Psychological Disabilities

According to the Mayo Clinic, a psychological disability “refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior.” Some common types of psychological disabilities include: Clinical Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Anxiety Disorders.

Considerations and instructional strategies:
  • Include the approved disability accommodation statement in the course syllabus. Invite students to contact you if they need disability-related accommodations.
  • Create an outline for each class session including important takeaways.
  • Allow for a short break during long class sessions.
  • Provide clear and concise instructions.
  • Allow for flexible deadlines as the course permits.
  • Recognize that the symptoms a student experiences may vary in intensity and length each day.
  • Understand that the student's motivation, mood, alertness, and/or participation may be impacted.
  • When in doubt about how best to assist your student, ask them. Remember that confidentiality is important so it is best to have the conversation in private (e.g. during your office hours).
Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Testing accommodations: extended time and access to a reduced distraction testing environment
  • Priority seating
  • Permission to use tape-recorders and/or laptop computers for note-taking
  • Flexible attendance requirements and assignment deadlines, as permitted by the course