ATTENDING COLLEGE: THE DISABILITIES OFFICE
College is an exciting time, but it also can be particularly worrisome for the parents and the student who has Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Even if the freshman is living at home, they are on their own on campus and they have decisions about their meals and how they structure their time. Those concerns may be magnified when the student goes elsewhere and lives on or near a campus (and further away from home).
Fortunately, all colleges and universities that receive any federal funds have to follow the rules set out in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act. That means these schools have to develop 504 plans and have a disabilities office to help their students with chronic conditions which includes Crohnies and UCees (those with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis).
The schools will use their best efforts to help them with their studies <<link above>>, with their room assignments (offering rooms with private or semi-private bathrooms if they have them), with their food service and their infirmary (you can request a meeting with the kitchen and the infirmary staff, if that would be helpful.
But it's important to register with the disabilities office. There has been at least one situation when a student missed several classes because of IBD issues, but she wasn't registered, so she was forced to withdraw from one of her courses. That resulted in losing full-time student status, which meant she also lost her insurance and her ability to participate in some of the campus activities, including her sorority.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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