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What Help Can I Get For College?

education narcolepsy college

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#1 dozeydaisy



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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:14 AM

I've had narcolepsy since I was about 13, it was not diagnosed till I was 16, which was two years ago. I had a terrible time at school however i managed to just pass my GCSE's which I will say was luck. I slept through every class and was very quickly known for it, teachers would pick me out at first then they just gave up with me. Leaving me too it. 

I tried everything, earlier nights banging my head against the desk asking my friends to wake me up but nothing worked. After a horrible time at school i wondered if college would be better and no. I took media so there was a lot of sitting in the dark and watching movies, that didn't end well and again was humiliated constantly. I just believed i was lazy and felt horrible for it. 

Not that i have been diagnosed i was hoping to go back but my past experiences have made me very fearful of that humiliation again. Not to mention that i have to pay for my education this time and I don't want to miss the classes i'm paying for. But i don't know what help i can get, i have emailed the college and had no reply so far. I'm doing better then i had when i was younger as i can sit at a desk and not sleep all the time but it still worries me. 

Anyone know of any help that is out there? 

#2 jpsmith8488



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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:57 AM

For all of the suffering and humiliation that has been visited on you by narcolepsy, you sound as though you have a determined constitution and that such a constitution should give you the confidence to forge ahead knowing that you will overcome your university educational difficulties, too.


Given that you have received a diagnosis, I would imagine that you are on properly adjusted doses of Xyrem and either Adderall or Modafinil and these are of material help in controlling your symptoms. As your post is from London, England, I must confess that my ability to offer suggestions that are consistent with English law is nonexistent but I can offer some general comments that may have some applicability to the English system. 


In the United States, you would have recognized disability and as such educational institutions and places of employment would need to make reasonable accommodations to permit you to study and work even with narcolepsy. In my case, I have a letter from my sleep physician on file with my employer that permits me to take short naps as needed. Following a 20 to 30 minute nap I am much more productive and I can avoid a dose of Adderall.


Are you able to take any of your classes online? If so, you may find it easier to create a stimulating learning environment at home working on your computer and being entirely self-directed than if you had to sit in an overly warm, dimly lit lecture hall listening to a professor speaking in a low monotone.


There may be university programs available to you that offer an undergraduate degree that can be obtained at least in large part by online learning. I am working on a master's degree from a university that offers the degree entirely by online instruction and my courses are identical to those given to the students who are pursuing a master's degree in the same program on campus. This allows me to stay awake and to take a nap during "class" if I need to do so. 

#3 AnnieJoy



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Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:13 PM

I skipped my senior year because I couldn't handle it. I thought college would be better, and for me it is. Right now I have a full freshman load, but I live at home (we thought it was best for the first year while I'm working out medications for the N), I only have classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and 1 on Saturday. I still have problems with the concentration.


But the new start. The new start was worth it. 

You've got to have the diagnosis. Every college must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I know that as soon as i get it on paper that I am a PWN, I'm going to the student services center, getting a note taker for my classes, and moving around dates for my finals. I also tell my profs when I first meet them, "Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm going through a diagnosis for Narcolepsy right now. I just wanted you to know that if I look tired or spaced out, I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I'm just doing my best to stay lucid and keep it from interfering with my course work." (Something like that) Typically they are a bit surprised that I hide it well, and they just say something like, hey, if you need anything, just let me know! And some of them have no idea what it means, but they know it's troubling you, so they help. 

EVERY college has to work with students with disabilities. If you have paperwork, you have help. But you have to be ACTIVELY advocating for yourself. 

Health first. Slow down school if you need to. Play with your scheduling to get the best times for you and your sleep schedule. Work with your doc on the meds. 

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