No announcement yet.

Quadriplegic: need information about going away to college.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    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

    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.


      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.



        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


          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


            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)


              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


                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?


                  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


                    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!



                      Originally posted by Dann21
                      I was wondering if anyone has, or knows of anybody that is a quadriplegic and has gone away to school, and lived on campus.
                      Yes, I know quite a few including myself

                      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?
                      1. Yes! Don't let anyone tell you different...
                      2. Um, not sure what you're asking...How did I enjoy it, or how did I manage?
                      3. Contact BVR and they will likely help with some of the fees...

                      You will really enjoy yourself Dann, you meet new people every day, and you'll get to participate in all of the school functions, study groups, and parties like someone else said...



                        hey, jayday... thanks for the support.

                        What is your injury level?

                        My question about "how does it work out", I meant like, as far as atypical day... getting up in the morning, what to do as far as an aid, college life, getting around, homework... that kind of stuff (I probably should have made my question more clearer when I first wrote it... ha ha).

                        I'm not really sure what college life would be like for someone in a wheelchair... currently in my school right now, I'm kind of just ignored.

                        For example: I come to class, and leave class... no one seems to interested in talking, and I always hate asking people to do stuff for me like... take my notes, get my books. I know I need to get over this, but it is always embarrassing for me.

                        Did you live in the dorm?.

                        These are sort of the types of questions I was wondering about.


                          Leaning to the left (you should drive with your elbow supported by the door and window on the left) while driving is much better than the other way .... on the right it means major trouble unless you have lateral supports. Make sure, as I am sure you are, to make it very safe before you drive. As suggested by others on this forum, crossing legs really helps with balance but I had to put a gas/break protector in front of the pedals to be able do do so myself without risk.

                          Now, while you wait for Jayday's response, here is what a typical day was for me (many variations obviously depending on when class would start that day or if I had exams and so on).

                          For class starting around 8h30:

                          - get up around 5h30
                          - do BP using suppository inserter and stimulator
                          - take a shower
                          - go back on toilet if necessary
                          - get dressed
                          - rarely had something to eat in the morning (bad thing, I know)
                          - get my school stuff and leave for classes (was living on campus, I would wheel to get there in the underground tunnels, very nice in winter, but many hills on the way)
                          - arrived in class exhausted from the tunnels (but in very good shape)
                          - depending of how many classes I had that day and when (I have always been a full time student), I would or not come back to my room for lunch
                          - 12h00 eat (cafeteria or in my room)
                          - 13h30 afternoon classes
                          - 16h00-18h00 come back to my room or directly go the cafeteria for evening meal
                          - study (or not ), meet friends, do the washing (rarely more than once a week), have fun (not as much during exams periods)
                          - go to bed around 22h00 or 23h00 (before or after depending of how tired and how many women are in my room, just kidding, or not ...)

                          And start all over again the next day.
                          Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)


                            I'm a C2/3 vent dependent quad, 21 years post injury. I went to college for my Associate's and lived in the dorm on my own and an apartment for a year after school.

                            As has been said, talk to the disability services at whatever school you atteend. They can help you with notetakers, accomodations, any of that kind of need. Voc Rehab helped me with funding for nursing while I was in school, which meant going home on weekends and breaks, but so did a number of students.

                            Going to study groups, parties, etc. wyith an assistant is possoble. Just make sure she/he understands that you need your space and to let be as you want.

                            What state do you live in? Some people on here may have ideas as to what schools are better in your area than others.
                            C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.


                              YOU CAN DO IT. Chad went to college as a C4 complete, 18 years ago, and he has no motor control or sensation below the shoulders more or less. He had a rotating schedule of up to 16 (!!) attendants, they were mostly friends from his fraternity or friends of friends. He had plenty of backup people to call if someone didn't show, but he didn't have many problems with that because his attendants were friends who actually cared about him.

                              The campus (this was in 1988) was not friendly to wheelchairs, so the university moved classes he was in to more easily accessible places (some people grumbled, including one PROFESSOR - jackass!! - but tough luck). Today that shouldn't be an issue.

                              Have an ECU (environmental control unit) on your wheelchair and in your bed.

                              Be brave.

                              And to quote Nike: JUST DO IT!

                              Chad would be happy to talk to you on the phone about allllll the details, PM me if you'd like to talk to him and I'll give you our number.
                              Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager