A soul is attracted
to people the way
flowers are attracted
to the sun.
only with those who
want to see you grow.
— || Maza-Dohta
"We might know how to accommodate hearing, vision, or mobility impairments on campus, but chronic pain conditions, autoimmune diseases, and rare diseases present very different challenges. Consider the student suffering from flares of Crohn’s disease or lupus, who may appear healthy one day, but whose symptoms are completely incapacitating the next. How do we accommodate students who can’t make it to class for longer stretches, have frequent medical appointments or disruptive hospital stays, or whose medications may make them drowsy or fatigued even when they are present?"
I think many of us would argue that campuses still don’t accommodate hearing, vision, and mobility impairments very well. And this article doesn’t really offer solutions. But it’s true that the challenges of pain, autoimmune, and rare diseases are different and poorly accommodated.
I don’t think the author of that article meant that students with hearing, vision, + mobility impairments are always accommodated or treated well, but that there are at least standard accommodations on the books for students with those disabilities. There is rarely protocol in place for dealing with students with chronic illnesses, which is no surprise considering that institutionalized education is pretty much inaccessible to the chronically ill by design. Rigid schedules don’t work for us, and that’s reflected in our drop-out rates. While colleges don’t care enough about this to fundamentally alter how they function, they do care enough about maintaining their rankings (via curbing drop-out rates) to purposefully exclude the chronically ill. Because colleges want to deter chronically ill students from being there in the first place, they’re actively hostile to us in ways they aren’t towards students whose disabilities are, for lack of a better word, static, and who can therefore be accommodated without a fundamental shift. (Though of course they often aren’t accommodated in practice. They get apathy instead of hostility, which isn’t any better.) It’s also worth noting that colleges are particularly hostile to the chronically mentally ill, who are uniformly seen as suicide or homicide risks (i.e. bad press) as well as drop-out risks. Mental illnesses are the only disabilities universities can legally discriminate against, and I want to say I’m shocked that this wasn’t mentioned in the original article, that I’m shocked mental illness is being wholly excluded from yet another discussion of chronic illness, but… I’m not.
"[Academics] carry out never-ending research, while our communities are bleeding and ultimately dying"
But I wonder how does healing take place?
"…When an abused woman refuses to “look at her part” in the abuse, she has actually taken a powerful step out of self-blame and toward emotional recovery. She doesn’t have any responsibility for his actions. Anyone who tries to get her to share responsibility is adopting the abuser’s perspective."