Bureau of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services Definition of severe emotional disturbance (SED)
The following is the current definition being used by the Bureau of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services for severe emotional disturbance. Severe emotional disturbance in an individual under the age of 21 requires acute treatment and may lead to institutional care. The disability must show evidence of 1,2,3 and 4.

1. The disability must have persisted for six months and be expected to persist for a year or longer.

2. A condition of severe emotional disturbance as defined by:
    • A mental or emotional disturbance listed in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV).
    • Adult diagnostic categories appropriate for children and adolescents are substance related disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, dissociative disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders, impulse-control disorders, adjustment disorders and personality disorders. Disorders usually first evident in infancy, childhood and adolescence include pervasive development disorders, attention deficit and disruptive behavior disorders, tic disorders, stereotypic movement disorder, feeding and eating disorders, separation anxiety disorder, selective mutism and reactive attachment disorder.


3. Functional Symptoms and Impairments.
The individual must have A or B.
    A. Symptoms – the individual must have one of the following:
    •  Psychotic symptoms – serious mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality, often with hallucinations or delusions.
    • Danger to self, others and property as a result of emotional disturbance. The individual is self-destructive (e.g., at risk for suicide, runaway, promiscuity, and/or at risk for causing injury to persons of significant damage to property).


    B. Functional impairment - in two of the following capacities (compared with expected developmental level):
   • Functioning in self care – impairment in self care is manifested by a person’s consistent inability to take care of personal grooming, hygiene, clothes and meeting of nutritional needs.
   • Functioning in the community – impairment in community function is manifested by a consistent lack of age appropriate behavioral controls, decision making, judgment or involvement in the juvenile justice system.
   • Functioning in social relationships – impairment of social relationships is manifested by the consistent inability to develop and maintain satisfactory relationships with peers and adults.
   • Functioning in the family – impairment in family function is manifested by a pattern of significantly disruptive behavior exemplified by repeated and/or unprovoked violence to siblings and/or parents, disregard for safety and welfare of self or others, (e.g., fire setting, serious and chronic destructiveness, inability to conform to reasonable limitations and expectations which may result in removal from the family or its equivalent).
   • Functioning at school/work –
  - Impairment in functioning at school is manifested by inability to pursue educational goals in a normal time frame (e.g., consistently failing grades, repeated truancy, expulsion, property damage or violence toward others).
- Meeting the definition of “Children with Disabilities” under subchapter V of Wisconsin State Statute 115.76(3) and the Wisconsin Administrative Code for the Department of Public Instruction, chapter 11.
- Impairment at work is the inability to be consistently employed at a self-sustaining level (e.g. inability to conform to work schedule, poor relationships with supervisor and other workers, hostile behavior on the job).



4. Is receiving services from two or more of the following service systems
: mental health, social services, child protective services, juvenile justice or special education.


Office and Mailing Address: 17 Forest Ave., Suite 14
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Phone: (920) 929-3684
Fax: (920) 929-3686
Email: mailto:iysoffice@cesa6.org

Program Director: Jonathan Stone, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Program Assistant: Naomi Schmidt