College Students with Disabilities & Special Needs
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My 17-year-old daughter, who was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, will be heading off to an East Coast college this fall. She now has trouble with small motor skills and with lifting/carrying heavy objects (she's lost upper body strength now that she no longer has full use of her hands). She also isn't supposed to use alcohol because the drugs she's on put a heavy load on her liver. We're figuring out day-to-day accommodations at home but I'm wondering what kinds of challenges she'll have to navigate when she's on her own at college. She won't be able to carry stacks of books from class to class, keys and light switches can be problematic, and I'm worried how the winter cold will affect her. If you are or have been in a similar situation (with a college-bound child with RA, lupus, MS, or any other chronic condition that affects energy and mobility) I'd really appreciate hearing from you.
Hi I had a few suggestions for you. I am not sure who her pediatric rheumatologist is but they should be able to give you some of the information. Off the top of my head from dealing with other disorders in college.
1. she needs to contact the disability office asap for accomodations
2. she may need to be on a first floor of a dorm if it is a walk up. A letter from your doctor to the housing office or disability office will help.
3. does she need a special bathroom? does she need assistance with dressing and bathing? That depends on the degree of arthritis.
4. how does she do with cold and severe heat? She may need a dorm with air conditioning
5. may want a dorm near the gym because exercise is important with JRA
6. Disability office can help with providing note takers if she is unable to write or type fast enough. Sometimes they provide tapes of the class.
7. can she do lab science? PE requirement? etc
8. may be able to deduct cost of computer for college since essential for her health status.
9. electric blanket?
10.she may need driving to classes from security with flares. Most schools have this with a golf cart sort of thing. I would also suggest you log on to College Confidential website and ask the exact same question in the Parents cafe discusion section.