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Serious emotional disturbance (SED) is a term used in reference to children under the age of 18 with a diagnosable mental health problem that severely disrupts their ability to function socially, academically, and emotionally.
Following is a federal statute that defines the term serious emotional disturbance.
Serious emotional disturbance includes, with respect to a child, any child who has a serious emotional disorder, a serious behavioral disorder, or a serious mental disorder. [42 USCS § 290ff-4]