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Emotionally Handicapped Kids Challenged at School

At times, the anger in the boy’s face seems to ooze from his pores.

At other times, it simply bursts forth in a torrent.

For a child just 5 years old, it’s a form of communication, teachers and experts say — a way of expressing frustration and uncertainty and the simple notion that there’s a lot going on in the child’s life that he or she doesn’t understand and doesn’t like.

For the boy in Carolyn Kendall’s kindergarten class at Indianapolis Public School 61, his means of communication have been explosive: In the first month of school, he’s hit three teachers, knocked over two chairs, thrown a crayon across the room and been a vital player in a brief kindergarten playground fight.

During a series of emotional outbursts, he’s screamed loud enough to be heard throughout the kindergarten and first-grade wing. He’s required the attention of a crisis intervention team (yes, there is such a thing in elementary school). And he’s known all too well by the principal, the school social worker, the mental health therapists and teachers from other parts of the school who have happened upon his periodic meltdowns.

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