Post SCI: Checklist before going back to school

By Pete Williams

August 8, 2016

Topics: Wheelchair Lifestyle

It’s been some time since you were in school and now you’re ready to go back, see your friends, and start learning again. You know things have changed since your spinal cord injury and that you need to prepare a little differently for your return to school, but where do you start? Consider going through this checklist to ensure you’re ready. Of course, having a parent or loved one assist you in all this planning will be helpful, too!



ScheduleYour school already knows about your spinal cord injury, but now you need to help them understand your expectations and requirements. Let them know if there are specific times you may need to step out of class to take medication or use the restroom, and think about timelines such as getting between classes. See if you can work out an agreement to leave a little earlier to make it to the next class or if each teacher is OK with your being a few minutes late as you get used to everything.


LockerIf necessary, ask for a locker which will allow you to reach just about all of the shelves or space. If your current locker doesn’t work, see if there are alternatives. If you have limited hand function, see what can be done to make locking and unlocking your locker a little easier.


Desks Discuss what you’ll do when it comes to a desk. Some people may choose to transfer to a desk while others may use a workspace desk that attaches onto their chair. If you’re in a science class, ask how they will accommodate you since most lab tables are much taller.


ParkingWhile you likely won’t be driving right away, when the time comes, you’ll want to ask if there’s an area that’s closer to the school where you can park. This can help make it easier to travel into school—especially if it snows where you live!

Physical Education First and foremost, this is up to your doctor. He/she will decide what you are ready to do and when. Until then, see what other options you have during this class time. When you get the approval from your doctor, don’t hesitate to get back into doing the things you love!

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Invacare Corporation. The information within this post is not nor is intended to be medical advice. Invacare Corporation accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


Pete Williams

Pete Williams

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, not Oakland California as my accent may convey. I attended Auckland University of Technology and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelors in Communications Studies. In 1983 when I was born with Spina Bifida, the Doctors gave me 3 days to live. I sure proved them wrong and here I am 33 years and 50+ operations later. I’ve spent about 10% of my life in a hospital or medical facility. I’ve never let my disability get in the way of having a full-on life. I work full time as a Business Manager and have represented New Zealand at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Snow Skiing.

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