English and Medical Conditions
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Brief description of Medical Conditions
The term Medical Condition includes asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, chronic pain and heart disease. Most people have experienced ill health of one kind or another from time to time, but this has probably been temporary in nature. Some people, however, have long term or permanent conditions which have been present from birth or acquired during life. The effects of these depend on the person’s age, circumstances and the nature of the conditions and/or treatment.
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Teaching strategies associated with Medical Conditions
These strategies are suggestions for inclusive teaching. This list should not be considered exhaustive and it is important to remember that all students are individuals and good practice for one student may not necessarily be good practice for another. You may also like to contact the Disability Specialist in your institution for further information. If you have any good practice that you would like to add to this list, please email your suggestions to email@example.com
- Provide sufficient time to discuss needs with the student before/during their initial teaching session.
- Stress from new situations or pressure (especially for those who are away from home for the first time) may adversely affect some students. Try to make students feel welcome, at ease and confident. Helping students to prepare for examinations or assignments is likely to ease the pressure considerably.
- The physical environment may affect some conditions, e.g. dust, smoke or dampness. Students are likely to have their medication with them, but tutors should be aware of where to seek help if required.
- Diet and eating times are crucial parts of the management and treatment of some conditions, and should be taken into account.
- Students may be forced to miss lectures or tutorials as a result of health difficulties. Tutors can help by assisting students to keep up with course materials, ensuring that they receive back copies of handouts/lecture notes.
- If students are only able to work for short periods of time, allow extensions for submission of assignments – but take care – this can add to a student’s pressures if work is allowed to build up.
- Help students to manage their time and organise their work by encouraging them to break tasks down into smaller chunks of work.
- It may be helpful to identify a buddy in the group who will supply their notes for a student who has been absent.
- Students may not appreciate the level of stress (albeit positive, exciting stress) that their studies can bring about, and few students with a medical condition look obviously disabled. Tutors should therefore be sensitively aware of the additional pressures/demands on the student and be prepared to take appropriate steps to help when needed.
- For a few students, health and safety issues may need to be considered, though people with medical conditions tend to have a very realistic idea of their limitations. For example, if a student has uncontrolled epilepsy, it may be necessary to discuss the safety of certain activities in particular with regard to laboratory settings, practical work or field trips.