Some students have psychological disabilities such as depression, bipolar
disorder, or severe anxiety. Psychological disabilities complicate many areas
of life, including education.
Every case is different, but there are some commonalties in the academic
experiences of students with psychological disabilities. These students report
difficulties with focusing, concentrating, and completing work in a timely
writing, and math may require extra effort and more time. Ability to function
effectively may vary from day to day; in response to stress, students may
experience an increase in symptoms. Medications help with some symptoms of
psychological disability, but medication side-effects (for example, drowsiness
or headaches) can contribute to a student's academic problems.
We suggest that you review our suggestions about learning disabilities and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; a number of these
suggestions will also be appropriate for students with psychological
disabilities. Following are some suggestions specifically addressed to the
needs of students who have psychological disabilities.
This section adapted
from University of California, Berkeley Disabled Students’ Program
- Psychological disabilities are not well
understood and accepted in our society, and many students with psychological
disabilities have good reason to fear the reactions of others. Please make
every effort to make students feel comfortable if they disclose their
psychological disabilities to you. Don't press students to explain their
disabilities if they do not wish to do so; with the consent of the student, SDS
disability specialists can provide you with further information.
- Understand that for disability-related reasons,
these students may sometimes have to miss class, or even leave the room in the
middle of a class. The students will be responsible for the content of any
lectures missed, but they will appreciate your helping them to fill in the