intervention.In the sections that follow, I will first attempt to contextualize students with mental health disorders within the larger school population and then link federal efforts to improve their outcomes with the themes presented in the Elias et al. (2003) article.

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