Students who have Chronic Medical Conditions
What is a Chronic Medical Condition?
The category of chronic medical condition is very broad, and refers to
any medical condition that affects one or more of the body's systems,
including the digestive, respiratory, endocrine, immune, circulatory,
and neurological systems. There are many examples of chronic medical
conditions that can affect a student's ability to function at school,
including cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, epilepsy, lyme disease, lupus,
MS, sickle cell anemia, Crohn's disease and many more conditions, not
all of which will be visible to an observer. In fact, chronic medical
conditions are often hidden disabilities.
What kind of challenges might I expect when working with a student who has a chronic medical condition?
Chronic illnesses present unique challenges because they are often
unstable and their severity can vary over time. For example, a person
with sickle cell anemia may have flare ups of the condition that causes
them to have more absences than other students. Some students may also
have to keep frequent appointments with specialists that monitor their
health which may be difficult to reschedule.
Is the university attendance policy enforced for students with chronic medical conditions?
All students, no matter what type of disability they may have, are
expected to adhere to the same policies and procedures set forth by the
university. A student with a chronic medical condition is not absolved
of the responsibility of attending classes. However, instructors are
encouraged to be flexible with attendance and deadlines if possible.
Typically, students who may have more absences due to a medical
condition are willing to do all of the work required, but they are not
able to attend class as often as their peers. More information about
attendance and disability can be obtained by contacting SDS and viewing
the information on attendance and disability (LINK).
What kinds of accommodations are provided to students with chronic medical conditions?
Each student is different and there are a wide variety of
accommodations that may need to be arranged. Students should meet with
the office of student disability services in order to discuss what
types of accommodations are available and appropriate.
Can I ask a student what their condition is in order to provide them with more specific assistance?
Our office guarantees all students a degree of confidentiality and
as such, students are not required to disclose the nature of their
condition to instructors unless they choose to do so. Depending on the
nature of the condition, a student may be more cautious about revealing
details because they fear embarrassment or even discrimination based on
their disability. Medical conditions such as HIV or Irritable Bowel
Syndrome are very personal, therefore individuals with these conditions
are often guarded about giving more than basic information.
How do I know that a student really needs accommodations if I don't know what their condition is?
All students who self-identify to SDS and are determined to be eligible
for reasonable accommodations have submitted appropriate medical
documentation. SDS certifies that any student who provides an academic
adjustment letter to their instructor is entitled to the outlined
reasonable accommodations. If you have specific questions about
accommodations, or have questions about what is on a student's academic
adjustment notice, please contact SDS.
What if I need more information?
Additional information about working with students with disabilities is
available from the Office of Student Disability Services. For further information, contact Student Disability Services via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 212.229.5626.