- advertisement -

Declaring a disability?

Discussion in 'Diabetes and College' started by Mgirod, Dec 19, 2017.


Is it worth declaring a disability?

  1. Yes, do it

    2 vote(s)
  2. No, doesn't really make a difference if you're controlled

    0 vote(s)
  1. Mgirod

    Mgirod Approved members

    Apr 29, 2014
    Hi! I was just accepted to the University of Wisconsin and they have a little information on declaring a disability but it is kind of hard to follow. Does anybody have any suggestions on declaring a disability? Is it worth it to declare if I don't need any accommodations? Thanks in advance!
  2. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

    May 7, 2009
    My opinion as a parent of a type 1 child is to declare the disability & take any advantage they give you. My daughter has yet to file the proper paperwork at her university & likely if she had, it would have helped her to not lose a scholarship when her grade was reduced due to absences. If she had filed the proper paperwork, the professor would not have been able to reduce her grade for absence & she would not have lost her WUE scholarship...approx $13,000 a year. She missed it by .02. The class in question, her grade based on all assignments, etc was an A, but the professor lowered the grade due to absence to a C. My daughter had missed a couple of classes over the semester, but ended up with a kidney infection that took her out of commission for nearly a week at the end of the semester. This took her over this particular professors threshold for absences. My daughter did advise her that she was a type 1 diabetic & had a kidney infection & she did not care.

    I have friend whose child with diabetes did file the proper paperwork with her university & one advantage is priority registration. That is huge! In general, that is a big help, but with diabetes, it means you can schedule classes that work with your eating/exercise schedule, not to mention being sure to get the classes you need. I have been discussing this with my daughter & am hopeful she will take the time to go to disability services & file the proper paperwork in order to get the accommodation. She has not needed it yet, except it would have prevented them from penalizing her for absence as referenced above, BUT you never know when your pump will act up & you will have an issue & feel like crud on a day you need to complete an important exam, etc.

    I think that even if you think you do not need an accommodation, it is still worthwhile to file the paperwork. If on the off chance you need the help...better to have done the paperwork ahead of time.
  3. Mimikins

    Mimikins Approved members

    Jun 22, 2014
    Hi! I'm currently in the senior year of my nursing degree. I didn't know it was possible for me to request disability accommodations until I went to a local JDRF-hosted picnic for new college students. To request disability accommodations, I scheduled an appointment with my university's disabilities services and used that appointment to talk about my needs and what types of accommodations I am requesting. I don't have it anymore, but I received a nice handout from the picnic that had some accommodations other students have used, and I pulled a lot of my accommodations from that handout. I'm not sure if the department needed it for anything, but I had a note signed by my diabetes team whenever I initially requested accommodations at the start of my freshman year and then at the start of this year when I needed to update the accommodations to reflect me using a CGM.

    Let me tell you. Registering for disability accommodations saved my butt numerous times as a type 1. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure (and future headaches) if you end up needing to use your accommodations. I'll list some of the accommodations I've used and some of the accommodations I remember from that JDRF handout. You might not need or want all of them, but it might help you to start thinking about what you might think would work best:
    • Food and drink permitted on me at any time. Many of my classrooms are no-food-and-drink permitted (though it isn't enforced). In clinicals, due to OSHA/The Joint Commission, we're not allowed to keep personal food in patient care areas or the nurse's station. Having the disability accommodation was a way to let my instructors know that I may need to be off the floor and in a break room/food prep area for a few minutes to treat a low and for us to figure out a way to handle it before I start that rotation (I still kept some fast-acting carbs on me in my scrub pocket so I wasn't wasting more time going to my bag. Some floors required me to keep my bag in a place where I normally could not access without my instructor's fobbing me in and/or fobbing me back onto the unit).
    • As-needed breaks. This was primarily if I was having a really bad low.
    • Time and a half on exams. This was a part of the as-needed breaks, because the clock would still be running if I needed to stop for 20 minutes and treat a bad low. In order to use this accommodation, I had to take the exams at the disability center. The inconvenience of that made the accommodation not worth it for me, especially when all of my professors have been OK with me treating a low at my desk (I always keep low stuff on me).
    • Priority registration. This was recommended by JDRF. Their initial rationale was for when registration was physically done in-person instead of at a computer, because there were T1s who have gone low while waiting in long lines (or running around the university) to register for classes. Now that registration is more computer-based, I used priority registration to make sure that I was scheduling time for me to eat if it was going to be a long day up on campus (especially freshman and sophomore year where I wanted to have at least 30 minutes for me to treat my blood sugar and eat something before I went to my 3-hour labs).
    • Excused absences. This was to cover my butt in case I was hospitalized for a hypo or DKA and missed something important. My endo is also booked solid for 6-7 months out, so when I make an appointment it easily could be on a day where I have an exam. I requested this accommodation for my clinicals this year, and it was denied because of the nature of the clinicals (I automatically fail if I miss so many hours, regardless of reason, unless I can somehow make them up).
    • Medical ID allowed on me at all times. My major has a really strict uniform policy for labs and clinicals that prohibits most jewelry. This accommodation allows me to wear a medical ID bracelet/necklace while I'm at clinicals.
    • Having my phone on me at all times. My major also has a really strict cell phone policy for clinicals. I use my cell phone as my CGM receiver, so I needed the accommodation in order for me to keep it on me at clinicals and not need my regular receiver (which I don't like using because there's no share capabilities. I use share with family in case I have a really really bad low). Since the technology was so new and never seen as accommodations by the school of nursing, it had to be approved by the undergrad nursing dean. Many of my clinical instructors were confused as to why I needed the accommodation, but it made sense to them when I sent an email clarifying some of my accommodations at the start of each rotation (I also used that email to talk about where I should go to treat a low).
    • Dorm location, roommate option, mini fridge availability. I commute, so I never had to deal with dorm accommodations. You could request accommodations to have a close-by dorm if walking to your classes or the dining hall really causes your BG to tank. As insulin needs to be refrigerated when unopened, you need to have some sort of mini fridge available for you to store your insulin (many universities only allow one mini fridge per room, but this might allow you to claim a fridge just for your insulin). Some T1s also request to be put in a room with at least one other roommate in case they go unconscious or have a seizure during the low or for an RA to learn how to give glucagon.
    • Food options -carb counts being provided, alternate meals. Most dining halls are supplied by a food company like Sodexo or Aramark, so you should be able to request to have the nutrition info if the nutrition info isn't already available. You can also request alternate meals, such as a gluten free alternate if you have celiac.
    Just Jen likes this.
  4. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

    May 7, 2009
    thank you for this list. I am going to forward it to my daughter.:)

Share This Page

- advertisement -

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice