Teaching Students with Environmental Illness | Chemical Sensitivity

Students with environmental illness or chemical sensitivities may have adverse reactions to such environmental pollutants as solvents, volatile organic chemicals, smoke, perfume, and pollen. Serious health problems may result from exposure to these pollutants, including visual and perceptual distortions, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and other debilitating symptoms that are associated with this autoimmune disorder. Students may need to wear a mask to filter the air.

Accessibility Services determines on a case-by-case basis what accommodations will be required to safeguard the student's health based on medical documentation, interview(s) and/or recommendations by the student's doctor. Please consult with Accessibility Services if you have any questions about the appropriateness of the requested accommodation. The student will appreciate your assistance to create a chemically-reduced environment.

Accommodations for students with environmental illnesses may include the following:

  • The student may request your assistance addressing the issue of chemical sensitivity in class. You, or the student, may ask other students to refrain from wearing perfume or other items that can cause the student to become ill.
  • A student's symptoms may impact his or her ability to perform at their best potential on a test or during a timed in-class assignment. Allowing extended time on tests/assignments, as needed, would be an appropriate accommodation.
  • When symptomatic, the student may be approved by Accessibility Services to audio-record lectures or receive a copy of a classmate's notes.
  • The student may need to sit near a window or door, and may also need to leave the room for a short period of time during class.
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