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Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center

School

School with POTS can be hard. Studying and attending class are difficult with headaches, brain fog and extreme fatigue. I have fallen asleep on more textbooks than I can remember and I have struggled to complete assignments during bad bouts of brain fog. The thing I have learned about attending school with POTS is that you must be open with the teachers about POTS from the beginning. If you wait to explain that you have a chronic illness after the first problem arises, there will likely be skepticism. The teachers who were the best about handling my illness were the ones who were kept in the loop the whole time.

 

If you have symptoms that you think will interfere with timely completion of work and/or class participation, schedule meetings with your advisor and all relevant instructors. Be prepared to show documentation from a doctor and provide explanations for what POTS is and what it will mean for you in terms of academics. This may mean you only need simple accommodations like a stool in lab, or it may mean more complex things like arrangements to do work from home during symptom flare-ups. Teachers should also be told what to do and who to contact if the student has a bad episode.

 

Be careful asking for special treatment that you don’t absolutely need. Other students will likely resent this and it has a way of encouraging you to make excuses for what is sometimes poor performance that is unrelated to POTS.  This can be a slippery slope.  

 

The other thing that is important is to never EVER use POTS as an excuse when it is not the reason for your problem. If you do this, you will get caught and ruin your ability to get legitimate assistance.

This page was last updated June 29, 2012 and is maintained by