To Professors Teaching Students With Joint Hypermobility Syndrome
There are few things I want you to understand when it comes to students who have joint hypermobility syndrome.
First, sitting for long period of time causes our joints to stiffen and lock up. This is why some students might leave to “go to the bathroom” or “get a drink of water” because their joints are becoming like iron rods under their skin. Please don’t take this as a sign of disrespect, not wanting to participate or not wanting to hear what you have to say during your lecture. We’re trying to remain still in our seats yet stay comfortable enough not to distract other students from learning.
This brings me to my second point. If students change their posture to sitting cross-legged to their legs hanging over the edge of the chair like a normal person to one foot under their bottom to practically leaning to one edge of the table over the other, know that this is normal. I know it can seem a bit distracting like we’re moving in our seats like first-grade students, but it’s almost nearly impossible to get comfortable. I’m not blaming the hard seats tables because even a big comfy couch can cause us to shift our weight about.
Third, looking at the projector screen while taking notes might seem like a simple task, although students who are hypermobile might lay their head on the table, scoot their chair away from the table to stretch their legs and use their lap as a surface for note taking. Or they might bring their knees to their chest and place their notebook close to their body to write. Note-taking is a common aspect in college classes, and sometimes these students need to improvise on how to do it.
Lastly, cracking and creaking joints is part of being hypermobile. You might see some students turn their head to their side and hear a disgusting crack from their neck. Please know that joints cracking by accident provides either a good relief sensation or a bad relief sensation. A good relief sensation loosens tense muscles or aligns bones in their correct place. A bad relief sensation causes other bones and joints to come loose from their alignment and cause more pain and discomfort. Please also know that we have no control over how joints pop, crack, align or come out of alignment as the muscles around our joints aren’t conditioned to keep them from popping or cracking and so forth.
We’re students who are trying to learn and remained focused like the rest of the class, but it’s more challenging, to say the least, for students who have joint hypermobility.
Angie, a college student with joint hypermobility
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