Jump to content
  • Sign Up
  • Join Our Community!

    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

megsylvan2

How Do College Students Deal With Absences?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

How do kids deal with this illness in terms of absences at college? Have you missed classes due to GI issues? Have you been able to work things out with the instructors? My son has had issues with this in school. A lot of his classes are participatory classes and, so far his instructors have been unwilling to bend, despite the notes he brings from the clinic. He is allowed 2 absences per class. Period. And he can't bring a note from the clinic every time. This is really becoming a serious problem.

The reason for the absences were all due to illness from GI issues. He knew he either could not make it out of the bathroom to get across campus and sit in class or else he was in too much pain to attend class.

We've both had blood tests for Celiac which were negative. I was gluten-free at the time, but he wasn't. I am most definitely gluten intolerant, based on diet. He has had significant GI issues since infancy and this has always been a real problem for him at school. He's always had lactose intolerance symptoms and prior to learning at this forum, I felt he had IBS. After the blood tests done by the clinic at school, they diagnosed him with IBS.

I've not yet convinced him that he should try going gluten free, but he watches the dairy intake and uses Lactaid. If he went gluten-free, he would have very little left to eat as he is a very fussy eater and does not eat red meat. I guess I'll have to take him to my GI doc, and try to pursue better diagnosis, if possible, but based on our testing so far, that does not seem like it will help much in terms of getting anywhere at school. So I guess we've got to find out which foods cause his problems so he work on avoiding them.

Have any kids or parents dealt with this - being undiagnosed and trying to figure it out while in school? How can we deal with this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't had to deal with this, but anybody who misses a lot of class where participation is required may flunk or be forced to drop, even if the student has a good reason. I've known students who had to drop whole semesters for pneumonia, broken bones, cancer treatments and other illnesses. That's just simply the way it works. Sounds like he'd be much better off taking some time to figure out what's going on.

richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't had to deal with this, but anybody who misses a lot of class where participation is required may flunk or be forced to drop, even if the student has a good reason. I've known students who had to drop whole semesters for pneumonia, broken bones, cancer treatments and other illnesses.

Yep, I broke my ankle on rollerblades (going to pay my phone bill!) sophmore year, and had to drop two classes and take a minimum load, and my grades suffered for that. (all that codeine during finals made me sleep a bit too much...) It's a part of life. Just like having to take many days of unpaid time off work because I was out of sick days and was getting constant migraines, but hadn't yet been able to work with my doctors to resolve them this year. It does suck though, a lot.

He should talk to the dean of students, and see what can be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If he went gluten-free, he would have very little left to eat as he is a very fussy eater and does not eat red meat.

Think about it. This is really the worst reason for not going gluten-free. If he eats hardly anything but wheat products, and they're bothering him, no wonder he's so sick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would definetly try to talk to a dean or a department head if possible. I've been lucky to have teachers that were understaniding as long as I kept my grades up and got the assignments from someone but this has been at the community college thus far. I would also suggest that he try to take classes that may not have to attend as often (online, etc) if they are possible. If he's not in danger of losing a scholarship or something, it may be a good idea for him to take some time off to get this under control. I had to do it for another illness I had and I really don't regret it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Richard on this--I think that some time off to really look into this makes a lot of sense. If he's having these problems at college, and has had them all through school, it is not going to be any better once he graduates and is out in the job market. I can relate to picky eaters--I have one here! But really, if you look at it, he's not getting better doing what he's been doing. That's not likely to change. My heart goes out to him--I hope that the two of you can find a solution or a doctor who can help you. What kinds of things does he like to eat? Maybe we can come up with a gluten-free plan for him to try? If he feels much better on it, it may well get him to eat that way permanently. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HI,

i am a university student that figured out what was wrong with me in my thrid year, after pretty much sleeping my first 2 years away and being constantly sick with colds and flus. my grades were horrible cuz i wasnt making it to class. This year i've been talking with disablity services at the university and i've spoken to profs personally to tell them whats wrong. I"ve had a few understanding ones and a few that dont really seem to care. The disablity services (ranges in help for for ppl that have been injured and cant write to people with learning problems) they have offered to get my lecture notes on days that i can not be there, i've also had profs do the same. I had to get a doctors note saying that i had celiacs (amoung other things) and that any slip up could result in me gettin sick. I hope this helps, i would just tell your son to personally talk to teachers, deans and inquire about a disablity service at the college.

Goodluck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I would venture to guess this is pretty late in the semester, it probably is not possible to take a drop without penalty (they call it a Q drop at my university). He will probably have to take the grade that he earned. The university may have a grade replacement policy, where he can retake the class at another time and the better grade can replace the low or failing one.

When I have had GI problems in the past, I would always sit by the door of any class where I could slip out of class easily if I needed to. If it was an instructor with a strict attendance policy I would talk with them in private early in the semester.

Also, even if he is a "picky eater", there are loads of items that are gluten free he can eat. I can't imagine knowing something makes me physically ill and continuing to eat it. There are plenty of things he can still eat unless he eats nothing but plain bread and pasta every day (which that's still not a good excuse with Tinkyada pasta and Kinnikinnick bread!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a graduate student, so things may be a bit different. However, my school (Drexel Univ) was very understanding when I had to take a medical leave of absence. It was mid-way through the semester, so I received "Incompletes" in my courses and worked one-on-one w/the professors to figure out what I needed to do to receive an actual grade in the class.

