Epstein, M. H., & Walker, H. M. (2002). Special education: Best practices and First Step to Success. In B. J. Burns & K. Hoagwood (Eds.), Community treatment for youth: Evidence-based interventions for severe emotional and behavioral disorders (pp. 179-197). New York: Oxford University Press.


Approximately 400,000 students each year receive special education and related services in our nation's schools because they have been identified as students having serious emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD)(U.S. Department of Education, 1998). Perhaps no other area of education presents more challenges to parents, school administrators, teachers, and policy makers than this school population. Although controversy and debate continue regarding the processes and outcomes of special education for students with EBD, a sufficient knowledge base has evolved that documents the availability of successful strategies and programs. In this chapter we will first provide a brief overview of the basis for special education services; that is, who are the students being served and the types of educational settings in which they are served? Next, we will identify the strategies that have been found to be successful with these students. And finally, we will describe the development, implementation and research evidence on a relatively new early intervention program, called First Steps to Success, based on these strategies.