Yellow buses, school supplies, and clothes shopping are all sure indicators that the start of a new school year is upon us…bringing joy and excitement to many families. However, if you are the parent of a type 1 diabetic child, this time of year brings lots of uncertainty and stress.
- Will the school be able to adequately care for your child?
- What are your rights?
- How do you approach your child’s teacher with your concerns?
These are all questions that families with a type 1 diabetic must ponder.
What is a 504 plan?
Usually a 504 for plan is used for general education students not requiring an individualized education plan. According to the American Diabetes Association:
“The 504 Plan sets out an agreement to make sure the student with diabetes has the same access to education as other children. It is a tool that can be used to make sure that the student, the parents/guardians, and school personnel understand their responsibilities and work through challenges or misunderstandings to avoid problems in the future.”
Although different school districts vary on their willingness to provide a 504…parents need to know their rights and understand that a 504 plan is a legally binding document to which the school must adhere.
Possible Accommodations for a Type 1 Diabetic in a 504 Plan
- Ability for the child to carry testing supplies on person at all times
- Longer lunch times if needed
- Access to restroom breaks whenever needed
- Having a trained staff member available to help check blood sugar and administer insulin if needed
- Allowing for extra sick days for doctor appointments and to deal with the health effects of the disease.
For a sample 504 plan for a student with type 1 diabetes click on this link:
We here at Will’s Way encourage parents, students and the community to become educated on not only type 1 diabetes, but your rights when living with type 1 diabetes. Please don’t assume your school, your school nurse, teacher or principal understand type 1 diabetes. Take the time to educate them on what it is and what it isn’t.
Opening lines of communication is the key to having a successful year of diabetic management. Your child’s school and school staff must become part of your diabetic team that work with you to ensure your child’s success and safety. A little extra time, a little extra organization, and a little extra communication are all keys to start your type 1 diabetic child on a successful school year.