I had a student approach me several weeks ago with a question about protocols on campus. He has a trigger that can cause him to have a medical emergency; his trigger is something that is both scheduled and impromptu, so for the sake of this post, his trigger is floor cleaners. Floor cleaners can have a schedule, the custodial or facilities staff know, generally, when the floors will be cleaned. But, occasionally things happen and the floor cleaner needs to be used unscheduled.
This was the first time a student has ever approached me about this, but after I thought about it, it’s not surprising. Some people who have PTSD have triggers that most of us would never recognize. So I started making some phone calls to see if there are protocols in place for students who have similar problems. Many of the people I called had no idea where to start, a few were troubled by the fact that a student would be asking for this type of accommodation. I did, eventually, reach someone who had an idea of where to start.
At the beginning of the semester I had a very flustered student walk into my office whose schedule did not work for him. He was a transfer student, and as our department does, had his schedule set up for his first semester. However, he was scheduled for classes all day Wednesday and he worked all day Wednesday. He told me he wasn’t sure where to go and was concerned because he didn’t know if he should still attend classes he knew he couldn’t take. I attempted to reach his academic advisor but she wasn’t available. I tried to get him into an immediate meeting with another academic advisor but she wasn’t available either. I gave the student the contact information for his academic advisor and apologized that I couldn’t help further. He thanked me and said I was the most helpful person he encountered his entire time on campus.
Students have hidden needs all of the time, have you encountered requests you don’t know how to fill? Which office(s) on campus handle requests and accommodations? Do you have a go-to person who helps direct your questions to the appropriate resources on campus?