"But I have been able to work with some faculty here who are very laid-back and easy-going and can find alternative ways that students can get credit.”"Students with lupus or arthritis and then HIV, different kinds of chronic illnesses or conditions, have always been present and campuses ...have been addressing their needs individually, either through the disability office or maybe individually, an instructor with a student," says Richard Allegra, director of professional development for the Association on Higher Education and Disability.Royster says that the initiative is developing more formal policies about student responsibilities if they become unable to complete their class-work mid-course, and notes that “the student’s own approach to it makes a difference.”Chronic Conditions and the College Campus Nationwide, many colleges do have protocols in place to deal with the unpredictability that comes with chronic disease -- when students come to them, of course. At the University of Kentucky, for instance, Susan Fogg, the disability accommodations consultant, says that for students who come to her with documentation of chronic diseases, she'll send letters to relevant faculty members informing them that that the students have conditions that could require them to miss class.Fogg -- who is seeing an increase in the number of chronic illnesses on campus, with 25 new students reporting cases of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease to her this fall alone -- says she believes Kentucky's policy is typical.“In situations where attendance is required, we really don’t have the power to change university policy," which stipulates that faculty members can fail any student who misses more than a fifth of class meetings at their discretion, says Fogg.The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("Amendments Act" or "ADAAA"), is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.Individuals with disabilities include those who have impairments that substantially limit a major life activity, have a record (or history) of a substantially limiting impairment, or are regarded as having a disability.But, Royster says, “Almost all of them have the same kinds of needs.
"It's interesting that De Paul is saying ' Let's not forget these students.'" The Chronic Illness Initiative, Allegra says, reminds him of specialized programs other colleges have historically formed to serve deaf students or those with learning disabilities above and beyond what federal disability law requires of them.
They just want to take a full load like everybody else and unfortunately it doesn’t always work," adds Paula Kravitz, assistant director of student services for the Chronic Illness Initiative.
Students take regular courses of study, and if they don't fall ill or need extra support from the initiative, simply complete their coursework like any other student at the School for New Learning.
Cecilia Reyes was 20 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. But other than my speech right now” – she was having some difficulty talking last Thursday morning – “I look pretty normal.”“I explained everything to the office but sometimes I think if I put a cast on my arm, someone would know that sometimes things are wrong with me.” After needing to drop courses and nearly losing ,000 in tuition (which was ultimately refunded), Reyes, now 24, transferred to De Paul’s School for New Learning, a school focused almost exclusively on adult students but also home to the unique Chronic Illness Initiative, a supportive, flexible program for the growing cohort of college students (of any age) facing chronic health conditions.“Before I found out about the program, I really thought that was going to be it, that I wouldn’t be able to finish,” says Matthew Morgan, a 2006 De Paul alumnus who completed his degree through the Chronic Illness Initiative after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome as a De Paul junior.
Then a student at De Paul University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she was overwhelmed by a feeling of disconnection with professors and fellow students, and struggled to get the support she needed from the student disabilities office. “I couldn’t work, and I couldn’t go to school in any traditional way.The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 1 in 10 Americans face major limitations when it comes to day-to-day living because of chronic conditions -- the leading cause of death and disability in the nation. Gortmaker, cites a number of sobering statistics about the prevalence of chronic illnesses among children and adolescents: Among them, that the proportion who face activity limitations for long-term health reasons has increased from 1.8 percent in 1960 to more than 7 percent in 2004.