When it comes to chronic illness, college campuses have a lot to learn
WBUR - 03/05/2014
I recently received e-mails from a frustrated graduate student with chronic disease who was tired of administrative roadblocks at her particular school, and a distraught parent of a college student who was about to withdraw from another school because of her health. Both e-mails sought commiseration and advice, and both speak to the same issue: What happens when patients with chronic illness enter higher education?
We might know how to accommodate hearing, vision, or mobility impairments on campus, but chronic pain conditions, autoimmune diseases, and rare diseases present very different challenges. Consider the student suffering from flares of Crohn’s disease or lupus, who may appear healthy one day, but whose symptoms are completely incapacitating the next. How do we accommodate students who can’t make it to class for longer stretches, have frequent medical appointments or disruptive hospital stays, or whose medications may make them drowsy or fatigued even when they are present?