Teens College Advice
Linda Belling, RN, MS, CRRN, a clinical program coordinator at the Hemophilia Center of WNY in Buffalo, NY, offers pointers on what students with hemophilia should look for in a college and gives tips on managing stress.
Q: Many colleges offer services for those with disabilities including hemophilia. How can someone with hemophilia learn more about these resources?
A: Post-secondary schools that receive federal funding are obligated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 to furnish auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective participation by students with disabilities.
College websites are a good place to start researching the services offered. Most colleges have a department often called the Office for Students with Disabilities. A phone call and visit to the Office for Students with Disabilities will help in identifying the services offered by the institution. College is different from high school because it is the college student's responsibility to notify the institution of his disability. Then the Office for Students with Disabilities can provide advocacy to ensure access to college programs and services.
It is important to remember that the student must register with the Office for Students with Disabilities before the semester starts to ensure the appropriate accommodations are in place before classes begin. The college will need supporting documentation from the student's health care provider about his condition. Accommodations and services are offered based on the student's individual needs which might include reasonable accommodations for student housing, scheduling a make-up test missed for health issues, wheelchair-accessible on-campus transportation, etc. Helpful Resource — http://disabilityinfo.gov.
Q: How does someone with hemophilia approach teachers and school personnel?
A: Students must find the best approach that works for them. They might find it difficult at first to speak with others about their hemophilia. Some students are very open in discussing their hemophilia and others prefer to be selective in who they confide in.
If a professor is aware of your hemophilia and a bleed keeps you from attending class, the professor may be more sensitive to the situation and offer on-line notes, extra time, etc. The professors may also be a source of help if an emergency arises. If the student is registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities he may have to present written documentation from the department to his professors about his situation at the beginning of the semester.
The social worker at your local Hemophilia Treatment Center is also another resource with whom a student can discuss disclosure issues.