Test Taking with Type 1 Diabetes in High/Secondary School

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Tests, pop quizzes, and final exams can be stressful! When you add diabetes into the mix, you may have some days where you are not feeling 100%. You should always test before an examination to make sure your blood sugars are in range. If they aren’t, you are eligible to take the exam when they are. Here are some tips to prepare for a day in the classroom and what to know in accordance to disability laws.

Communicate with your teachers

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

Test before the test

Test your blood sugar before you have a test and see if you are in your target range. 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. Correct blood sugars and know you legally have the option to reschedule the exam.

Stock up

Snacks, meters, extra sites, and any extra supplies that you think you might need. Be prepared for whatever action you might need to take before and during an exam!

If you blood sugar is too high or too low, you have rights as a person with Type 1 to make alternative arrangements and take the test at a later time when it is in range.

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.

If you are taking the SAT, ACT or other college-entrance exams, you can receive accommodations for T1D management. For example, many students with T1D can receive special permission to have their diabetes supplies with them in the testing area and are allotted extra or longer break time in order to treat their diabetes. It’s a good idea to contact the testing agencies several months in advance of the test, because the process of obtaining permission for special accommodations can take a long time. You can find the steps necessary to apply for accommodations for the SAT here and for the ACT here.


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