Techniques: Teaching Strategies for Use with Adult Schizophrenics

By Nelson, Margaret L. | Journal of Adult Education, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Techniques: Teaching Strategies for Use with Adult Schizophrenics


Nelson, Margaret L., Journal of Adult Education


This paper explores teaching strategies that can be used effectively with adult schizophrenics. Cognitive and behavioral elements of the disorder are discussed, as well as theories on the etiology of schizophrenia. Communication and teaching methods are suggested that may help the schizophrenic to discern the context and interrelationships of new ideas and situations, thus allowing learning to occur.

Introduction

In the realm of special populations, schizophrenics are classified as "emotionally disturbed" (Sarkees & Scott, 1986, p.33). There is little discussion of the schizophrenic's perceptions and behaviors or of specific methods that instructors can use to facilitate learning. Schizophrenia typically does not manifest until the late teens or early 20's in males and late 20's in females. It is rarely seen in the K - 12 grades. This may account for it being largely overlooked in the literature on special populations. Nevertheless, schizophrenia is not an "emotional disturbance." It is one of the most debilitating and tragic of all mental disorders, and its symptoms cannot be controlled through counseling or psychotherapy alone.

In the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program at Eastern Idaho Technical College (EITC), we provide services to a variety of special populations. Counselors or caseworkers from Vocational Rehabilitation or other agencies typically refer students in need of basic skills upgrade to the ABE program. Some of these students have been physically disabled on the job and need to retrain in another profession. Others have decided to pursue a GED or High School Equivalency Certificate. Some have suffered traumatic brain injuries, or worse, debilitating mental disorders. Of the latter, the worst disorder by far is that of schizophrenia, and most ABE instructors, even those trained in special education, are ill-prepared to handle the unique challenges these students present.

It is not uncommon for schizophrenics to lead relatively normal lives for several years at a time, particularly if medications are effective and well-monitored. However, this is not the only relevant issue. Good nutrition, a therapeutic team that works together in the patient's best interests, and a supportive family are all equally important. Unfortunately, in most cases one or more of these factors are missing. Relapse is a constant threat, and most schizophrenics periodically spend time in state mental hospitals or other facilities. Although many schizophrenics are highly intelligent and have led healthy, normal lives up to the age of onset, many others come from dysfunctional families where relationships and cognitive/emotional development is negatively affected through drug and alcohol abuse. This is the typical schizophrenic student that enters an ABE program.

Background of Disorder

"Schizophrenia is a term used to describe a complex, extremely puzzling condition - the most chronic and disabling of the major mental illnesses" (Shore, 1986, p.2). Schizophrenia is not, as many have been led to believe, split personalities, but is characterized by the sudden onset of psychosis, a degeneration of normal intellectual and social functioning and a complete or partial split from the reality most of us experience. Psychosis may include visual or auditory hallucinations (hearing voices); incoherent speech; extreme fixations on ideas, images, or people; delusions; suicidal ideation; and any variety of bizarre behaviors.

In the past, schizophrenia has been to mental illness what today Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may be to learning disorders a handy catch-all diagnosis. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Psychiatrists recognize that a psychotic episode can be triggered by a variety of factors, including drug use or sleep deprivation. Schizophrenia is also associated with the onset of other types of mental illnesses, such as Bi-polar Disorder (manic-depression) or borderline personality disorders. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Techniques: Teaching Strategies for Use with Adult Schizophrenics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.