The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA '97) defines emotional disturbance as
"A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, and that adversely affects a student's educational performance:
An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems"
The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance. Students with emotional disturbances may struggle in school with reading, social skills, and self-management.