Teaching Tips - Psychological Disabilities

  • Provide regular feedback on academic work.
  • Use detailed statements on your syllabus and note that "individuals with psychological, learning, physical or sensory disabilities needing accommodations can schedule a meeting with . . ."
  • Test on a frequent basis.
  • Structure your lectures by using PowerPoint programs.
  • Consider allowing written assignments in lieu of oral presentations, or vice versa.
  • Be flexible in allowing students to complete assignments or exams when hospitalized.
  • Consider priority seating, allowing the student to sit near the door or at the back of the class so students can quickly leave if they need to. Consider providing a seat away from a window or doorway to reduce distractions.
  • Discuss with the student if he will need frequent breaks from class. If so, work out an arrangement ahead of time.
  • Consult your DS office. If you've been told about the student's medication, be aware of how that medication will impact the student.
  • Stand close, but don't crowd his space when talking with the student.
  • Be sure to maintain eye contact when talking to the student.
  • Convey interest, concern and alertness through body posture  and facial expression.
  • Don't fear students with mental health problems. The majority of these students just need someone to listen. If you understand that they may need help, the situation should not turn hostile.
  • Monitor group work. Be sure everyone is involved when you break into small groups. If someone is trying to do all the work and is also experiencing a mental health problem, it will cause him anxiety.
  • Remember, you don't need specialized knowledge to help a student through a rough time.
  • Ignore behaviors that while not ordinary, are not disruptive.
  • Give out as much written material as possible to augment lectures.
  • Write on the board as much as possible.


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