Hello everyone, A little background on me. I went back to college to purse a bachelors degree in Fall of 2010. I was diagnosed with MPS in Spring of 2011 and fibromyalgia in December of 2011. The spring semester of 2012 was not too bad. I had one night class and I took one class online. This upcoming semester I have a class at 9:30 in the morning (yuck, even prefibro I was not a morning person) and a class at 2:00pm. I live an hour away from the school so going home between classes is not an option. I am really concerned because after one class I am so wiped out, and all I want to do it take a nap. I can't imagine how bad its going to be with 2 classes and a three hour break in the meantime.
Onto my question. My school offers an accomodative services center where they will help students with disabilities. I am trying to make a list of reasonable requests to help me get through the semester. Here are some things I plan on asking and would love feedback if you can think of any others
1. Excused absences and to be able to make up any work missed
2. Permission to use my computer in class. I have problems with writing for long periods of time
3. Permission to excuse myself in the middle of class to move around
I would also love some advice on handling fibro fog. I have struggled with cognitive disabilities that seem to be getting worse. For example last semester I would do an assignment and forget to submit it (I had a very forgiving professor for that class). I tend to forget instructions unless I write them down. I also have a very hard time following instructions given in class (I am a computer major and I feel the rest of the class catches on a lot faster than I do).
I apologize for the long post and welcome any advice.
I have had medical problems relating to my bipolar (I also have ADHD) and I would go into the hospital. My professors excused my absences (except in chem where I had a lab) and I was able to have my dad pick up my work. If I couldn't do it, it was fine. There is only the problem that some people think fibro is this made up condition.
Just get a note from your doctor and ask what he/she thinks would be reasonable and have him write out a letter describing the severity of your condition and your limitations. You may be able to get a note-taker for days you miss classes as well as work out with the professor to do some work from home on some days. Of course this does not excuse you from attending classes, you still have to go at times. They can't make a lecture class into an online class. Note-taker's were a life saver for me. And I had a friend tape lectures for me. You could also ask if you can give your professor a tape recorder to tape your lectures when you are not there. I missed classes due to health problems and my professor knew I already taped lectures and he taped them for me and e-mailed them to me.
See if you can maybe take a nap in the school nurse's office or medical facility? I don't know too many quite places on a college campus besides the library, which is not all the quiet really.
Also, maybe see if your classroom will accommodate an outlet so you can plug in a heating pad or maybe be able to get ice packs from the nurse if you need it. And breaks so you can get up and move around outside the classroom in the hallways. Most professors realizee it's hard to sit for a long period of time and they don't mind if you get up and go out for a few. Best to tell them before hand.
Lastly, make SURE there is a disabilities office. I went to a school once where there was no office of disabilites and I had one professor refuse my accommodations until I went and brought her a copy of the ADA> Sometimes that office, sign up with a counselor, is your best advocate if you have trouble with your professors.
Hello everybody, thank you for all the wonderful responses. It never occured to me to ask to lay down in the health center. My school does have a disabiility center, that is who I normally deal with. I have never had a problem requesting absences in the past, I guess that's one benefit to being an older student. I don't know what the health center will say but its worth asking. There really aren't any other quiet places on campus to rest and I have a hard time sleeping in a chair or a couch. Thank you again and I hope everybody has a pain free day.
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: Prettyinpink81 Pammyann (08-23-2012), waters04 (08-07-2012)
Hi Pink! I am a college professor, so maybe I can add some insight from the other side of the podium. First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough(!), make sure to be proactive. Here are the best things that you can do to be proactive:
1. Let your college professors know ahead of time that you will be needing some additional leeway with absences, moving around, etc. Near the end of the semester/quarter, we have so many students who try to get their absences excused. And, after a while, everything sounds suspicious.
2. Get Student Services (or Student Disabilities) involved. Give them documentation of what is going on and let them know what you need. They can help coordinate things such as notetakers and they can also advocate on your behalf.
Number 2 is EXTREMELY important, and here is why: Without getting student services involved, college professors have no choice but to follow the rules set forth by their syllabus. They cannot 'bend' the rules for one student and not for the others. For example, in my classes, anyone who misses more than 5 days during the semester automatically fails the class - no ifs, ands, or buts. And, at the end of the semester, I always have no less than 4 or 5 students who try to get me to allow them to pass even though they have missed more than the allotted days (you would be surprised at the number of students whose grandparents passed away during the semester). However, I cannot pick and choose which student's excuses I will accept and which ones I will not. Out of fairness to everyone, I must follow the rules of my syllabus.
HOWEVER, students who have the university's approval to miss several days during the semester and who have let me know ahead of time what is going on are not bound to the same rules of the syllabus. I had a student last year who suffered from a rare autoimmune disorder and missed over half of the classes. She let me know at the beginning of the semester what was going on and she took the proper steps through the university to have her disability documented, that she did just fine in my class. But, if she had waited until the end of the semester to tell me about her autoimmune disorder in an attempt to get her absences excused (and no documentation with the university), I would have failed her.
This is also important when it comes to class work/home work. There were a lot of assignments that were due at a certain time/day - no exceptions. However, with documentation, the 'no exceptions' can be turned into 'exceptions.'
So, make sure to be proactive - let your professors know what to expect during the semester and get the university to stand behind you.