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Medical conditions

Sometimes the students we work with can be diagnosed with a variety of medical conditions, which we may not even be aware of because they are well-managed, and the students do not consider themselves disabled. For some students, a medical condition may be life-limiting, impacting on their studies and their engagement on campus.

Diagnoses may include but not be limited to:

Epilepsy

Type 1 diabetes

Heart condition

Cancer

HIV/AIDS

Asthma

Crohn’s Disease

Lupus

This is not a full and comprehensive list of conditions and symptoms. There are a range of conditions that may affect students. For more information on medical conditions please see the resources section for further reading.

Edge Hill student Grace discusses what it’s like to manage a medical condition at university and how staff have supported her through her studies.

Positive ways you can support a student with a medical condition

  • Get to know your student and find out what strategies they already have to help them manage their condition and consider reasonable adjustments you can make to support the student. Reasonable adjustments may be required for work-based learning or placements, as well as flexibility about deadlines.
  • Be patient – long-term health conditions, especially with associated pain can affect processing speed and concentration so they may take longer to respond to a question.
  • Students may require medical treatment or attend regular medical appointments – consider ways to support this by being flexible.
  • Some students with chronic medical conditions may develop poor mental health, such as depression or anxiety – see the Mental Health toolkit for more information.
  • Don’t be dismissive or display a lack of understanding.
  • Don’t tell someone they look fine or that they look awful.
  • Don’t ask “Is that a real illness?”
  • Don’t avoid asking the student about their illness or condition – do this in an empathetic way and ask for more information to help you understand how you can support them.

Check if there are any reasonable adjustments you can put in place to support the student.

Early referral can prevent students falling behind with their work. Contact the Disability Support team to make a referral if:

  • You are aware the student has a medical condition and requires support.
  • The student doesn’t have a Student Support Plan in place already.
  • You feel you need support around reasonable adjustments.

If the student requires support with anything else including accommodation, money advice or wellbeing support contact the Catalyst Helpdesk to make a referral.

If your student’s disability or condition is affecting their wellbeing or mental health see our Mental Health toolkits for advice on how to support them.

Useful links and further reading

Epilepsy

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

Diabetes

Crohn’s and Colitis UK

ME Association

British Heart Foundation

Lupus

Endometriosis

HIV and AIDS

Cancer

Refer to the Student Support Plan if the student has one – these are shared with the named contact in the Department or Faculty or contact the Disability Support team.

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