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Other Disabilities

There are many disabilities which affect a student's performance in and out of class but which may not be easily detected by the other students or faculty members.

Some students have chronic mental or emotional illness, which may be diagnosed as bipolar (manic depression), clinical depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, phobias or other conditions. Most of the symptoms are cyclical in nature. Often a medication will be effective for a while but will fail to control the problem and must be changed in dosage or in kind. While trying to cope with the changes, the student may exhibit behaviors, which may be different at a later date. It may be embarrassing for the student to discuss the disability but may be relieving to tell some caring person how it feels. Although this rarely happens, no matter what the cause, it is unacceptable for a student to disrupt the class. The Assistant Director of Disability Services will be happy to talk to the student and refer him/her to the proper professionals.

Speech and language impairments may be congenital or be the result of illness or injury. Impairments range from problems with articulation or voice strength to being totally non-vocal. They include stuttering (repetition, blocks and/or prolongations occasionally accompanied by distorted movements and facial expressions), chronic hoarseness (dysphonia), difficulty in evoking an appropriate word or term (aphasia) and esophageal speech (resulting from a laryngectomy). Many speech impaired students will be hesitant about participating in activities that require speaking. Even if the student has adjusted well to a speech impairment, new situations may aggravate old anxieties. It is important that self-expression be encouraged, but pressure to speak is not apt to be helpful. It is important to allow time for speech-impaired students to express themselves so self-confidence can be gained. When speaking to a speech-impaired person, continue to talk naturally, and resist the temptation to complete words or phrases for them.

Conditions which may pose difficulties with breathing, stamina, bowel regularity, and affect class attendance include lupus, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease, abdominal colectomy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, hemophilia and a variety of other impairments, which challenge many students. The Center for Disability Services verifies each disability and discusses appropriate accommodations with each student before requesting them from the faculty members. While the students are encouraged to discuss their disabilities with faculty, some feel embarrassed or afraid to reveal the nature of their disabilities for fear of discrimination. It is their right to keep them confidential.

The information in this section is from Clemson University: Disabilities Handbook and reprinted with permission from Bonnie Martin, Director of Student Disability Services, Clemson University.

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Contact CDS Updated 03/11/02