Test Taking with Type 1 Diabetes in Elementary/Primary School

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Taking a test can be nerve-racking for any child. Pile on trying to manage their blood sugars and with that, maintaining focus, and you encounter a whole new set of challenges. As a student with Type 1 diabetes, your child is entitled to specific rights such as testing blood sugar and treating it during school. That means if your child is not “in range,” he or she also has the right to schedule the test at another time. Here are some general test-taking tips and the laws that guarantee your child an equal opportunity to education.

Communicate with your teacher

Maintaining an open line of communication with your child’s teacher gives you the comfort of knowing that they are aware of what Type 1 is and how it’s treated. Let your teachers know in person about the symptoms of being too high or too low, what to do in case of an emergency, how blood sugar may impact your child’s performance at any given time, and other things that may apply to your child’s daily routine.

Test before the test

Make sure that your child tests his or her blood sugar before taking a test to see if he/she is in target range. (A school nurse can assist with this.) An extremely high or low blood sugar can affect concentration, recall and overall performance when taking a test, and is reasonable cause for delaying it. Have medical personnel correct your child’s blood sugar if it is not in range and delay the exam until it is.

The low box

Make sure your child has a “low box,” or stocked supplies for hypoglycemia. These quick acting sugars can help correct low blood sugars so your child can successfully perform academically.

Learn more about the “low box” at school.

Know your rights

In the USA, your 504 Plan ensures that no student with any sort of disability is discriminated against, and is given the same education as every other student, all the while being provided a safe space to manage their condition as needed during school. It was established by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law.

This means, that when you establish medical care protocol with your school, your 504 plan should detail what is considered “in range” for your blood sugar levels and that you have the option to take the text at another time if not in that specified range. The plan should also give a general explanation of what Type 1 is and how it is treated. With this document, students are permitted to manage Type 1 without worrying about falling short in the classroom.

In the UK, The Equality Act of 2010 protects students with Type 1 diabetes from discrimination and makes sure that they are given the same educational opportunities of those without the chronic illness. In Australia, refer to the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992.


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