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declaring a disability

Discussion in 'Diabetes and College' started by pianoplayer4, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. pianoplayer4

    pianoplayer4 Approved members

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    So I've already been accepted and confirmed to my college of choice, and I just received information about orientation/ placement tests... there is information about declaring a disability to get accommodation for these tests (and future ones) part of me feels like this is a no brainer and I should do it... but I'm worried that these accommodations might affect the way my profs treat me/ cause more harm than help....

    has anyone done this? what are the pro's, what about the cons?
     
  2. KatieSue

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    We're not there yet but we attended a "diabetes in college" panel that had both parents and college kids. They all highly recommended signing up. It can also help with dorm placement, you need to have access to a fridge, and other things that can make your life a little easier. And if you don't need to use them that's fine too but at least they're in place.
     
  3. Amy C.

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    I would check out what the accommodations are. My son attends a large state school in our town and they had cookie cutter accommodations for diabetes. I believe he got to choose what he wanted.

    As I recall, he choose early registration and time and a half for exams. He has to approach each prof at the beginning of the semester, otherwise he doesn't get the accommodation. Each prof has a different way to accommodate my son -- some have no idea what to do and my son has to tell them what their options are.

    At my son's school, profs are forbidden from asking why the accommodation (although one did ask).

    I am not sure it helped much. He needed time and a half for quizzes, which wasn't covered. He does like being first in line (so to speak) for registration.
     
  4. cdninct

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    My husband is a university prof, and some terms it seems like most of his students have documented disabilities, from the very serious to the rather ridiculous! Trust me: you will not stand out (in a bad way, I mean!).

    At my husband's university, professors are not automatically notified of a student's involvement with disability services--it is up to the student to bring the appropriate paperwork to the professor, at which point accommodations are discussed, so assuming your institution is the same, there will be no "red flag" on file anywhere!
     
  5. Megnyc

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    First, congrats! Most of the schools I applied to didn't decisions until April 1 so I was still so anxious in March of senior year. I had gotten likely letters but I still had no "official" acceptances. It must be a big relief to know where you are going next year!
    I am not registered with our disabilities office. I don't see any harm in registering. I just didn't see a reason to. We are allowed to bring food and drinks into class and drinks into exams. All the freshmen lived on the same part of campus so I did not need any sort of preferential housing. I live in my sorority house now and next year I am living in an apartment with friends. In terms of classes I figure for a job I am/will be expected to get there on time like everyone else so I did not want any special treatment.

    Do you think you want/need extended time? You would want to register for that. I know my school won't give any extended time regardless of the disability if the exam is intended to have time matter. And I agree that extra time would be very unfair for most of our exams since there is such a huge time crunch. All science classes here are graded on a curve (to the line between a C+ and B-) with exams that are not intended to be able to be fully completed in the allotted time. While there have been times I have had to go to the bathroom during an exam cause I was high I am sure other people have had other reasons to waste time during an exam as well.

    It comes down to being a choice you have to make. I am pretty sure you will be fine either way! Let me know if you have any questions.
     
  6. misscaitp

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    I'm registered with my disability services office. I find it helpful, not really with diabetes, but other things. But some of the things that I was able to get through having diabetes are the ability to bring food into classrooms (this is a particular no-no in our science labs) and the ability to reschedule an exam due to high blood sugar or low blood sugar. Also, professors seem to understand more if I miss a class due to blood sugars being out of range. Also another perk of being registered with my disabilities office is that during final time we have the choice of only taking 1 exam a day rather than mutiple in one day.

    With the orientation/placement test, the professors never see that you did take it with accommodations, just like the SAT.

    As someone who is registered for things other than diabetes it has definitely helped me reach my potential. I haven't realized a different reaction or treatment from my professors, many of them have been more than accommodating and wanting to make sure I meet my potential. I'm not sure how it is a bigger universities, but my small liberal arts college is very welcoming of students with disabilities. I don't think it can hurt.

    I would search your college, maybe on College Confidential, to see others experiences with disability services.


    BTW...My college accommodations are:
    • Food and drinks in the classroom
    • Attendance flexibility (some professors have a 1 absence policy)
    • Reschedule exams for Blood Sugar issues
    • Separate Space for Exams
    • Time and a Half for Exams
    • Use of Computer in Class for Notes (some professors ban computers)
    • Use of Computer for Exam
     
  7. jilmarie

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    I also did not register for accommodations in college or grad school. I don't think there is any harm in doing so, but I am fairly private about my diabetes and didn't see the need for accommodations.

