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The Delusional Student

This student has poor contact with reality and cannot distinguish fantasy from reality.  The delusional student will often have hallucinations and see or hear things that are not real and have delusional, irrational thinking.  Some other signs of a delusional student are:

  • Confused, illogical, irrational thinking
  • Hears voices
  • Sees things that are not there
  • Expresses inappropriate responses to situations such as laughing at something that is serious
  • Uses language that is non-sense, "gibberish" words
  • Dresses inappropriately such as layers of warm clothes on a warm day
  • Poor hygiene

When dealing with a delusional student, here are some do's and don'ts:

     Do:

  • Demonstrate concern and care for the student
  • Decrease extra stimulation in the environment such as being in a noisy classroom
  • Acknowledge the student's feelings, thoughts and fears without agreeing or supporting the misperceptions (e.g., "I know you see a man sitting next to you but I don't see him")
  • Ask for specific information and clarification
  • Focus on the present and ascertain if the student is aware of the date, time and place
  • Refer to the Counseling Center

     Don't

  • Argue or try to persuade that the student's perceptions are in error
  • Play along and say you see or hear things that you don't
  • Encourage further elaboration of the delusional thought processes
  • Expect customary responses
  • Demand, order or command