Systemic Disabilities

Systemic disabilities are conditions affecting one or more of the body’s systems. These include the respiratory, immunological, neurological and circulatory systems. There are many kinds of systemic disabilities varying significantly in their effects and symptoms. Types of these conditions may include cancer, chemical dependency, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy/seizure disorder, HIV, lupus erythematosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis and renal disease.

General Considerations

  • Students affected by systemic disabilities differ from those with other disabilities because these types of disabilities are often unstable. This causes a person’s condition to vary; therefore, the need for and type of reasonable accommodation may change.
  • Some common accommodations for students with systemic disabilities may include peer note takers, reduced course load, relocation of a meeting or class, and time extensions for assignments and exams.

Instructional strategies

Systemic disabilities often require instructional strategies similar to those listed for other disabling conditions. The use of such strategies will depend on how the disability is manifested. Faculty members who would like more information about instructional strategies for students with chronic illnesses should contact Access Services at 507.457.5878. 

These guidelines were adapted from guidelines used by the Division of Disability Resources & Educational Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.