Teaching a student with Schizophrenia can be a challenge for teachers. The student with this mental disability falls under the Educable Mentally Handicapped category of the Emotionally or Behaviorally Handicapped Student (EH). This is an industry-wide criteria that assists teachers in knowing what a child’s needs are. Teaching the student includes putting together an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) or specific learning guide for each student. An IEP often calls for accommodations and modifications for the student who has schizophrenia. Some specific accommodations and modifications would include using graphic organizers for comprehension and mnemonic devices to aid memory recall.
1. Create an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). This is a plan that is created specifically for each student with a disability, including students who are schizophrenic. A meeting should be held with all teachers who teach the students, the school psychologist, therapists, a guidance counselor, parents, and the student if they are old enough and able to comprehend. At this meeting, staff will create a plan for the student including any accommodations or modifications that will help the student. Some of these changes might include using graphic organizers, mnemonic devices or using a different text book.
2. Use accommodations for your student with schizophrenia. Accommodations simply means changes are made in how the student learns. Students with schizophrenia often have problems with comprehension and memory recall. Graphic organizers are a visual map of ideas or concepts that a student should comprehend. They are worksheets used to organize thoughts. They help a student to comprehend what they are reading. Please click on the “Graphic Organizers” link in the reference section for a good place to find graphic organizers. Students are first taught use the graphic organizer, then practice using it with a study or lesson. The student can then use these in later assignments to help with comprehension.
Another accommodation is to teach the student use mneomonic devices. Most people remember a mnemonic device they learned in math: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, which gives the order of operations in math (paranthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction). These devices help a student remember a list, information, or a process order. Some of these can be found by clicking on the link associated with “Mneomonic Devices” in the reference section of this article.
3. Put in place modifications for the student. A modification is a change to what the student is expected to learn and how they will be tested and graded. If a student is placed in a regular classroom, there will be little, if any, modifications. The student will learn what other students are learning. A modification has more value in a special education classroom. Students who are schizophrenic will have modifications which include working on a lower grade level book. A student who takes a different, easier standardized test, would also be taking advantage of a modification.