    My experience was that food and drink were allowed in the classroom. There are a few exceptions such as science labs, but in that case I would just keep tabs in my pocket and other snacks in my bag at the edge of the room. No big deal. I'm a fast test-taker and didn't see the need for any additional time during tests. I honestly don't understand the concept behind needing early registration or having a computer in the classroom :confused:

    There are two instances that I can recall where diabetes was an issue:
    1) I was really sick in the fall of my junior year with very high blood sugars and I asked for an extension on a paper. (Granted without issue)

    2) For national tests such as the MCAT and USMLE (administered in a prometric test center with fingerprinting, patdown, ect) I needed an exception form from my doctor to wear my insulin pump. This ended up not being faxed to the appropriate people in time, but the test administrator allowed it. For all of the rest of them I put my pump in my bra on vibrate. :rolleyes:
     
  8. mocha

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    I did not sign up with the disabilities office when I was in college, but I did go up to professors and made sure they knew I had diabetes, especially in upper level classes or classes where they were super paranoid about cheating. I wanted to make sure they knew that I wasn't trying to disrupt the class/exam if I was rummaging through my backpack for my meter/tabs or if my pump decided to beep every 2 minutes.

    During exams, they let me have my meter and tabs out so I'd have them on hand in case I needed them and so there wasn't any confusion about cheating (there was one class where over half the kids were caught cheating, so they became super paranoid about it, as did I. I didn't want them to mistake a bolus for texting or anything like that, and they were very understanding of it.)

    I never did get more sick days than anyone else, but I never really fought for that, but I probably should have, looking back.
     
  9. Megnyc

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    Sorry, too insensitive.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  10. moco89

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    I have received accommodations throughout my study at university.

    But, in addition to type 1 diabetes, I have (autoimmune) autonomic neuropathy, causing severe gastroparesis, severe orthostatic hypotension, etc.

    The engineering college at my university is not very accommodating and I have encountered problems every semester. Disability services even admits the engineering college is the worst to deal with.

    Professors usually do not judge you if you have accommodations, so I wouldn't be too worried about it. I personally would not try to get accommodations for diabetes, unless you have experienced problems in the past (extended periods of illness, diabetes complications, other health problems that make diabetes control worse).

    Anyways, I receive accommodations such as:

    - Extension of due dates (not to include term assignments)
    - Exception to absentee policies
    - Extended testing time (up to double time)
    - Testing in a distraction-reduced environment
    - No more than one exam per day
    - Priority registration

    These are pretty cookie-cutter accommodations....
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  11. moco89

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    Most people do not have to endure these sort of academic conditions, unless they are a natural sciences/mathematics/pre-professional/engineering student. However, in order to make decent grades, many will have to make sacrifices.

    I studied for 60 hours straight for an electrical engineering analysis exam at university-no showering, eating, or breaks. At that point in time in my academic career, I was taking 10 hours total (not full time), but I had to take at least two sick days per week due to my autonomic neuropathy. My "good" days were minimally productive due to chronic nausea and vomiting and severe orthostatic hypotension. When I went on my "extreme studying" escapade, I was extremely behind in that particular course. I got a 91 on the exam with hard work.


    You are not an engineer. You are an engineering STUDENT. Do not call yourself an engineer until you receive your degree. It is unprofessional to call yourself one, and in many foreign countries (and even a handful of states in the US), you cannot call yourself an engineer unless you have the PE certification (or equivalent).

    Guess what? I am one of the few female engineering students in my major too. I have never needed to prove myself to others. I do have a twin brother, so I am used to being around guys and I naturally am friends with a lot of guys. They do not treat me any different than their male friends. We have so much on our plates that we are down to business (doing schoolwork nonstop).

    Anyway, having accommodations is not about being treated "special". It is supposed (or intended) to compensate for deficiencies that occur due to a disability or disabilities. Diabetes-related accommodations tend to be extremely lenient relative to the functional aspects of the disability caused.

    I do receive extended testing time and I do think it is unfair to my peers. I always finish my engineering exams while my friends are time-pressed and often do not finish. Due to the limitations of my disabilities, I probably would not be successful without extra time on exams (try concentrating with severe nausea, fatigue, and low blood pressure-less blood flow to your brain). I just wish there was some sort of a balance.

    Again, you have a skewed view regarding the functional limitations caused by various disabilities. I have to ask for help all of the time when I need to turn in assignments late, which is an accommodation I receive. I have to ask for permission to turn in assignments late. I get overwhelmed too, but most of the time, it is not directly related to academic issues. My health dictates my wellbeing and it is my number one priority. It interferes with school and my professors tend to understand this. Unfortunately, turning in things late means getting behind which is a dangerous path in engineering making every semester stressful. I do have a good GPA, though, so that is good.



