Psychological Impairments

Psychological disorders cover a wide range of conditions and disabilities such as neuroses, psychoses, and personality disorders.  These disorders also include but are not limited to dissociative disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.  There are many misconceptions and myths about mental illness and psychological impairments that bring fear among the general population.  When properly diagnosed and treated, people with these impairments lead active and productive lives.

Like other disabilities, these impairments may be hidden and, in fact, latent, with little or no effect on learning.  Problems can also occur with the side affects of the medications, giving a two-fold situation for the student to work through.

Although most students with psychological disabilities never draw attention to themselves by behaving disruptively, a few, because their symptoms are more persistent and/or cyclical, may experience periods in which “holding it together” becomes more difficult.  Disciplinary issues should not be confused with mental health issues.  All students, including students with psychological disabilities, have the responsibility to meet the code of student conduct by adapting behavior to the education environment.

Possible academic adjustments for students with psychological disorders would be:

  • Extended time for exams, usually time and a half, but sometime double.
  • A non-distracting environment to take the exam
  • Note taker for classes especially lecture type classes
  • Readers or Taped information
  • Assistance with time management and/or study skills
  • Encouragement to use relaxation and stress reduction techniques during exams
  • Assistance with panic attack control
  • A “buddy” who can type record, take notes, and gather handouts when absent from class.
  • Flexibility in the attendance requirements in case of health-related absences.
  • Incompletes or late withdrawals in place of course failures in the event of prolonged illness.
  • Do not attempt to counsel the student yourself, refer the student to the university’s counseling center in Murphy Hall.

If abusive or threatening behavior occurs, refer the matter to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the University Police.