Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diabetes and School

Yesterday I met up with my project advisor - my local chapter of JDRF's president. At least I think that's her title. :P She's really awesome and was all for it, so I have the go-ahead that I wanted [do actually need council's approval to 'officially' do stuff... meh.]

I got a bunch of the JDRF resources, including the school and diabetes toolkit. I kind of wish I found it before I took the ACT and a bunch of AP tests, because it spells out everything you need. It's also got an interesting section on informing college people you've got D, which will come in handy next year for me.

My part in this is working to make a 'hold all' presentation that doesn't overwhelm but offers you 'further reading'. I'm making one for kids, teens, and adults [without d] and one for people with d or the caregivers thereof. Obviously dealing with school is something that everybody will have to do, so this falls under living with d.

So basing off my own experiences, this is sort of an outline of what the part of the presentation 'School and Diabetes' shall be.
- Make a 504 plan. If you haven't needed it before, do it freshman year so it's there when you need to take important standardized tests.
- You will probably need a 504 anyway, to make even the most obvious/small of concessions [being able to test wherever is a big one that schools don't usually give you by default.] If the kid isn't really involved in their care, you will need to spell out your expectations for the school and what you will do for them.
- Dealing with the ACT - talk to your counselors in the fall of junior year. They probably don't know much about it, but need to be on board with you. You need to apply effort, find and fill out the testing concessions form. I don't believe you need a letter from your endo [depends on the concessions you're asking for? further research needed].
- SAT and AP/CollegeBoard Tests - These need to be in EARLY. For AP tests, which are in May, I was supposed to have my request for concessions in by December. This does require a letter from your endo stating you have diabetes (duh. why else would I ask for permission to have food?) and for your counselors/testing coordinator to sign up and fill out some paperwork.
- At my school I was the first person to request these concessions [afaik], and I didn't even bother to ask for stopping the clock [you should!]. I believe I was given that on the ACT, because I took it alone in a different room [they were concerned about me eating and distracting others]. I had my fruit snacks and meter on the table with my pencils and test.
- For AP, I took it with the rest of the group because there was only one proctor. If I had needed to stop the clock, I'm not sure what I would have done. I was allowed to exit the room and return, although again, I dunno if I got time back. This is probably due to the fact that I filed the paperwork in March because I didn't know it needed to be in in December. I kept fruit snacks and meter on my desk, and only had to wolf down a package between two sections of the Calc test on the first day, then I adjusted my basal/food accordingly.

In terms of the 504. I'm not sure about it, because the student is not really involved in the process a whole lot. I know that I have permission for random bathroom breaks, eating in class, and testing wherever I want/need to. [For little kids, or those of us who get really low without noticing, or for peace of mind, being required to take a buddy to the location of food should be in big bold letters in this.] Usually I don't need to take advantage of any of these [except eating. but I don't make a big deal about it.] If a teacher makes a fuss, I pull the 'would you rather me be passed out on the floor' card... But my mom emails them all before school starts with the 'Jackie has type 1 diabetes' spiel, which basically says she's not texting in class, and might act weird, at which point she should eat something. :P

Having covered the testing/education bits, on to 'where do I keep food etc.' When I was in elementary school, I had a box in the room [under the teacher's desk I think] with low stuff, and a meter. We live five minutes from school, so I didn't have any extra sites or anything because my mom would have to come in to fix it anyway [she also works on campus, which is nice]. There was an additional box in the office with more food, quarters for the pop machine if needed, and the glucagon. We had a trained EMT as an administrator, so we didn't worry a whole lot. We also told my bus driver, basically as a 'don't yell at her if she's eating' precaution, and all of that. I always drank a juice box on the way to gym class.

In junior high, we kept a box in the office with food, quarters, and gluc. I had another box in the gym office with food in it. I kept more food in my locker in a Tupperware, had some fruit snacks in my backpack, and my meter somewhere in all that.
Nowadays, I am somewhat sure that the gluc is in the office [really should check that.] I keep a ridiculous amount of food in my locker, plus more in my backpack, and everywhere in the car [center console, glove box, backseat...] I really should have designated money in there for buying starbursts when I'm low and out of food, but I don't... I normally carry around $5 or so anyway. I have my purple OneTouch Mini [that I don't use...] and an extra site and IV prep wipe in my backpack. My mom works across the street, and I can go home if needed to take care of d related issues with her permission. Freshman year, I had a box of food in the gym office again; for sports [soccer] I kept a lot of fruit snacks in my bag. They ended up being partially melted but sugar's sugar.

How do you deal with diabetes in school?

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