Supported Education and Psychiatric Disabilities. By DeAnne Lonnquist and Karen Hughes. Agenda. What is a psychiatric disability? What is supported education? Classroom Challenges Instructional Strategies . What is a psychiatric disability?.
By DeAnne Lonnquist and
A psychiatric disability is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. They often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Serious psychiatric disabilities include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.
Psychiatric disabilities can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Psychiatric disabilities are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Psychiatric disabilities are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disability can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.
One in four adults approximately 61.5 million Americans have or will experience some form of a psychiatric disability in a given year. About 13.6 million Americans live with chronic psychiatric disabilities i.e. Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD.
Research indicates that with support individuals with psychiatric disabilities are able to improve and enhance professional and personal behaviors and return to work or school.
Supported Education allows individuals to trade the identity of mental patient for that of student and productive employee.
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized behavior and speech. These symptoms can cause disruptions in an individual’s ability to learn.
Mood disorders are associated with mood swings ranging from extreme highs i.e. high energy, inability to maintain focus and/or concentrate and extreme lows i.e. feelings of despair, lack of motivation, inability to focus and/or concentrate. Mood disorders include
Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder
Anxiety disorders are defined as the inability to control feelings of anxiety or excessive worrying. Anxiety Disorders interfere with the ability to focus and concentrate. Anxiety Disorders include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Exercise: There will be 4 Participants in each group. Each participant will have a role, which are teacher, learner, positive voice, and negative voice. The teacher will explain a lesson of “reading a passage from a book.” The “voices” will start talking in the learner’s ears, one saying positive things and the other saying negative things. A discussion will follow.
“Supported Education is a recovery-oriented practice that aids individuals with psychiatric disabilities who want to begin or return to school to complete their educational goals (Mowbray, et al., 2005).”
Supported Education is defined as enabling individuals to accomplish his or her educational goals that may have been interrupted due to experiencing behavioral health symptoms as a result of having a psychiatric disability.
Whether a person is suffering from anxiety, depression, or other disorders, he or she may bring to the classroom the following kinds of challenges to learning:
Encourage the student to focus on one subject at a time.
Find out what inspires the person (don’t give up easily). Relate the response to one or more of the student’s learning goals.
Develop a realistic plan for achieving the student’s goals. Break it down into small increments so the student can see results at each step.
Discuss the best time to study for homework.
Find another student to pair up with the low-energy student when possible.
Look for ways to reward the student and increase hopefulness.
Help students recognize and acknowledge positive contributions and performance.
Keep a record of the student’s accomplishments so you can show it to him or her occasionally.
Ask the person what works at home.
Try to establish a feeling of safety and acceptance in the learning environment.
Provide a consistent, predictable routine as much as possible.
Allow the learner to take breaks as needed, including taking a walk or doing a breathing exercise.
Offer lessons that are at or just above the learner’s current level of achievement.
Break assignments into manageable pieces.
Help learners measure incremental progress, so they have visible evidence of their accomplishments.
In the learning environment, help the student identify realistic learning goals.
An accommodation is an adjustment in a classroom environment, or task, or requirement, that allows a person with a disability to participate equally with others.
Karen Unger, 1998
Karen Unger, 1998
L: Sometimes, I forget that on top of age, they deal with all sorts of cognitive barriers i.e. hearing voices and impaired memories. Repetition and using real life experiences help my learners connect to the lesson being taught.
D: Sometimes my learners have difficulty with concentrating and staying on task. It can be frustrating. But when one of the learners answers a question correctly, or completes an assignment, it is worth all the frustrations I have experienced!
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
National Alliance of Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information and handouts on various topics
National Mental Health Association
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Bellamy, Chyrell. (2010). Recovery to Practice. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/RecoveryToPractice/Resources/rtp_enewsletter/enewsletter_final_10_29_10.html
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). Supported Education Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) Kit Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Supported-Education-Evidence-Based-Practices-EBP-Kit/SMA11-4654CD-ROM
National Alliance of Mental Illness. (2014). What is Mental Illness? Retrieved on February 28, 2014, from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness
Unger, Karen. (1998). Handbook On Supported Education: Providing Services For Student With Psychiatric Disabilities. Baltimore, Maryland. Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co.