Disability description and career possibilities:
This student has bipolar disorder, which is characterized by changes in mood. He experiences days where he feels very low and unmotivated (depressed). He also experiences days where his thoughts are racing and he has difficulty concentrating (mania). He takes medication as a part of his mental health treatment, and at times experiences some side effects to the medication. He has been quite successful in his coursework and is an active participant in many college activities. Many such individuals routinely attain college degrees and work as accountants, human service paraprofessionals, computer programmers, psychologists, nurses, business owners, etc.
Basic access needs for classrooms and lab:
This student may need to take a break during the class session to use the restroom or get a drink of water. Common side effects to many of the medications for psychological disabilities are increased need to use the restroom, and dry mouth.
Very often, an alternative to conventional note taking methods may be necessary. These note taking accommodations are beneficial to the student when he may be feeling lower levels of motivation, or racing thoughts. The accommodations help to provide the student with the reassurance that he has the notes he may have missed during lecture.
- A classmate may need to be located who will be willing to share notes
- The instructor may be willing to make a copy of his/her lecture notes
- A tape recorder may be used to record the lecture
It is likely that the student’s experiences with feelings of depression or difficulty with anxiety and concentration will make it necessary for him to take tests outside the classroom, with additional time allowed and a less distracting environment. We call this Testing Accommodations. When such accommodations are appropriate, the student will be given a form to present to the instructor. This gives the instructor control over how the test will be delivered to our office, and other testing conditions such as whether the student can use calculators, notes, etc.
The Learning Assistance Program’s Computer and Assistive Technology Lab has resources that can assist this student. Dictation, reading, brainstorming and organizational software programs can help him develop technology skills that will enhance his independence as a student and a future employee. Our faculty and staff in the lab evaluate students’ needs and assist them in acquiring the needed skills.