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Temporary Impairments

What is a temporary impairment?

Temporary impairments include but are not limited to broken limbs, burns, post surgery recovery/rehabilitation and other similar conditions, which temporarily impair and/or interfere with a student's ability to fully participate in academic activities.

Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and have little or no long-term impact usually are not classified as disabilities, and therefore are not included under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The University is not obligated to provide services to students with temporary impairments. However, timely, honest communication about the nature and duration of the impairment and the requested accommodations can often result in a satisfactory solution to the short-term problems caused by the injury or condition.

If a student is faced with a temporary impairment, what can be done?

The primary responsibility for seeking assistance and support lies with the student. Since temporary disabilities could range from minor impairments to conditions requiring considerable need for support, every case must be handled individually. Some temporary impairments may impact a student's ability to attend class, take notes, or complete exams as scheduled. In the case of academic concerns such as these, the student should first consult with instructors to: 1) inform the instructor of the nature of the condition or impairment, and 2) discuss alternative ways to complete course requirements. Note that it is within the instructor’s purview to request a doctor’s verification, particularly in the case of a condition that may not be visually discernable, and decisions about if and how to accommodate the impairment are solely at the discretion of the instructor.

Options for acquiring class notes during the time of temporary impairment include obtaining and copying notes from a classmate, obtaining and copying notes from the instructor’s notes or taping the course with a tape recorder. Tape recorders may be checked out from Media Services IS 1010 (465-2416). There is no charge to check out a tape recorder and arrangements may be made for an extended check out period. If the student is enrolled in a course where a paid note-taker is already present to assist a student with a permanent disability, the student will be able to obtain copies of the notes, with the prior approval from the Student Accessibility Services Office. 

Often, the temporary impairment may involve mobility concerns. In such instances, the student may need to contact the Parking Office to request a temporary disability parking permit, which will allow parking in handicap parking spots, and hence easier access to buildings. 

The Wellness Center can also provide assistance to a student with a temporary disability. Nurses and physicians are available to assist with health- related issues, and certain equipment, such as wheel chairs and crutches, may be available for loan depending upon the student's needs. Counselors can provide support to the student with temporary disabilities. Sometimes a student may become discouraged, depressed, or anxious about the situation and need assistance and support during the period of recovery. Counseling can help the student through a difficult time and explore options to minimize the psychological effects of the temporary disability. If the student resides in on-campus housing facilities, and has special needs related to housing, the Office of Housing & Residential Education should be contacted. For example, in some instances, a student may need to request a room change because of difficulty in climbing stairs. The ability to accommodate such requests would be guided by space availability and student needs.

What if the student doesn't know where to begin?

The staff of the Dean of Students Office is always willing to assist a student in evaluating needs and pursuing appropriate temporary accommodations. In many cases a simple referral to one of the offices listed below may suffice. As a last resort, withdrawal from the University for Medical Reasons is always an option. In some situations, it may be in the student's best interest to withdraw, however that decision must always be given careful consideration, as there could be possible ramifications on fee payment, financial aid, insurance coverage, and academic progress. The Dean of Students Office can help a student evaluate the implications of a withdrawal. 

Referral Information: 
Dean of Students Office

Housing & Residential Education

Wellness Center


Student Accessibility Services