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Words have power: (re)-defining serious emotional disturbance for American Indian and Alaska Native children and their families.

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  • 1ANPsych, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6480, USA.


Circles of Care grantees were provided the opportunity to develop a locally relevant definition of serious emotional disturbance that would be used to define what type of emotional, behavioral, and mental disability would be required to receive services. After conducting detailed assessments of the definition in the guidance for applicants GFA and the definitions used by others in their respective states, seven of the nine grantees developed their own local, project-specific definitions through the participation of community focus groups and Advisory Councils. The six definitions for SED developed by rural grantees all included American Indian and Alaska Native concepts specific to each tribal community's culture; the urban grantee's definition was purposely focused for reaching out to non-professional members of the community. This opportunity for the communities to redefine SED not only provided each community with a definition which would be more culturally specific, but also proved to be an extraordinarily exercise in empowerment and self-determination.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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