A wide range of medical conditions may impact students’ learning, assessment performance, and class attendance. These conditions include epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, kidney disorders, cystic fibrosis, cancer, hepatitis, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and HIV/AIDS. While some of these conditions are lifelong, others, such as CFS, will be unpredictable and episodic.
These conditions may be related to other disabilities: students with neurological diseases may also have mobility and/or vision impairment; students with epilepsy may have damage to the part of the brain which affects speech. Some conditions will diminish balance and coordination, or cause severe headaches, backache, joint pains, blurred vision, weakness or numbness in limbs, and breathlessness triggered by stress.
Students receiving treatment for cancer may have long and debilitating periods of nausea and fatigue. Respiratory and cardiac diseases may affect mobility and impair the strength, speed, endurance, coordination and dexterity necessary for writing and for manipulating equipment. Symptoms may vary in severity over quite short periods of time. Some medical disabilities are progressively degenerative; the course of others is highly unpredictable.