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Sickle cell anaemia or sickle cell disease, is a genetically inherited blood disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells. Red blood cells are normally round, smooth, and soft, which allows them to move easily through the blood system. In sickle cell disease, blood cells are crescent, or sickle-shaped, and rigid.

This is due to blood cells that contain an abnormal type of haemoglobin.


The abnormal shape of red blood cells prevents the cells from properly moving through blood vessels and carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. The sickle-shaped blood cells die sooner than ordinary blood cells, which results in significantly fewer red blood cells and causes anaemia.

RPwD ACT 2016

Sickle Cell Disease is a group of blood disorders that causes red blood cells (RBCs) to become sickle-shaped, misshapen and break down. It is a genetically transferred disease. The RPWD Act 2016 has recognized persons with blood disorders (Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell Disease) as 'persons with disabilities' under the Act. Those with 40% and above disability will be given a Disability Certificate.


For more information please read RPwD Act 2016 under ask T.I.N.A.


People with sickle cell disease experience chronic anemia and periodic episodes of pain, sometimes referred to as “crisis”.  When the sickle-shaped blood cells block the flow of blood and oxygen to the limbs and organs of the body, severe pain and damage to tissues and organs can result. People can experience pain episodes affecting the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen; damage to the lungs, spleen, kidneys, and liver, among other organs; have a stroke; and develop acute chest syndrome and bacterial infections. Symptoms can range from mild to very severe.

Sickle cell disease is a lifelong, chronic condition, and its symptoms can be treated, but for most people there is no cure. People with sickle cell disease often require prophylactic antibiotics, folic acid supplementation, pain management, intravenous fluids, and frequent blood transfusions. Blood transfusions reduce recurrent pain crises, the risk of stroke, and other complications.


Sickle Cell Anemia and the RPD ACT 2016.


The RPD ACT does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the RPD ACT has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the act refer RPWD Act.


Accommodating Students with Sickle Cell Anemia


People with sickle cell anemia may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people who are aging will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:


  1. What limitations is the student experiencing?

  2. How do these limitations affect the student and the student’s job performance?

  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?

  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?

  5. Has the student been consulted regarding possible accommodations?

  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the student to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?

  7. Do supervisory personnel and students need training?


Accommodation Ideas

By Limitation of Effect of / Receive Medical Treatment

Medical Treatment
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Device

  • Flexible Schedule

  • Outgoing Voice Amplification - Telephone 

  • Personal On-Site Paging Devices

  • Protective Eyewear

  • Telework, Work from Home, Working Remotely

  • Voice Amplification

By Limitation of Pain



  • Adjustable Workstations for Industrial Settings

  • Anti-fatigue Matting

  • Anti-vibration Gloves

  • Anti-vibration Tool Wraps

  • Carts

  • Compact Material Handling

  • Wearable Anti-fatigue Matting


  • Aide/Assistant/Attendant

  • Automatic Door Openers

  • Flexible Schedule

  • Modified Break Schedule

  • Scooters

  • Service Animal

  • Stand-lean Stools

  • Telework, Work from Home, Working Remotely

  • Worksite Redesign / Modified Workspace

  • Workstation Space Heaters


  • Adjustable Workstations for Office Settings

  • Alternative Keyboards

  • Alternative Mice

  • Chairs with Head Support

  • Ergonomic and Adjustable Office Chairs

  • Ergonomic Assessments

  • Ergonomic Equipment

  • Forearm Supports

  • Gooseneck and Other Telephone Holders

  • Scribe/Notetaker

  • Speech Recognition Software

  • Supine Workstations

  • Writing Aids

By Limitation of Stress Intolerance

Strss Intolerance
  • Apps for Anxiety and Stress

  • Behaviour Modification Techniques

  • Counselling/Therapy

  • Environmental Sound Machines / Tinnitus Maskers / White Noise Machines

  • Flexible Schedule

  • Job Restructuring

  • Marginal Functions

  • Modified Break Schedule

  • Supervisory Methods

  • Support Animal

  • Support Person

By Limitation of Suppressed Immune System

Immune System
  • Disability Awareness/Etiquette Training

  • Hand Protection

  • Physical/Social Distancing Signage

  • Policy Modification

  • Telework, Work from Home, Working Remotely

  • Worksite Redesign / Modified Workspace

By Limitation of Temperature Sensitivity

Temp Senstivity

Sensitivity to Cold

  • Air Deflectors

  • Cold Resistant Gloves

  • Flexible Schedule

  • Heated Clothing

  • Heated Ergonomic and Computer Products

  • Heated Gloves

  • Telework, Work from Home, Working Remotely

  • Vent Cover

  • Workstation Space Heaters

Sensitivity to Hot

  • Air Deflectors

  • Cooling Clothing

  • Fans

  • Flexible Schedule

  • Heated Clothing

  • Portable Air Conditioners

  • Telework, Work from Home, Working Remotely

  • Vent Covers

  1. A student has sickle cell anaemia and discloses that it causes her to have episodes of considerable pain. The college agrees to make adjustments to her schedule to allow for flexibility when needed as well as provide some intermittent leave time for more extreme episodes.

  2. A student has compromised immune system function due to their diagnosis of sickle cell anemia. The student is applying to course that requires a great deal of communication with other students and community, which is normally done in person.

  3. The college agrees to provide the individual with protective masks/smart phone and sanitization products when in-person communication is required, while also allowing the individual to communicate with students and the community electronically when possible to further reduce exposure.

  4. A student with sickle cell anaemia has been having problems with typing duties due to his hands swelling. The employer provides the individual with speech recognition software and a head controlled input device as accommodations to allow him to use his computer in a manner that does not require him to physically use a keyboard or mouse.

  5. A student with sickle cell anemia has disclosed that they are experiencing limitations due to chronic fatigue. The individual has noticed that the quality of her work suffers near the end of their shift and is requesting accommodations to help with this. The school agrees to modify the individual’s schedule s o that she has a 1-2 hour break in the middle of the class.

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