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Lesson 07: Health

Lesson 06 | Lesson 07 | Lesson 08

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 7: HEALTH


The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the issues
and strategies related specifically to accommodating students with

By reflecting on YOUR course while reading the CONTENT, you will be
guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY
related to HEALTH impairments. By considering and discussing the
ACCESS ISSUES in a case study reading, you will develop an awareness
of additional strategies and accommodations.

Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

What challenges might students with HEALTH impairments face in your
selected course? What accommodations might they require?


We are now concentrating on accommodations for students with specific
disabilities or impairments. This lesson presents issues and
suggestions for accommodating students with HEALTH impairments.

There are a range of medical diagnoses and subsequent health problems
that can have a TEMPORARY or CHRONIC IMPACT on a student's academic
performance. Common diagnoses include arthritis, cancer, Multiple
Sclerosis, Asthma, AIDS, and heart disease. Unless the condition is
neurological in nature, health impairments are not likely to directly
affect learning. However, the secondary effects of illness and the
side effects of medications can have a SIGNIFICANT IMPACT on MEMORY,

Health impairments can result in a range of academic challenges for a
student. Problems may include MISSING CLASS for unpredictable and
prolonged time periods and difficulties attending classes full-time or
on a daily basis. Health problems may also interfere with the PHYSICAL
SKILLS needed to be successful in laboratory, computer, or writing
classes. Individuals with ARTHRITIS, for example, may have DIFFICULTY
WRITING due to pain or joint deformities, thus making it difficult to
meet the writing requirements for some classes. Students with Multiple
Sclerosis may not be able to MANIPULATE small LABORATORY EQUIPMENT or
complete tasks that require precise measuring, graphing, or
drawing. Prolonged sitting may pose challenges for an individual with
chronic pain or back problems. Illness or injury may result in
LIMITATIONS in MOBILITY which require the need for a wheelchair or
scooter to get across campus. Some students must AVOID specific
ACTIVITIES that trigger their condition. For example, a student with
asthma may need to avoid specific inhalants in a lab.

INSTRUCTOR FLEXIBILITY plays a key role in supporting the success of
students with health impairments as many HEALTH CONDITIONS by nature
are UNPREDICTABLE. The provision of COURSE OUTLINES with clear and
well organized information regarding readings, materials, assignments,
and exams can help the student plan, organize, and prioritize his
semester requirements. Posting course information on the Web is
another way for a student to acquire important information without the
need to be physically present in class. PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of deadlines
and exams may help the student plan doctor appointments and/or medical
procedures around important class dates.

minimize travel and classroom-based instruction provide FEASIBLE
ALTERNATIVES for students with illnesses that make regular CLASS

Examples of TYPICAL ACCOMMODATIONS for students who have HEALTH
impairments include:
* Note takers and note taking services
* Audiotaped or videotaped class sessions
* Flexible attendance requirements
* Extended exam time or alternative testing arrangements
* Assignments available in electronic format
* The use of electronic mail for faculty-student meetings and
discussion groups for class discussions
* Web page or electronic mail distribution of course materials and
lecture notes
* An environment which minimizes fatigue and injury
* An ergonomic workstation with adjustable keyboard trays, monitor
risers, glare guards, foot rests, adjustable chairs, and/or
anti-fatigue matting
* Speech recognition computer input devices, ergonomic keyboards,
one-handed keyboards, expanded keyboards, or miniature keyboards


HEALTH impairments affect daily living and can have a TEMPORARY or
CHRONIC IMPACT on a student's academic performance to the ACCESS
ISSUES question.

Be aware that when health conditions result in PERMANENT or TEMPORARY
MOBILITY problems, accommodations for students with MOBILITY
impairments may be appropriate (refer to the email messages titled
"Academic Accommodations 6: MOBILITY").

Your FLEXIBILITY, the STUDENT'S efforts to plan, organize, and
prioritize his course workload, and the assistance of the DISABLED
STUDENT SERVICES OFFICE in determining reasonable accommodations will
all play important roles in supporting the academic success of the
STUDENT with HEALTH impairments.


After reading the following case study, SEND an email message to the
group, suggesting accommodations.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 7: HEALTH.

My name is Karen.  I'm a third-year math education student with
Rheumatoid Arthritis.  On a good day I can attend my classes, take
notes, and participate without difficulty.  When my arthritis is
problematic, I have a hard time gripping a pencil to write.  I also
fatigue very quickly and cannot work on homework for prolonged periods
of time.

My arthritis interferes with my ability to type quickly and
efficiently as well as to take handwritten class notes.  My doctor has
recently restricted me from typing and writing for extended periods of
time.  I also have difficulty carrying out extended math notations and
writing my lesson plans for my education class.  I also must
frequently miss class due to my health issues. What accommodations can
be made to help me with these difficulties?


You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case
studies, or access additional resources at:

(c) 2001 DO-IT. Permission is granted to copy material in this email
for educational, non-commercial purposes provided the source is
acknowledged. Contact DO-IT at: 1-206-685-3648, or