If you have a doctor's note, I would imagine that your son would be able to obtain a medical leave of absence. I didn't want to just receive "A's" in my classes, b/c I wanted to learn what I had missed. So, this compromise worked quite well on both sides.

Good luck.

- Lauren

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BERNESES

I teach at a university and if he had a diagnosis, he would qualify for disability services (which means he could have a modified schedule, more excused absences etc.). But without a diagnosis I don't think that they can help him.

You should definitely talk with the dean. He could probably take a medical leave of absence and figure out what's going on and then go back once he gets it worked out and have disability services help him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there. During my most horrible, sickest time, I was in my last term finsihing my degree (this year). It was horrible - my classes allowed NO misses.

I ended up having to register as a disabled student. It helped a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the people who said having a diagnosis helps. I ended up registering with the school's disability services and while professors can ignore students who say, "I've been really sick," it's a little difficult to do the same when they have a nice letter from the dean of students saying the same thing.

Out of personal experience, though, every instructor is different. Some are going to say it's okay for you to miss classes and others are going to expect you to show up no matter what (even if you do have documentation). It's just something I've gotten used to, and when I can haul myself up to campus --I live off-campus-- when I'm sick, I do it. So one of the best things to do is to ask around and try to find out which instructors are more lenient (or understanding) about absences and which should be avoided.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've not yet convinced him that he should try going gluten free, but he watches the dairy intake and uses Lactaid. If he went gluten-free, he would have very little left to eat as he is a very fussy eater and does not eat red meat. I guess I'll have to take him to my GI doc, and try to pursue better diagnosis, if possible, but based on our testing so far, that does not seem like it will help much in terms of getting anywhere at school. So I guess we've got to find out which foods cause his problems so he work on avoiding them.

Have any kids or parents dealt with this - being undiagnosed and trying to figure it out while in school? How can we deal with this?

If he has to choose between being sick all of the time and missing classes (and possible failing school), or facing the challenges of a gluten-free diet, wouldn't the diet be easier? Maybe since summer's coming up, he can try it for a month or so and see how it goes. It might be worth a shot. I don't have a diagnosis, but there's no way I could function in life if I ate gluten. I also don't eat red meat, dairy or soy...but there's still plenty to eat (there's even plenty of student-friendly convenience foods free of those things). I hope he feels better soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks to all who responded. I received some good suggestions and even just to have people respond is comforting in and of itself when one is worried and concerned.

I'm sorry I was unable to respond to this sooner - I, myself, have gone back to school, and I was in the middle of a midterm project, along with some very stressful, hectic times at work (still ongoing) and in the middle of seeing my DS off for the summer with Drum Corps International. Because of my school project, I avoided this board and did not even read - as then I get sucked in and would not have been able to get my project done. :)

In any event, my son at least has a diagnosis of IBS - made by the health center at the school. We will of course be pursuing more accurate diagnosis if possible, through food log and testing by GI doctor. However, he is gone for the summer, so this will have to wait until fall. Also, for the summer he is in a situation where it will be very uncomfortable for him to have GI issues, so that may help him pinpoint the offenders all the more quickly.

In the meantime, this incident has pointed out to him the importance of him being able to pinpoint what foods are bothering him and then the importance of avoiding those foodsthat do bother him. He will be visiting disability services to see if they can help in any way.

He now knows the importance of talking with his instructors AHEAD of time (as I had expected he would be doing during this past term, but didn't, grrrr!), and he will be doing this next year. He is a music ed major, so most of his classes are participatory in nature, so we understand the necessity of absence requirements. But I do feel that the professors might have some leeway or possibly some makeup arrangements may be made if he works this out in advance. And believe me, I have made this point VERY clear with him.

He has written to his instructor, explaining the circumstances and asked about the possibility of getting an incomplete in the meantime. We will see if anything comes of that.

Another thing is that all his classes next semester are later in the day. This class was an 8 am class. And no, he did not miss because he was just unable to wake up for class - he's very good about getting himself up for early classes. It's just that it seems all his GI problems seem to happen as a result of the evening meal and give him problems during the night and the next morning. Usually by late morning and early afternoon he is much better. So that is another clue for him to pinpoint what he is ingesting that is giving him problems.

Thanks everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BERNESES
He now knows the importance of talking with his instructors AHEAD of time (as I had expected he would be doing during this past term, but didn't, grrrr!), and he will be doing this next year. He is a music ed major, so most of his classes are participatory in nature, so we understand the necessity of absence requirements. But I do feel that the professors might have some leeway or possibly some makeup arrangements may be made if he works this out in advance. And believe me, I have made this point VERY clear with him.

He has written to his instructor, explaining the circumstances and asked about the possibility of getting an incomplete in the meantime. We will see if anything comes of that.

Thanks everyone.

I would hope his professors would be understanding! Even if he is telling them now maybe they can work things out. Let us know what happens! Best, Beverly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...