Cystic Fibrosis: Accommodating for College
Attending college is one of life's most important milestones for many people and a huge step in the direction of the future they want to build for themselves and their family. Having cystic fibrosis (CF) may certainly present many obstacles, but it does not have to mean that academic goals and future dreams are unattainable. However, adding college to a life with cystic fibrosis does present additional challenges to be met and obstacles to overcome.
Before attending college or university, it’s important to consider which special allowances will be necessary in addition to any services or accommodations from the school to help reach one’s academic goals while keeping their health in tiptop condition. Some examples of accommodations include having a single dorm, or a parking permission that allows a spot closer to the college entrance. There are both federal and state laws put in place to protect the rights of individuals with health conditions and to ensure that adequate medical needs are met while attending college.
Personal doctors, your CF team, or caseworkers should be able to inform you of where to turn to learn more information about your rights, what accommodations you might need (now and later), and how to work most effectively with your college.
Attending college is among the various important milestones we all hope to achieve. It is a huge step towards the future for an individual. But those with cystic fibrosis may certainly face certain hurdles in entering a good college or university. However, having this medical condition in no way makes them any less capable than the other students in terms of achieving their goals. So, before one enters college, it is important to find out the details as to what allowances would be required apart from the necessary accommodations or extra services. No college or university that is covered under Section 504 can deny admission to any qualified student solely on the basis that they are suffering from a certain chronic medical illness such as cystic fibrosis or are physically disabled. You can reach out to the administration department or the student support center for any questions pertaining to health accommodations. When you are asking for a permission or accommodation, you will need to provide the school authorities with the doctor’s requests for accommodation as well as obtain a written agreement from the school which should state that they are now willing to provide the accommodation.
If your accommodation is too far from the campus, arrangements should be made to get in touch with the CF care team closest to the school in order to make any kind of arrangements in case of an emergency situation. The exact accommodation you are looking for is something to be determined by you and the CF care team, however, there are various options and commonly requested accommodations available for CF, and they include: parking on campus; leniency in class attendance rules; the student should be given time to complete their coursework even after the course has been completed; housing should be on campus; allowance to record the class lecture in case the individual is absent due to their illness; changes can be made in the number of course hours the student should attend every semester; and certain needs of the student should be met in their personal accommodations, which can include a private room that is close to the bathroom or a room that has its own private bathroom.
However, if any school or university has denied your request for an accommodation, you have the right to file a complaint with the school authorities. One can also report this denial to the CF care team, wherein there should be a mention of the violation of section 504. Also, with the accommodation, the individual has to be sure to take care of them properly, meaning that timely medications should be taken since, if the treatment is not carried out properly, the individual will also have to face those negative consequences. It will take a lot of work at first, but over time, the individual will get used to this change. Initially, the transition may seem to be a daunting task and even next to impossible, but it can be made smoother by not allowing the disease to get in the way of achieving your goals, both academic and not.