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Thread: Quadriplegic: need information about going away to college.

  1. #1

    Quadriplegic: need information about going away to college.

    Does anybody have any information on how a C-5/C6 quadriplegic like me who's 23 years old can go away to college and lived in a dorm on campus, without the assistance of my parents?

    I really want to try to feel what it's like to be on my own. I know I am going to need assistance. For those of you who need more information about me. I cannot transfer, and basically pretty much need a lot of help. I'm a C-5-C6 quadriplegic, complete.

    I cannot drive, but I will be on campus, and that shouldn't be a big deal.

    I was wondering if anyone has, or knows of anybody that is a quadriplegic and has gone away to school, and lived on campus.

    There are a few things I would like to know.

    1. is it possible for someone with my type of injury to actually live on campus.

    2. if so, how does it work out?

    3. what are the costs involved?

    Which type of college I go to is not really that important to me, however, the care is.

    I know I cannot live with my parents forever, and I think that this would be a big step for me towards independence, to give me a feeling of what it's like.

    I will have my associates by the end of next summer, and I am looking forward to hopefully next year going away to college, I just don't know how I can do it, or how to go about.

    I'm not sure what policies some colleges have, or how they work.

    If anybody has any information, or needs to know more just post.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    call the disabled services at the college you want to attend.
    Get involved in politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. -- Justin Dart

    I shall not tolerate ignorance or hate speech on this site.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jeepin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    United States
    Good for you looking to get into campus life.

    You say it doesn't matter what college you go to but I think you will have to find a college that is set up in a way that you can easily transport yourself.

    The college I graduated from (prior to my injury) would in no way be a easy place to navigate in a chair. There are brick roads everywhere. The town is hilly to say the least. Most dorms had nothing but stairwells. While I was there I only saw one person in a chair. I don't know if they were a student or just visiting. (I really didn't stop to talk as I was haulin' @ss on my mountain bike)

    But it can be done so find a place that will work with you and for you. They have offices to help you out as stated prior by Liz321.
    Paralyze resistance with persistence.

  4. #4

    I agree with Liz321. Pick out some schools that have the curriculum you like and then narrow them down through their Disability Services office. My son is a C7 quad and attends the U of Oregon. He can transfer and drive and lives in the accessible housing that is part of the married housing units several blocks from campus.

    I expect there are also accessible units in the dorms on campus. The Disability Services office can probably assist you with attaining caregivers or services in their town that provide aides for the handicapped.

    Go for it! I think you will find many others have come before you and programs are in place to make it work for you.

    "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." Lin Yutang

  5. #5
    Senior Member MZack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    San Diego, CA
    It can be done. I lived on campus year-round for 3 1/2 years, almost immediately after rehab. I maximized my financial aid by petitioning to be declared independent of my parents, even though I was under 21 and had been listed as a dependent only a year or two before on my parents' tax returns.

    I couldn't transfer independently either. I got attendant care through an agency, paid by Medicaid. Rather than deal with the attendants the agency provided, I recruited my own and had them apply for a job with the agency, then work for me as an employee of the agency. I also got some additional coverage through the state voc rehab, too. Between the two, I was able to recruit fairly responsible attendants.

    Living on campus is great because you get to enjoy the real college experience - parties, study groups, coeds, etc. And it is also a good stepping stone on your way to living alone in a house or apartment. You can be independent, but with a lot of friends and other resources that can help if necessary. It definitely builds confidence.

    Check out some schools and see if they have an office of Disabled Student Services, and what they offer. I went to the State Univ. of NY at Stonybrook and it was more than I could have hoped for. I have no idea what its like there now b/c I moved to CA right after graduation in '92.

    Good luck

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Montreal, Canada
    I don't want to be accused of being a second fuentejps here (sorry fuentejps ) but here are my thoughts on that (excuse my mistakes in english, I am french speaking):
    Dann21, I was also injured at 16, a few questions, do you have full biceps function and full wrist extensors function, at C5-6 you should but no one is the same. The reason I ask is that I am a C5 quad too, motor complete, zero triceps or wrist extensors and so on. I did University studies, first outside campus (a bachelor's degree in business administration) and then a my degree in pharmacy on campus (another university). I lived alone for nearly 4 years when studying pharmacy. It was a one room "suite", called like that because there was a bathroom in my room (an absolute must) but other students had to share bathrooms in the corridor. I was mainly eating at the cafeteria and would also reheat (microwave) some stuff I would buy or that family members would give me when I was visiting them on some weekends (I drive). A maid would come once a week, a university service included in the room's price, and she would swipe the floor and replace bed sheets and all the towels in the bathroom, clean bathroom too. I would mostly do my washing in the washer/dryers of the dorm, but I admit that I often got help from many cute girls doing their washing at the same time as me .
    Since you are not going to university right away and you have some time in front of you, I would strongly suggest that (if possible, I understand it could not be) you take that time to get yourself able to make your transfers at least chair to bed and vice versa. Transfering to the shower could be more challenging. Why can't you drive? It is a very good way to be more independant. You could also get yourself to use a manual wheelchair (I could be wrong on that one but I saw in some of your previous posts that you did not like your image in your motorized one). All that to say, yes get all the help you need to do comfortable studies but do as much as possible not to need too much help. Everyone is different, but unless you were unlucky enough to be a very very weak C5-6, I am certain that you can do more on your own and it will be of great help and satisfaction through your studies. Feel free to ask questions on any detail of how it can be done.

    Don't give up and do those studies!
    Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

  7. #7
    I'm a C5/6, 20 yrs old, 2 years post and I started college last year but commuted. I'm living on campus this year, so I move in in about 3 weeks. So, I can't give much help on living there but I have taken a full schedule for a year.

    What I can tell you now is to try to be as independent as possible. You'll probably be more apprehensive to ask for help from kids at school than with parents/closer friends; which is a good thing. It will force you to figure shit out. If you start sorting things out now you might be able to be on campus by the spring semester. Good luck.
    C5/6- Workin' on Recovery

  8. #8

    addressing some of your questions

    Thank you all for your replies, they've been very hopeful.

    To address some of the questions as far as transferring, driving it, and my strength.

    On my left i am C6- I can flick my left rest up and down, I have bicep muscles, and very good control on my left side, and I can curl about 35 pounds doing reps of 10 using the “uppertone” system.

    On my right i am C5- however, my right side is significantly weaker than my left. I believe it is this side that stops me from using a manual wheelchair and transfers. Let me explain... I do not have any wrist movement on my right side, but I do have my bicep. I have no triceps on either arm. But getting to my problem... because my right side is significantly weaker, when I go to do things with my left arm, because it is so much stronger I lose my balance and continually fall to the left (my stronger side). I also noticed that in the mirror, my shoulder on the left is broad and normal looking, while my shoulder on the right is much smaller, and my arm rests very close to my body, my shoulder blade is offset, and it whenever I go to move my arm it has a limited range, because it locks in a certain spot and my shoulder cracks, thus making it very uncomfortable in my neck, along my whole right side (my right side contributes to a lot of my sadness, because I know it is holding me back from so much, i.e. transfers, manual wheelchair pushing because of my shoulder locking I can not get my arm to push as hard and propel my self-centered, and get my arm back fast enough to keep up with my left). As for driving, I am taking lessons, but had to stop because my balance is so all centered when I go to move my left arm, I lean to the left, so I have to get lateral supports (which I am in the process of doing right now), but if the lateral supports do not hold me in completely tight I don't think I will be able to drive (which will bother me even more, but hopefully the laterals work out).

    ***is there any way to correct this problem, if so how?***

    As for going away to college, I have not made a decision yet as far as where I want to go. I will get Mike Associates by the end of next summer. My goal is to be going away to college by the fall of 07.

    I am just worried about all of the help that I will need if I was to go away. Is it really possible for someone with my injury, and so many needs?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    I have no advice to add.....just encouragement. I think you can do it. Just work on getting stronger. You will have so much fun at college. I wish I had finished mine.

    Good luck.........
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  10. #10
    It thrills me to see you posting this here... I am proud of you and I know whatever you try you will make it. Just set small goals for yourself, take one day at a time...or one hour at a time, or even one MINUTE at a time. You can do it!

    Take care, God bless!


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