Disability Resource Center

Student Veterans

 Be aware of sensitive touch points with student-veterans

 All of us, who work with veterans, need to exercise special sensitivity around them. Soldiers are taught that weakness is bad and they may see disability as weakness.  As a result, veterans may be reluctant to discuss their personal experiences or participate in discussions relating to the war.   They may also react in unforeseen ways to certain situations.  Below are some touch points to keep in mind when dealing with student-veterans with disabilities:

Social Judgment:  Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), one of the common injuries of the war, may result in veterans having poor social judgment and shunning interpersonal interactions.

Loud noises:  Sudden and/or loud noises and movements may trigger flashbacks which affect concentration.

Environmental Factors:  Physical layouts of campus buildings and classrooms, environmental obstacles and even clutter may trigger painful memories and create unexpected reactions.

Opinions about the War:  Opinions of faculty and students expressed in classrooms about the war might cause extreme discomfort.

From:  Disability Compliance in Higher Education, September 2009