Jackie, a strong student, walked out in the middle of her midterm exam. When her instructor talked to her about the incident, she explained that she had studied hard for the exam. However, Jackie had been so stressed the night before that she had not been able to sleep. When she arrived at the exam, she felt that she was about to have a panic attack. Her panic symptoms increased progressively as she tried to work through the exam. She explained that finally she felt that she had to leave the exam room. Jackie shared with her instructor that she had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but explained that she didn’t want anyone else in the department to know.
The instructor suggested that Jackie register with Disability Services. He explained that any information about her disability would be kept confidential and would not appear on her student transcripts. He also gave her information about college counselling services.
Jackie found the counselling very helpful. She decided to take a reduced course load to decrease her stress and received accommodations, including taking her exams in a separate setting, to reduce her fear of having a panic attack in a classroom setting.
Using supporting documentation from her doctor and the counsellor, Jackie was able to negotiate extensions for completing the schoolwork she had missed during the episode.