What is a temporary condition or injury?

Temporary conditions or injuries are short-term, not chronic, and have little or no outstanding or lasting effects. Temporary Conditions or injuries lasting six months or less are not considered permanent disabilities and generally do not qualify as a disability under federal or state laws. The University does recognize that temporary conditions and injuries can be problematic and may adversely affect a student’s ability to fully participate in class. This webpage is designed to inform students with these conditions of strategies and resources which may be beneficial.

Examples of Temporary Conditions or Injuries:

  • A sprained or broken hand, finger, leg, or other joint that will heal completely within a few weeks or months.
  • Minor or non-chronic medical conditions or disorders that last more than a few weeks.
  • Medical conditions that last several weeks without lasting effects.
  • Surgeries that temporarily impact a student in a course without lasting effects.
  • Condition caused by an accident or injury that will heal under six months’ time with no lasting effects.

Should a temporary condition have continued lasting effects (examples might include concussive syndrome or complications due to surgery that cause permanent injury), then Student Disability Services should be contacted for a consultation.

For students with temporary conditions or injuries, it is important to read this website first and follow the recommendations.

Information for Students with Temporary Conditions:

On-campus housing and getting to and from classes:

  • Housing: If you are living within the residence halls and are having difficulty within your room, please contact uhd-ada@uiowa.edu
  • Transportation: If you are unable to use the Iowa Cambus additional options may be available to you.
  • Parking: Uiowa Parking and Transportation has a website that has information about accessible parking. 
  • Classroom Accessibility: If you need to determine the accessibility of a particular classroom or building, the University Classrooms website is a good place to start.

Absences or making up work:

  • Self-Reporting Absences: If a student misses or will be missing a class they should contact their instructor as soon as possible regarding make-up work. A Student Absence Form may be used to report an absence to an instructor. If the absence is in the future the student should submit the forms to their instructors as soon as they know of the upcoming absence.
  • Longer Periods of Absence: If a student is currently absent and it will be 5 or more consecutive days before they return and the absence is due to illness or other emergency, please contact the UI Service Center at (319) 384-4300 or registrar@uiowa.edu. If the student is not able to contact the service center, the absence can be reported by someone else on the student's behalf. The service center will send an email with information on the absence to all of the student's current instructors, advisor, and the Academic Support & Retention Office. A copy of the email will also be sent to the student. It will still be the student's responsibility to contact instructors as soon as possible regarding make-up work. If you would like additional support during this time or consultation, please contact Office of the Dean of Students, Student Care & Assistance.
  • Absences due to illnesses: If your absence is due to illness, visit Student Health for information about campus health services, including information about: how to make an appointment, self-care advice for colds/flu, mental health and counseling options.
  • If you have missed course work or a lab due to a temporary condition or injury, please notify your professor as soon as the injury or incident occurs and attempt to work with them about making up the work. If additional assistance or verification is needed about your injury, you should work with your academic advisor or staff within your academic area.

Difficulty writing due to hand, arm, or shoulder injuries:

Injuries to the hand, arm, or wrist may require assistance with many forms of writing including note-taking, test-taking, typing, filling in scantrons, taking tests and quizzes. Below are suggestions that have worked for other students:

Class Notes

  • Use a laptop or computer to type notes if typing is an option.
  • Use your smartphone, a tablet, digital recorder, or other software (e.g., Livescribe smartpen, OneNote, etc.) to record lectures with the instructor's permission.
  • Ask a friend or another student in your class to borrow their notes.
  • Ask your instructors to help you recruit a student to assist and share their notes.
  • Photocopiers are available in some classroom buildings, residence halls, student centers and libraries, simply make copies of others notes.
  • See if your professor is willing to post notes or slides online

Written or Typed Assignments

  • Ask a friend or family member to write or type for you outside of class. If this is not possible, you may need to hire a writing or secretarial service to assist you.
  • You may also consider speech-to-text software programs. This technology allows you to speak into the computer through a microphone and the software then converts your speech into written text. Free versions are available to download or you may purchase software (e.g., Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Mac Speech Dictate, etc.).

Course Exams and Quizzes

Exams may present special challenges for those with temporary conditions. With advance notice, the strategies listed below might be acceptable alternatives to suggest to your professors and/or teaching assistants:

  • Instead of using a scantron, mark answers selections directly on exam.
  • Instead of handwriting an essay, use a laptop.
  • Ask your professor, if appropriate, if you can make an appointment with them or a teaching assistant to give oral answers to an exam or lab.
  • Use a scribe (provided by your professor/ teaching assistant).
  • For lab-related experiments or “hands-on” exams, orally describe what you would do, why you would do it, what you observe, etc.
  • If you think you may need extra time to complete an exam, let your professor/teaching assistant know in advance.
  • Take breaks during the exam.

If additional assistance is needed or not found on this site, simply fill out the University's Report a Concern form with your questions or concerns which will be directed the appropriate university personnel. Once the form is submitted, someone from the University will promptly follow up. It is recognized that providing assistance for such conditions is a team approach at the University. There are many departments, offices, and individuals that may assist a student with temporary conditions, including the student themselves, their instructors and their peers.