Most of the students with disabilities at Saginaw Valley State University have hidden disabilities, including those with chronic health impairments. These long-term medical conditions include AIDS, Attention Deficit Disorder, cancer, Crohn's disease, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Lyme disease, migraines, OCD and anxiety disorders, seizures and sickle-cell anemia.
Most chronic health impairments are distinct from physical disabilities in that they are episodic in nature and may fluctuate in severity. Since a person's health condition may change, the nature of, or the need for auxiliary aids and services may change within the semester. Periods of exacerbation and remission are common which may or may not result in hospitalization. The symptoms of many conditions increase in intensity with an increase in stress.
The degree to which any disability affects a student in the academic setting varies widely. At times it is not the health condition per se but medication required to control the symptoms that impair academic performance. Common side effects of some medications may include dry mouth, fatigue, memory loss, mood swings, loss of concentration, loss of motivation, incontinence, or drowsiness. During class students may need to take frequent restrooms breaks or may have uneasy movements due to pain. Some may have increased absenteeism during a flair-up.
Students have the responsibility and are encouraged to make their accommodation needs known to faculty in a timely manor so appropriate arrangements can be made. However, they are not required to discuss the specifics of their disability with faculty.