Guide to POTS

Hoping this makes a confusing chronic illness diagnosis easier

Pots and School

Disclaimer: I am just going to clarify that I am a teacher so I am speaking from both a teaching perspective and a student perspective who has gone through this but I am not a medical or a legal professional, please consult them if you need them. 

Here I want to speak to K-12 schools and the options available to you as a parent or student who has a chronic illness. I am going to outline the 4 current school options for students in the US. If you wish to read more on POTS and college please click here.

POTS and traditionally schooling will solely depend on you / your student. Each person with POTS is different and POTS is different from day to day and year to year. Some people have POTS flare up so POTS can be at bay for a while. Personally I do not have flare up but it is a constant thing in my life. That being said I am going to outline a few different ways students with POTS can get a full education.

I want to make it absolutely clear that every person in the United States has the right to a free and equal education. Your public school cannot kick you out for POTS or any learning or medical disability. 

1. Go to school

This is the best option for students who are able to. Going to school not only provides an education but also a collaborative environment and social skills that you cannot get in the other circumstances I have named. That being said school is already a stressful environment and then adding a chronic illness to it can cause it to flare more often. There might also be stress around absences and returning to school with missed work.

2. At home tutoring

I can only speak to MA but you should receive tutoring at home if you are out of school for more than 2 weeks. The school is legally obligated to provide tutors who will come to your house (as long as there is not a communicable disease, ex covid). These tutors generally provide 1 hour of service per day or 1 hour per subject. This is a good option for students who are either in and out of school for long periods of time or for students who are unable to learn in school and struggle with online tutoring. These tutoring times can be arranged around doctor’s appointments, medical issues, and scheduled around when POTS symptoms are at bay. You must complete the number of hours designated each week though.


3. Online schooling

Online schooling has come very far since the pandemic and more and more students every year are joining online schools and classes. Your state might have an online school that you can join or they might suggest an online school for you. This takes a lot of devotion and self-discipline from students to keep on track of their work and assignments. A lot of online schools are asynchronous so this can help with not waking up so early if POTS symptoms are worse in the morning. With those classes they need to be completed by a certain amount of time but they do not have a certain number of hours each week. This can be great for students who have bad symptoms one week and the next week are doing better.

4. Homeschooling

Homeschool is a good option for those who want more control over the curriculum but it puts a lot more on the parent who is doing the teaching. Remember that with POTS there are other factors at play, such as memory. It can be challenging for the primary caregiver to also be the primary teacher.

Further Reading

Boersma, Erin. “Thriving in School: Navigating K-12 Education with Dysautonomia 2nd Edition. 2022.” Dysautonomia Support Network, Accessed 4 April 2023.

“Classroom Accommodations for Children with Dysautonomia.” Dysautonomia International, Accessed 4 April 2023.

“Classroom Accommodations for Students with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).” Standing Up To POTS, Accessed 4 April 2023.

Mohanty, Karmel, and Lesley Kavi. “Education: Going to school when you live with PoTS.” PoTS UK, Accessed 4 April 2023.

“School and College Accommodations.” Standing Up To POTS, Accessed 4 April 2023.

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