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Not allowed to treat low blood sugar in Chem lab

Discussion in 'Parents of College Kids and Young Adults with Type' started by lakelife, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. lakelife

    lakelife New Member

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    Aug 25, 2017
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    Hello!

    I posted this on the teen board but just find this one and think it is more appropriate. Our son just had his first day in the Chem Lab at a private four year university. He drove the to school and then longboarded from the car to the class. His blood sugar was low upon arrival. He had gummies in his backpack, took one out of the bag, inside of his backpack, popped it in his mouth and the prof asked him if he was eating. He told her that he was as he is Diabetic and has low blood sugar. She told him that there is no eating in the class and he would need to leave and return once he is done eating. She sent him to a teacher's lounge approximately 50+ feet away. The class is three hours long. There is a likelihood that he will need to leave the class often to treat as it is first thing in the am, a far walk and, by the time 2 hours are up, he might need sugar anyway. He stayed after to talk to the prof and she didn't waiver. She told him that he could check his blood sugar in the class but cannot consume anything (no water, beverages of any sort, candy, glucose tabs, etc.). What do you suggest? We are familiar with the public school and the lower grades however, not sure how to approach this at the university level. There is a disabilities coordinator. We have placed three calls and one visit and never have yet been able to speak to this person. Our son asked if anyone was in charge in the building that he was in and he told his story to a gentleman who listened and then walked him back to the class and told the prof that he is fine now. That was it.
     
  2. Snowflake

    Snowflake Approved members

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    ADA/504 apply to private universities that receive federal funds (so basically all of them). Waiving classroom rules regarding food and water are a garden-variety ADA accommodation, and I would not see any basis for the institution to deny that in the chem lab.

    But of course, your son does not have an ADA plan because he has not been able to access the disability coordinator, which I think is more unacceptable even than the professor's misunderstanding. While your son is waiting to hear from the ADA coordinator, he could email the professor to explain the situation and that he is working on obtaining disability accommodations to permit him to treat lows in class, and request that she honor that in the interim. (He could also consider copying or escalating to the department chair if she declines, but I understand why a new freshman might be reluctant to go that far!)

    Meanwhile, on a separate track, the school should have a published ADA grievance procedure, which your son can follow to both complain about the Chem professor and the failure of the disabilities services office to respond to his request for a meeting. If that does not get immediate traction, he can also complain to the federal Office for Civil Rights. A letter from OCR is an effective way to get a school's attention, sometimes immediately. However, the OCR investigative process itself sometimes moves slowly because the office is under-staffed.

    Here is a much more detailed self-advocacy guide for college students with Type 1: http://main.diabetes.org/dorg/PDFs/Advocacy/Discrimination/going-to-college-with-diabetes.pdf

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  3. sparty87

    sparty87 Approved members

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    He should register with his school's office of disability services, if one exist. During the registration process, have his endo write a letter outlining accommodations he is seeking. At my DD's university, it is not up to individual professor/instructor, the school agrees to the accommodations. The instructors don't get to ask about the underlying medical condition for privacy reasons, they are just told the accommodations they must honor.
     
  4. Cheetah-cub

    Cheetah-cub Approved members

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    My daughter just started High School last week. I sent an email to all her teachers explaining about her T1D, and asked the teachers to allow her to treat her lows anytime in class (long detailed email).

    All the teachers replied very kindly, no problems. Her Honor's Biology teacher also replied kindly, that is no problem in her classroom, however, when they are in lab, there are no food or water allowed, but she can always just step out to the hallway to treat her low, and pop right back in when she is done. My daughter has no problem with this at all. We find this "workaround" easy and workable.

    So, perhaps as long as the school can make it easy for your son to step out and treat low (not have to go to some teacher's office 50 feet away), this lab situation can be managed with relative ease.
     
  5. Snowflake

    Snowflake Approved members

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    I think the problem is that a disability services office exists, but has never returned the student's phone calls. The failure to engage with him is itself potentially an ADA/504 violation.
     
  6. Megnyc

    Megnyc Approved members

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    I took at least a dozen lab classes in college and worked in a lab and eating in a lab was never considered acceptable for safety reasons. Was he asked to sign a form agreeing to the safety regulations for a chemistry lab class? I was never not asked to sign a form which stated that no food or drink could enter the lab. For a 3 hour lab he should be fine to just walk outside and eat a snack and then come back in. I never told my professors I had diabetes since people would go in and out during lab all the time. Even during practical exams it was never an issue. I would honestly be more concerned if they were allowing him to eat in the lab. Does he have a CGM? I have always just relied on my CGM in labs.
     
  7. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

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    agreed.
    follow up on the disability services dept, but the lab is going to be a no food zone. You are not in high school anymore. This is a REAL laboratory.
     
  8. swellman

    swellman Approved members

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    This is a safety issue and one I support. It is very risky to eat or drink in the lab. They are using poisonous materials and potentially carcinogenic. College chemistry is the real deal. I know it's somewhat problematic to leave, wash hands and treat but I think it's the best call.
     
  9. lakelife

    lakelife New Member

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    Thanks!

    Thanks to all who gave opinions. Everything is good. Disabilities Coordinator is a good guy and his requested accommodations will be honored. Thanks again!
     
  10. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

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    so he can openly EAT in the chemlab? thoroughly confused here. I don't want my kid in a lab where it is ok to EAT. They should not be eating in a laboratory environment. It's one thing if this is a lecture. Another if it is a lab setting.
     

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