Medical Disability

  1. Definition

    Disabilities stemming from chronic conditions or diseases affecting one or more of the body’s systems, such as respiratory, gastrointestinal, immunological, neurological, or circulatory.  Examples include: cancer, chemical dependency, diabetes, seizure disorders, HIV, Lyme disease, lupus, multiple chemical sensitivity, severe asthma and allergies, kidney disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.  It is imperative that students with these conditions provide appropriate documentation to Disability Services that specifically identifies the condition as a disability.

    Background Information/Strategies

    • The condition of a student with a medical disability may fluctuate or deteriorate over time, causing the need for and type of accommodation to vary.
    • Fatigue may be a significant factor in the student’s ability to complete required tasks within regular time limits.
    • Some of these conditions will cause the student to exceed the university’s attendance policy due to side effects of medication or treatment appointments.  A reasonable accommodation should reflect the nature of the class requirements and the arrangements initiated by the student for completing the assignments.  If the student knows the condition is subject to acute exacerbation that would delay academic activities, the student is responsible for documenting this situation for review by the ODS Associate Director.  Because some courses are less amenable to delays than others, such accommodation requests may, unfortunately, be denied, in effect making the student unqualified to complete the course.   
    • A student may need to leave the classroom early and unexpectedly; the student should be held accountable for missed instruction.
    • Ask the student if he or she will need assistance during an emergency evacuation and assist in making a plan if necessary.
  2. Possible Accommodations

    Classroom Environment

    • Seat the student in a well ventilated area.
    • Easy access doors and door handles.
    • Option of different chair, desk, or writing utensil.
    • Access to assistive technology.
    • Allow drinks in classroom.


    • Use of scribes, readers, and notetakers.
    • Use of computers or other adaptive technology.
    • Breaks during lectures.

    In class work / homework

    • Flexible deadlines if appropriate for the course or assignment.


    • Extended time for exams.
    • Exam modifications such as increased frequency, shorter testing sessions, or administering the test by page or section.


    • Flexibility on attendance policy.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Office of Disability Services


Our Mission

Marquette University's Office of Disability Services is dedicated to providing equal access within the classroom setting, through the determination of appropriate accommodations, for students with documented disabilities. ODS promotes accessibility awareness through collaboration with campus partners, the development of student self-advocacy, and through consultation with the broader community. Guided by the university's mission, we strive to support the Marquette community in their efforts to educate all students on campus.