Chronic Medical Conditions
There are a variety of medical conditions that may restrict a student’s full participation in all activities of the University. These conditions include, but are not limited to, epilepsy, diabetes, and other non-visible limitations. At times, it is not the condition itself, but the medication that is required to control symptoms, that impairs academic performance. Common side effects of medication include fatigue, memory loss, shortened attention span, loss of concentration, and drowsiness. In some cases, the degree of impairment may vary from time to time because of the nature of the disability or the medication. Some conditions are regressive and others may be stable. Due to the nature of the disability, the degree of limitation may fluctuate. Therefore, accommodation needs may vary throughout the semester, but the student would still be required to complete the course assignments.
A partial list of chronic medical conditions includes:
- AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- Cardiovascular Disorders
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chronic Pain
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Mononucleosis (Mono)
- Motor Neuron Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Renal-Kidney Disease
- Respiratory Disorder
- Sickle-cell Anemia
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Accommodations may include:
- Extended time for exams
- Enlarged print materials
- Scribes, readers, or recorders for course materials
- Computers or other adaptive equipment
- Flexibility in attendance requirements in cases of health-related absences
Chronic pain may result in limitations to strength, standing, walking, climbing, sitting, kneeling, stooping, and carrying. Cold or sudden changes in the temperature may increase the onset of pain. Students with chronic pain may need to stand or change positions intermittently during class. Severe pain may increase the number of absences, but the student would still be required to complete the course assignments.
Students who are subject to seizure disorders may have impaired consciousness, involuntary movements, and brief lapses of attention. Usually the seizures will be brief and infrequent. When a seizure occurs, there is a brief change in the normal functioning of the brain’s electrical system.
First aid for seizures (convulsions, generalized tonic-clonic, grand mal):
- Cushion head
- Loosen tight neck-ware
- Nothing in mouth
- Look for I.D.
- Do not hold down
- Offer help as seizure ends
Although most seizures end naturally without emergency treatment, a seizure in someone who does not have epilepsy could be a sign of a serious illness. Call for medical assistance (911) if any of the following occur:
- Seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes
- No “epilepsy/seizure disorder” I.D.
- Slow recovery, a second seizure, or difficult breathing afterwards
- Pregnancy or other medical I.D.
Temporary Medical Conditions
Some disabilities are temporary, but may require accommodations for a limited time. Students who are recovering from surgery, injury, or severe illness may be unaware of accommodations that may be reasonable for a limited time period. Encouraging students to contact the DLRC and talk with faculty and staff may prevent them from dropping out of school. The student, faculty/staff member, and DLRC staff may work together to establish reasonable accommodations.
Medical conditions that may require extended absences from class cannot be reasonably accommodated if participation in the class is expected. The DLRC cannot excuse absences from class, as this is a faculty responsibility. The student will still be responsible for all assignments, projects, papers, quizzes, and tests. The DLRC will communicate to the faculty requests for consideration and assistance regarding class absences and make-up work, but the final decision is that of the faculty.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
There is a wide range of differences in the effects of TBI on the individual, but most cases result in some type of impairment. The functions that may be affected include memory, cognitive/perceptual communication, speed of thinking, communication, spatial reasoning, conceptualization, psycho-social behaviors, motor abilities, sensory perception, and physical abilities.
Students with TBI may have difficulty with one or more of the following:
- Organizing thoughts, cause-effect relationships, and problem solving
- Processing information and word retrieval
- Generalizing and integrating skills
- Compensating for memory loss
Accommodations may be similar to those students with learning disabilities:
- Need established routine with step-by-step directions
- Need repetition or some type of reinforcement of information to be learned
- Reduced course load
- Advanced Pre-Registration
- Course substitution for nonessential course requirements in major
- Recording lectures
- Copies of classmate’s notes
- Extended time on tests
- Proctoring testing in a quiet, separate area
- Student responds orally to essay test
- Alternative type of exam
- Scribe, word processor, or speech recognition program
- Test responses read back to the student for clarification
- Reader, texts on cassette or CD
- Use of Irlen lenses or colored transparencies (overlays)
- Word processor with spell check
- Extended time for in-class assignments to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar