Now that you have been accepted, it is the responsibility of the medical school to provide you with whatever accommodations you need for success. That's the law.I recently received several acceptances and I’m ready to put down my deposit!
However, I’m gearing up to disclose a disability and I’m extremely nervous. I meet all technical requirements of every medical school I have applied to but I am still very nervous. Does anyone have any advice or encouragement about disclosing disabilities after acceptance? ADA allows me to keep this information private in the context of employment but I’m not sure if I messed up royally by not disclosing this up front.
Some context: I have absence seizures and they are refractory (I have tried every medication indicated for absence seizures with little to no success and severe side effects). I have experienced these seizures for 21 years. Shockingly and against all odds, they have remained stable through all of those years and my neurologist expects them to stay that way considering how long I’ve had it. I continue to have seizures daily that list for 30 seconds max. How often I have them is variable but it has never held me back from anything except driving and extreme sports. It can sometimes make people think I am briefly ignoring them but I usually just snap out of it, apologize earnestly, and ask the person to repeat themself. Most people don’t notice I have them as I have adapted to it and can reorient myself very rapidly when I become conscious again. There is very little literature relevant to a case like mine and it’s mechanism of action was only recently discovered by a lab at Stanford in 2016 investigating optogenetics.
I have only ever had to disclose my disability in an informal way and this will be my first time formally doing so. I am really nervous because I used to work for a disability advocacy consulting firm. The endless stories of people disclosing their disability and then losing their jobs (yes, it’s illegal under the ADA but it’s almost impossible to prove that an employer explicitly fired you for your disability) was very disheartening.
I am also concerned about transportation. I have been accepted to all DO schools and am thrilled to matriculate but this comes with the possibility of having to drive to other clinical sites or be placed in very rural areas with little to no transit if the lottery doesn’t allow me to stay in the city for clinical rotations. I have never been able to drive but have been able to live a relatively normal life by using public transit and cycling a LOT. Would it be an unreasonable accommodation to request staying in urban areas for clinical rotations?
Thank you! Any advice is immensely appreciated. Just writing this out makes me nervous.
You will need to discuss all of this with your schools Department of student services