Temporary impairments such as broken bones, temporary illnesses, concussions and recovery from surgery or medical conditions are generally not regarded as disabilities, as the degree of functional limitation and the duration of such impairments are typically not substantial enough to cause the temporary condition to be considered a disability. However, Dickinson College does recognize that temporary conditions might cause difficulties related to the student's academic progress in a given semester and we will work as a team to help a student achieve a successful outcome when faced with these often unexpected challenges.

Communication is Critical

If you are a student who is experiencing a temporary impairment, your first step is to inform all concerned of the situation as soon as possible.

1. Send E-mails

Describe what occurred, explain how it will impact your academic performance, and provide your doctor’s expectations about the duration of your impairment. Your email recipients should be:

  • Your professors
  • Your advisor
  • Your college dean
  • Access and Disability Services (access@dickinson.edu)

2. Schedule Meetings With:

  • ADS (Access and Disability Services), to determine whether you may be eligible for related supports, and what those might be;
  • Each professor, regarding the impact that the impairment might have on your course work, and what your options are (e.g. extensions, assistance with note-taking, etc.);
  • Your academic advisor, to assess your course load and your ability to succeed in each of your classes; and possibly
  • Your college dean, who can assist with long-term planning and educate you about the procedures for withdrawals and (if near the end of the semester) incomplete grading.

3. Be Proactive and Highly Communicative

If your impairment causes you to miss any classes, be sure to email your professor and copy your advisor as soon as possible. 

4. Work Hard

Remember that, in spite of this challenging set-back, professors are not able to lower the standards of expectations for their courses. Professors work with students to make reasonable adjustments, but students should recognize that each course and each professor will have varying expectations as to how the requirements for their respective courses must be met.