Assisting Students Who Are Diagnosed With Schizophrenia
By Limus Woods
Every now and then, a teacher will have a student that is schizophrenic. The disease is sometimes hard to spot in the beginning, but over time school administrators as well as parents will be able to decide if a mental assessment is needed to determine a child’s possible medical condition.
For example, one of the signs that may be somewhat vague in showing that a child may have schizophrenia is if they spontaneously start chatting with others about their peculiar fears and/or ideas. This “symptom” could end up being nothing more than a little boy who plays a lot of video games expressing his wild imagination to his friends. Maybe a little girl may repeat that she is scared of monsters in her closet, but it was because she saw a cartoon movie about it a night or two ago. Another “sign” is when a student has a steady decline in grades, but that could just be a sign that they need tutoring. When it comes down to the facts, no one really knows where schizophrenia comes from exactly, so how can school instructors really be sure that they are doing their best to stop a negative impact on their classroom environment?
Since it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint schizophrenia (being that the symptoms are so broad in nature) there are steps that teachers can do to be on the safe side. The Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health made a list of them on one of their classroom fact sheets for assisting those students who may have the disease. For example, they say that if a teacher is bringing a possibly schizophrenic student into a new and unfamiliar setting, that they should do it slowly. This is so that no unnecessary stress is caused to the student by the new environment. Also, one well-known symptom is when a child may kind of isolate themselves, or have real problems making friends. This behavior could possibly be remedied by the teacher in a way that doesn’t cause the diagnosed student to become the center of attention. They could make an open announcement encouraging everyone in the class to be friendlier that doesn’t mention the child’s individual name. They could suggest that students play on teams during recess, or take lunchtime as an opportunity to be more social between one another other.
Sherman, M. Ph.D. 2014. Session Four – Schizophrenia and its Impact on the Family. Department of Veteran’s Affairs PDF. Retrieved from http://www.ouhsc.edu/safeprogram/04schizophrenia.pdf
- Schizophrenia. Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health PDF. Retrieved from http://www.k12.wa.us/MentalHealthandSchools/pubdocs/MHFactSheetsCompSet.pdf
- Schizophrenia Disability Fact Sheet. Open Door Group PDF. Retrieved from http://www.opendoorgroup.org/pdf/SCHIZOPHRENIA_Fact_Sheet.pdf
World Mental Health Day. Retrieved from http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/world-mental-health-day