Navigating Temporary Impairments/Conditions

Temporary Impairment Considerations

A Temporary Impairment may be the result of an acute injury, medical condition or hospitalization which has an anticipated duration of a few days to up to 6 months. Examples include broken limb, concussion, knee/hip surgery, etc.  Arrangements with individual instructors can be made during short recoveries however sometimes a temporary impairment is so significant that it impacts the ability to complete course requirements within the term and withdrawal options must be utilized. Students are encouraged to connect with a Case Manager through the Office of the Dean of Students for support in navigating options.

Steps to Navigating Temporary Impairment/Injury

  1. Review the the outlined considerations.
  2. Communicate with pertinent University Official/s to determine needs and informal options already available.
  3. Schedule appointment to discuss specific questions with ODR or DOS Case Manager. 
  4. If needed, request formal accommodations through ODR.

Direct Communication with Instructors

  • Communicate directly with instructors immediately (and in advance when possible) to discuss the duration and impact, such as lifting, walking, time it takes to complete tasks in the classroom.
  • Identify impacted aspects of course (notetaking, test taking, etc) and discuss potential options.
  • Send follow up email to confirm the agreed upon arrangements.

Parking, Transportation & Navigating Campus

  • Transportation is an individual's responsibility.
  • Additional time may be required to navigate campus. For navigating campus, personal mobility devices should be determined in consultation with a healthcare professional and may include: motorized scooter, knee scooter, or crutches. Students 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.
  • Review campus maps to determine paths of travel.
  • 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 an NC DMV Disability Placard. Discuss with medical provider if NC DMV Temporary Disability Placard is appropriate


  • If short term hospitalization for treatment or recovery, explore Class Absence Notification request through the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • Follow up with instructor to determine if attendance in another course section could be used to make up missed material.
  • Absences can greatly impact the ability to complete essential course requirements.
Courses/Academic Schedule
  • 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 unanticipated temporary impairment, consult with an Academic Advisor regarding options to reduce credit hours, etc.
  • If unable to continue with current course load, 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 test be rescheduled within office hours.
  • Test format: If handwriting or typing is impacted, determine if test 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 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.

Limiting Screen Time due to Concussion

  • 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 instructor powerpoints in advance in order to utilize the paper version during class, rather than the projected or electronic version.

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.


  • 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 RA and roommate to implement 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.

Process for Requesting Temporary Accommodations

Individuals who need official accommodations through ODR must complete the below process. Accommodations are generally limited to obtaining copies of class notes and/or peer supplemental notes, use of assistive technology and proctoring examinations and make-ups.  

  1. Student request and documentation: Student must complete a Temporary Disability Disclosure Intake Form (found below) and submit documentation meeting guidelines
  2. Materials received: ODR will send a receipt to App State email verifying what materials have been received and next steps.
  3. Eligibility: Once both the Disability Disclosure Intake Form and sufficient documentation has been received, an eligibility determination will be made and sent via App State email with next steps. 
  4. Implementation: For most academic accommodations, a meeting is required to create an temporary Accommodation Plan which outlines approved accommodations. Relevant university resources to best support a student’s journey at Appalachian State University will also be discussed.   
  5. Using accommodation: Students must request access for faculty to view their Accommodation Plan (via ODR online module) and have an interactive conversation each semester with instructors of courses they need to receive accommodations in.

Submitting Materials to ODR

Materials may be submitted via fax, U.S. mail, or hand delivery.  In accordance with App State security policies, standards and guidelines, ODR is unable to receive  such documents via email.

Disability Disclosure Form & Documentation for Temporary Impairments

Temporary Impairment  Disclosure Intake Form [WORD, 49KB] Temporary Impairment Disclosure Intake Form [PDF, 19KB]

To document a temporary impairment/condition, the below form can be used or documentation under documentation guidelines can be used:

Documentation Form for Temporary Impairments [PDF, 1.62MB]