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Accommodating Students with Psychiatric Disabilities Al Souma, Disability Support Services Seattle Central Community College DO-IT, University of Washington.

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Presentation on theme: "Accommodating Students with Psychiatric Disabilities Al Souma, Disability Support Services Seattle Central Community College DO-IT, University of Washington."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accommodating Students with Psychiatric Disabilities Al Souma, Disability Support Services Seattle Central Community College DO-IT, University of Washington

2 What is Mental Illness? Mental illness is a term that refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, relating and functional behaviors. These disorders result in substantially diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

3 Postsecondary Students with Disabilities More than 400,000 students enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions report having a mental illness or emotional disturbance. (National Center for Education Statistics, 1999)

4 ACCOMMODATION THE REMOVAL OF BARRIERS TO PARTICIPATION

5 The Emphasis is on ACCESS NOT on outcome

6 Laws Requiring Reasonable Accommodations 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Section Americans with Disabilities Act

7 Symptoms of a Mental Health Problem Chronically missing class Assignments consistently late Extreme highs or lows in mood, anxieties Problem concentrating, remembering Marked personality change Confused or disorganized thinking Thinking or talking about suicide Denial of obvious problems

8 Major Depression Mood disorder Depressed mood over long period Lack of pleasure in activities Thoughts of suicide Sleep and appetite changes Low self esteem Feeling guilty and/or worthless

9 Bipolar Affective Disorder Previously Manic Depressive Disorder Mood disorder Revolving periods of mania and depression Either grandiose, euphoric, highly productive/creative, or depressed, withdrawn, hopeless

10 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Anxiety Disorder Exposure to traumatic event Flashbacks Dissociations

11 Schizophrenia Thought Disorder Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia Difficulty with daily functional tasks Poor interpersonal relationships Concrete thought processing Need for structured routine

12 Anxiety Disorders Generalized Anxiety Disorder l Excessive worry in general Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder l Consuming fixation and ritualistic behaviors Panic Disorder l Overwhelming physiological event Social Phobias l Incapacitating fear of social interactions Specific Phobias l Intense fear of specific object, event

13 Medication Side Effects Drowsiness Fatigue Excessive thirst Blurred vision Hand tremors Initiating Interpersonal contact

14 Functional Limitations Screening out environmental Stimuli Sustaining concentration Maintaining stamina Handling time pressures and multi-tasks Interacting with others Fear of authority figures Responding to negative feedback Responding to change Severe test anxiety

15 Strategies for Inclusion in College Teach to various learning styles-- visual, auditory, kinesthetic Increase experiential learning activities Increase knowledge and acceptance of mental illness Be prepared to set behavioral limits Know campus mental health resources Work cooperatively with students Assist students with time management

16 Principles of Accommodation Address individual needs Respect students desire for confidentiality Engage in joint problem solving Make all accommodations voluntary Review accommodations periodically Be flexible in enforcing policies Identify accommodations clearly

17 Accommodations are NOT Reasonable if they... Pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others Make substantial changes in essential elements of the curriculum Require substantial alteration to educational opportunities/course objectives Pose undue financial or administrative burden

18 Possible Classroom Accommodations Preferential seating, near door Assigned classmate as assistant Beverages permitted Prearranged or frequent breaks Tape recorder, note taker Early availability of syllabus, text Text, assignments in alternate formats Personal and private feedback

19 Possible Examination Accommodations Change in test format l (Written to oral and vise versa, dictation, scripted, typed) Permit use of computer software Exams in alternate format (portfolio, demo) Extended test taking time Individual proctoring Separate, quiet room for testing Increased test frequency.

20 Possible Assignment Accommodations Substitute assignments in specific circumstances Advance notice of assignments Allow assignments hand written Written rather than oral, or vise versa Change format: drama, role-play, sculpture Assignment assistance--ask Extensions on assignments

21 Resources ADA: American Disability Association ( (voice) TTY ) Anxiety Disorder Association of America (http://www.adaa.org/) AHEAD (http://www.ahead.org) Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (http://WEB.bu.edu/sarpsych) DO-IT The Faculty Room (http://www.washington.edu/doit/faculty/) Judge Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (http://www.bazelon.org/) Office of Civil Rights: Region 10 ( ) National Alliance for the Mentally ill (NAMI) (http://www.nami.org) National Institute of Mental Health (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/)


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