    Everyone does have issues, but not everyone struggles with devastating problems. I would chose diabetes any day over my form of autoimmune autonomic neuropathy. At least with diabetes you can measure your blood glucose with fingersticks and/or sensor readings as needed and make judgements whenever needed. With diabetes at least you have empirical evidence that you are having a good or a bad day, such as with meter or sensor glucose readings. Based on the empirical evidence, you can make changes.

    The rare disease I have is a totally different story. When I don't feel well, people just have to take my word for it. Also, the disease I have is so rare that there are only case reports of it. The management of the disease is in my doctor's hands--not mine. She makes the judgement calls regarding treatment. It is a very difficult situation to be in.

    Anyways, the "disability" caused by diabetes tends to be more of a "transient" state, with high or low blood glucose readings from time to time. At least that is my impression of it. Personally, I think the OP should make every effort possible to keep her diabetes in check, which is much more rewarding and much less of a hassle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  12. pianoplayer4

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    I'd just like to clarify... I do everything I can to MANAGE my diabetes... but often highs and lows happen, that just comes with the territory. I don't appreciate you insinuating other wise. I'm not asking for extended time on all assignments, I'm just worried about what would happen if I went low while taking an exam.

    I really expected a person with diabetes to understand a little better about the crazyness that diabetes can be
     
  13. moco89

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    If you go low during an exam, you just treat it. No big deal. You should be fine within 15 minutes-or more like 10. Professors are not usually concerned about cheating in such a circumstance, as long as you inform them that your blood sugar is low.

    As for exams, I ALWAYS test more often in the hours prior to the exam-up to 24 hours prior. I also limit the amount of carbohydrates and insulin on board prior to exams. Basically, I try to limit as many variables possible. Fewer variables means less problems. I rarely encounter problems during exams due to this reason.

    Diabetes is not really a big deal as long as you plan ahead and keep necessary supplies (glucose, insulin, meter) with you. I even have severe gastroparesis (not diabetes related) and I do fine with my diabetes.

    Obviously highs and lows come with the territory. Its not like I don't have them. So, I don't know how I could be "insinuating otherwise".

    I do understand what it is like to have type 1 diabetes. I have lived with it for 18 years. As for giving you sympathy for having type 1 diabetes, I don't think so. If you want that maybe you should go to counseling.
     
  14. Ronin1966

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    Hello Amy C;

    I mean no disrespect to you or anyone who feels "accommodation" is required for their diabetes, but I am puzzled and hoping you can clarify WHY any of these things are related to diabetes on any level:

    <<he choose early registration and

    How is this an accommodation re: diabetes on any level??? Early, late so what... as a diabetic we are unable to snack while waiting to register for intro classes like anybody else??? How does this guarantee us anything remotely necessary as diabetics???

    <<time and a half for exams.

    Unless he crashes low, or is oozing DKA, in which case the exam by definition should get tossed out... what possible basis does diabetes allow us more time to perform on exams??? What is the magic number fifty more percent in terms of needing extra time because of diabetes? Why is this any kind of necessary option please except under very, very rare circumstances and medical necessity? Regardless I'm that low, that high, an extra fifty percent of time is worthless... takes longer than that to recover, or function normally. So how does that thinking work?

    <<He has to approach each prof at the beginning of the semester, otherwise he doesn't get the accommodation. Each prof has a different way to accommodate my son -- some have no idea what to do and my son has to tell them what their options are.

    Ok, sounds like standard protocol whether with a roommate, employer, new friends. Is this an accommodation in some manner???
    -----------------

    With serious regret I'm very unclear where these lines need to be drawn, much less where or if they should be re: these accommodations in particular??? Can anybody articulate this better for me....??? Not seeing the connections.

    Respectfully
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  15. mocha

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    Early registration allows people to schedule classes around their diabetes and eating times. There are still people on NPH and MDI who need to get classes at certain times. Even some pumper may need to have certain schedules. I know it makes my control much better. More often than not, those classes that they need fill up quickly, so early registration allows them to get those classes.


    Time and a half...it's not like you use all that time on every exam. It's there so that if you do crash or you do have to sit there and wait to come down or if you have a pump failure you can take care of it and get back to the exam. In college, professors are miserable to make up exams. It's easier to just say "time and a half when I need it because diabetes is being a pain" for everyone involved.


    And going around and announcing that you need accommodations to each professor isn't an accommodation. It's working with the professors to make sure that you find solutions that work best with them. I would say this is common courtesy.
     
  16. Megnyc

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    That is a good thing to ask for accommodations for or even speak to professors before exams. In my experience there is no issue having food during exams but you may want to ask professors about that. You will figure out ways to manage lows during exams as you get used to college and at least in my experience professors totally expect freshmen to have questions about how exams work

    I hope my post above did not come off as insensitive- I certainly think you should request any accommodations you need/want.
     

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