Navigating Temporary Injuries/Conditions

Temporary Injuries/Conditions

A temporary impairment may be the result of an acute injury or medical condition, hospitalization, etc. While most temporary conditions are considered transitory and minor, thus do not fall under the protections of disability law, the University seeks to provide support. Most short term needs can be met through existing options or informal short term arrangements. 

For conditions which have a longer duration and substantially limit a major life activity or major bodily function, temporary accommodations through ODR may be needed. Examples include: broken limb, concussion, recovery from surgery,, etc.  

Individuals who are pregnant should review the Pregnancy & Parenting page for information regarding protections, resources, advocacy and support.


  1. Discuss your condition with your medical provider to best understand the impact and the anticipated duration. 

  2. Determine what related needs or barriers you may encounter at Appalachian. Reviewing the outlined considerations below may assist in identifying needs.

  3. Communicate directly with University Officials (ie, instructors or supervisors) immediately and in advance, when possible. Discuss the duration and impact, such as lifting, walking, time it takes to complete tasks, etc. and identify any related barriers. If existing options or informal arrangements are used, It is recommended that it be documented by all parties.

  4. If needed, request accommodations through ODR using applicable student request process.

Parking, Transportation & Navigating Campus

  • Consider that additional time may be required to navigate campus. Reviewing campus maps can help in determining  best paths of travel.

  • For challenges navigating campus, consider using personal mobility devices in consultation with a healthcare professional and may include: motorized scooter, knee scooter, or crutches. Individuals often find if knee scooter/crutches are both options, a knee scooter is more effective for navigating campus. Potential vendors: Boone Drug Deerfield, Piedmont Medical Supply.

  • The University does not provide transportation services. Please note that personal transportation and travel about campus is the responsibility of each individual. Individuals are encouraged to consider University Sustainability Ridesharing, carpooling, Uber/Lyft, etc. or Appalcart (free public transportation service with accessible buses and Paratransit options).

  • App State Parking & Transportation may have short term parking permit options on campus for use with a NC DMV Disability Placard. Discuss with a medical provider if a NC DMV Temporary Disability Placard is an option.


  • Students:

    • If short term hospitalization for surgery, treatment or recovery is required, students may explore Class Absence Notification requests through the Office of the Dean of Students. 

    • Communicate with instructors to determine potential attendance alternatives such as virtual attendance or attending an alternate section.

    • On-going absences can greatly impact the ability to complete essential course requirements and may necessitate alternatives such as a medical course load reduction through Student Health Services or a Withdrawal throughthe Registrar's Office if unable to complete work.  

  • Employees:

    • Employees may explore existing telework options or applicable leave through Human Resources.

Assistive Technologies 

  • Explore the accessibility features on computer or phone such as Text-to-Speech (to read materials) or Speech-to-Text (to dictate responses for papers, email, etc.).

  • Modify screen tone and brightness or adjust to a warmer and dimmer screen tone which is often easier on the eyes, brain, etc. than a cool screen tone, via settings on phone or computer. Use blue-blocking screen glasses to reduce eyestrain.

  • Print materials (such as powerpoints) in advance in order to utilize the paper version during class or meeting rather than the projected or electronic version.


Academic Schedule

  • At times, a temporary impairment is so significant that it impacts a student’s ability to complete course requirements within the term and withdrawal options must be utilized. 

  • If anticipated, such as recovery from upcoming surgery, consider alternate class meeting times and alter schedule to provide more time in the morning or more time to travel between classes. Consult with Academic Advisor to consider a lighter class load or online course options to allow for recovery.

  • For an unanticipated acute temporary impairment, consult with an Academic Advisor regarding options to reduce credit hours using course drops or contact Student Health Service regarding Request for Class Load Reduction and/or Office of the Registrar has information regarding dropping courses.

 Academic Tasks

  • Tests: Discuss with instructor options for missed or make up tests. Determine if the instructor drops the lowest test grade, or if a test can be rescheduled within office hours.

  • Test format: If handwriting or typing is impacted, determine if tests can be taken an alternate way; highlight answers or type responses instead of bubble sheet or handwritten responses.

  • Time to complete tests: If more time to complete academic tasks (concentrating, writing, etc.) discuss alternatives such as taking tests with instructors during office hours with extra time or computer use for typing essay responses.

  • Course Notes: Take a document photo (scan) of peer notes using an electronic device. OneNote provides a document photo option which allows upload directly to GoogleDrive platform. Consider audio recording lecture based classes. AudioNote, Notability, and GoogleDocs all provide recording platforms for notetaking.

  • Participation: Determine if absences will prevent completion of essential course requirements. If available, use remote participation and engagement options.

Classroom Setting

  • If due to a concussion, wear a hat or sunglasses to class to reduce symptom exacerbation from bright lights in a classroom.

  • Consider placement/seating within the classroom.

Planning & Time Management

  • Because tasks (reading, assignments, studying, etc) may take longer to complete, meet with Academic Strategy Instruction (Academic Consultation) to develop a plan for completing coursework.

On-Campus Housing

  • Room change requests to more accessible location can generally be made a couple weeks into the semester via a room change request through University Housing.

  • Discuss with roommate and RA, if needed, to discuss a roommate agreement establishing parameters for creating an optimal environment for recovery.

  • Use noise cancelling headphones, disposable earplugs, sunglasses, hat, blue-blocking screen glasses, sleep masks, etc. to ensure a more optimal environment for recovery.


  • Section 504 & Temporary Impairments

    • A temporary impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities for an extended period of time. The issue of whether a temporary impairment is substantial enough to be a disability must be resolved on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration both the duration (or expected duration) of the impairment and the extent to which it actually limits a major life activity of the affected individual.

    • In the ADA Amendments Act, Congress clarified that an individual is not “regarded as” an individual with a disability if the impairment is transitory and minor.  A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.