Supporting students with medical conditions

Students with ongoing medical conditions can require additional support and reasonable adjustments to access their studies. This can include learning support or individual examination arrangements. Students may miss some taught sessions and should follow the notification of absence procedures.


There are usually a large number of students who declare they have asthma. The condition can vary from individual to individual, with a few students having frequent attacks. In extreme circumstances students may miss periods of study whilst their condition is stabilised in hospital.

Crohn's Disease

This condition can result in an urgent need to use the toilet and diarrhoea. It's not always appreciated that symptoms can also result in extreme fatigue, abdominal pain and painful joints. Medication to address the symptoms can lead to depression, headaches, nausea and flu like symptoms. Students are likely to experience the disease in a different way and support will be tailored to their needs. Crohn's and Colitis UK is a good source of information.


Diabetes is a metabolic condition of having higher than normal blood sugar levels. Diabetes UK has produced some useful guidance for students.


There are many types of epileptic seizure. Most people with epilepsy successfully control their condition although medication can cause drowsiness. This can have implications for both taught classes and private study.

  • Absences: This is usually the loss of consciousness for a few seconds. This will mainly affect concentration and the ability to follow the structure of the lecture or the class.
  • Convulsive: If a student has a convulsive seizure, this could last anything from 2 - 10 minutes. If the person continues to convulse or has not regained consciousness within 5 minutes of the end of the seizure, call the emergency number 2222. See Epilepsy Action's first aid advice.

Adjustments you can make

  • Recorded lectures can assist with notetaking, particularly for students whose epilepsy is not controlled by medication.
  • Be aware that students may find it difficult to concentrate in class.
  • For a few students, they may miss taught sessions due to ill health, particularly immediately following a seizure.

Fatigue and stamina difficulties

Some students have a long-term medical condition which has an effect on their studies. This could include ME, HIV and cystic fibrosis amongst other conditions. Many of these conditions will not be visible.

Students who have low energy levels may find it difficult to concentrate for long periods which will affect both work within lectures and classes and their private study. Others may incur periods of ill health when they are unable to attend lectures or may be absent to attend regular hospital appointments. Medication can also exacerbate.

Adjustments you can make

  • Be aware that students may require recorded lectures or notetakers.
  • Be aware that student may use adaptive technology such as dictation software.
  • Plan timetables and publish early assignment titles and deadlines to avoid fatigue or problem times.
  • Be aware that students may find it difficult to concentrate in class.
  • Be aware that work may take longer to complete.
  • Provide course materials in advance, so the student can work when they are well.
  • Maintain ongoing dialogue with the student if they have a fluctuating condition including contact during periods away from study.