FLEX for students with disabilities – Q&A

By sitemanager | August 22, 2019

Not many students with disabilities become FLEX finalists. Why should I try?

FLEX finalists are selected in proportion to the number of students who test both with disabilities and without them. It is always difficult to decide to try something new, especially something very important such as spending a year far way from one’s family and friends. It is even more difficult to do this if one is not sure of his or her language skills or ability to perform everything independently. Based on the experience of our alumni, this experience is worth the effort of trying to obtain it. Its advantages are invaluable even if the first step is very difficult.

What if my English language level is not good enough?

If you become a FLEX finalist your language skills are good. If your language skills are at a lower level you might be assigned to language training. There are two possibilities:

You might be assigned to participate in a camp called “English as a Foreign Language” organized by American Councils in Chisinau, Moldova in July.

You might be selected as a FLEX finalist who needs to participate in the Language Program. This means that your Placement Organization will provide you with up to two weeks of intensive studying or tutoring in English in the USA before school begins.

If I need medical assistance in the USA, who will pay for it?

The FLEX program provides all finalists with medical insurance that covers emergency cases. However, FLEX is not a medical program and does not cover elective medical procedures, consultations, treatment, or surgeries.

Are the medications I need available in the U.S.? If so what is the cost of medication?

It is very likely that the medications students use in their home countries will not be available in the U.S. without a prescription, and may be significantly more expensive in the U.S. Therefore, we recommend that students bring a year’s supply of their medication and other medical supplies in the original packaging with a note from their doctor.

Will my prescription from my home country be honored in the U.S.?

No. However, it is good to bring a copy of a prescription in case customs officers at the airport have questions and to show a U.S. doctor in case you need to get a prescription.

I take an over-the-counter medication/supplement every day? Is it available in the U.S.?

Maybe. However, it is recommended that you bring this from your country in case it is not available over-the-counter in the U.S. You should also write the name of the medicine in English on the container. If available in the U.S., the price may be higher than in your home country.

Can I purchase hearing aid batteries, syringes, test strips, or other medical supplies in the U.S.? How much will this cost?

Yes. However, you should still bring these from your home countries, as you will likely not be able to go to the pharmacy immediately upon arrival to the U.S. These will likely be more expensive than in your home countries, and if you would like to buy them in the U.S. you should research the costs of your specific items in advance.

Should I bring my wheelchair, cane, crutches, walker, shower chair, etc. to the U.S. with me, or will this be provided in the U.S.?

You should bring any equipment which you use on a daily basis (wheelchair, cane, etc.) If you require equipment which is not portable, i.e. a shower chair, you should inform the hub office so your placement organization, American Councils, and ECA can be aware of this need.

I need to go to the doctor every 6 weeks. How do I arrange this in the U. S.?

As this is considered a pre-existing condition, the program insurance will not cover these visits, which will be significantly more expensive than in your home country. Also, you should be aware that certain procedures or forms of therapy may differ in the U.S. or may be easily available in your host community.

My doctor says that I should swim every day. Where will I be able to do this in the U.S.?

The program does not promise the participants the opportunity to swim on a daily basis and you should be prepared that facilities may not be available in your host community. In this case, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor and ask if they would recommend something else instead of swimming (stretching exercises, etc.)

I am excused from physical education at home. Will I be excused in the U.S.?

If you are medically prohibited from physical education classes in your home country and have a doctor’s note documenting this fact, you can be excused from physical education class in the U.S. Some students take part in “specialized” physical education classes in their home countries, and should be aware that this likely will not exist in their U.S. high school.

What happens if my vision/current health condition starts to deteriorate?

In the case that you have poor vision and it becomes worse, this would be considered a pre-existing condition and anything related to these medical visits will not be covered by program insurance, so participants and their parents would be expected to pay for any related costs. In the case that your health deteriorates, your PO will work with a doctor in your host community to determine whether you can continue your program.

Has my host family had experience hosting a student with disabilities before?

Some host families may have experience hosting a student with a disability, or have a family member with a disability, or no prior experience living with a person with a particular disability before. Regardless, host families will receive advice and information from American Councils as well as continuous support throughout the year from the placement organization.

What type of high school will I attend?

The school a participant attends is dependent on the community where the participant will live, as well as which school the placement organization can secure a placement at. Some students may study at a specialized school for students with disabilities, while others may study in an inclusive environment.

Will I have an aide in school to help me take notes, carry my books, guide me around the school?

Upon arrival to the U.S., an organization under contract with DOS will perform assessment of the student’s needs and convey those and recommendations to the placement organization. It is important to remember that accommodations may differ in the U.S., but that every possible effort will be made to help students succeed.

Will there be Braille materials available for my use in school?

Maybe. However, if a school does not have Braille materials available, some other accommodation will be provided to make the material accessible to students.