Other Impairments

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a chronic blood anemia that reduces the blood supply to vital organs and the oxygen supply to the blood cells.  The medical condition occurs almost exclusively in blacks and is characterized by sickle-shaped red blood cells.  The trait and the disease itself is hereditary.  Because of the many vital organs affected, the student may suffer from eye disease, heart conditions, lung problems, and acute abdominal pain.

The student may appear in good health until a flair-up, known as a crisis, occurs.  During a crisis the student may be absent from class.  There may also be time when the student will be completely under doctor’s care and for the most part necessitate hospitalization.  The disability services office will inform the professor of any extended absences.  Severity of this disease varies, therefore the academic adjustments vary.  Professors will be informed of what will be needed once the student has disclosed and documentation have been received in the office.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS is a slow progressive central nervous system disease characterized by a decline of muscle control.  Because of the onset of the disease usually the ages of 20 to 40, students are likely to have a difficult time adjusting to their condition.  Onset is usually treacherous and without warning and its’ course is highly unpredictable.  Symptoms and signs include:  burning, prickling, itching or tingling sensation in one or more areas of the body; weakness or clumsiness of a leg or a hand; visual disturbances (dimness of vision, double vision); minor gait disturbances, difficulties with bladder control and vertigo.  Other findings regarding MD include:  apathy; lack of judgment or inattention; slow enunciation of words; numbness on one side of the face; reflexes are affected; motion is ataxic – shaky, irregular, tremulous and ineffective.  Periodic remissions are common and may last from a few days to several weeks to years.

Because the student has no way of predicting a crisis, major academic adjustments will be arranged during those periods when the student is under doctor’s care.  Side affects of medications and everyday affects of MS will be accounted for at the beginning of the semester.


Cancer can occur in almost any organ system of the body. The symptoms and particular disabling effects will vary greatly from one person to another.  People experience visual problems, lack of balance and coordination, joint pains, backaches, headaches, abdominal pains, drowsiness, lethargy, difficulty in breathing and swallowing, weakness, bleeding or anemia.

The primary treatments for cancer – radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery – may engender additional effects.  Therapy can cause drowsiness and/or fatigue, violent fits of nausea, affecting academic functioning or causing absences.  Surgery can result in amputation, paralysis, sensory deficits and language and memory problems.

Students with disabilities because of the affects of cancer or the treatments for the cancer will be worked with on an individual basis. 

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is caused by an injury to the motor center of the brain, which may have occurred before, during or shortly after birth.  Manifestations may include involuntary muscle contractions, rigidity, spasm, poor coordination, poor balance or poor spatial relations.  Visual, auditory, speech, mobility and orthopedic impairments are just a few of the possible disabilities.  Students with cerebral palsy will be academic adjustments tailored to his/her needs.

Muscular Dystrophy (MD)

Muscular Dystrophy refers to a group of over 40 hereditary, progressive disorders that most often occur with young people, producing degeneration of voluntary muscles of the trunk and lower extremities.  The atrophy of the muscles results in chronic weakness and fatigue and may cause respiratory or cardiac problems.  Walking, if at all possible, is slow and appears uncontrolled and uncoordinated.  Manipulation of materials in class could be difficult.  Academic adjustments will be decided upon based on the documentation.