Identifying At-Risk Students

At one time or another, everyone feels depressed or upset.However, there are three levels of student distress which, when present over a period of time, suggest that the problems are more than the 'normal' reactions to life stressors.

Level 1 Distress

Although not disruptive to others in classroom or elsewhere, these behaviors in students may indicate that something is wrong and that help may be needed:

  • Serious grade problems
  • Unaccountable change from good to poor performance
  • Change from frequent attendance to excessive absences
  • Change in pattern of interaction
  • Marked change in mood, motor activity or speech
  • Marked change in physical appearance

Level 2 Disturbance

These behaviors in students may indicate significant emotional distress or a reluctance or inability to acknowledge a need for personal help:

  • Repeated request for special consideration
  • New or regularly occurring behavior which pushes the limits and may interfere with class management or be disruptive to others
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional response

Level 3 Dysregulation

These behaviors may show, in many cases that the student is in crisis and needs emergency care:

  • Highly disruptive behavior (hostility, aggression, etc.)
  • Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, disjointed thoughts)
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)
  • Overt suicidal thoughts (suicide is a current option)
  • Homicidal threats
  • Individuals deficient in skills that regulate emotion, cognition, self, behavior and relationships