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Accomodating emotionally impaired

The first priority for teachers and parents is to identify special needs students and figure out how to give them equal education opportunities.

They should begin by asking two important questions: Special education focuses on academic programs that help individuals who are physically, mentally or emotionally impaired.

The phrase “least-restrictive” environment means schools that receive public funding have an obligation to give all students the opportunity to learn in regular classrooms to the greatest extent possible.

"Mental illness" refers to the collection of all diagnosable mental disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, relating, and functional behaviors.

Section 504 of the Rehabilition Act: --Prohibits schools from disriminating against children with disabilities.

--Requires schools to provide accomodations for disabled students.

Tens of thousands of students enrolled in American postsecondary institutions report having a mental illness.

Recent increases in the size of this group are due in part to improved medications that result in symptoms mild enough for them to enjoy the benefits and meet the challenges of postsecondary education.

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However, students with mental illness may experience symptoms that interfere with their educational goals and that create a "psychiatric disability." These symptoms may include, yet are not limited to: A student with a mental illness may have one or more of the following psychiatric diagnoses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Bipolar affective disorder (BAD, previously called manic depressive disorder).

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