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Trouble with Phy Ed?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Mom of 15 yr old, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Mom of 15 yr old

    Mom of 15 yr old Approved members

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    I am a parent of a high school sophomore. For the past 1 1/2 years living with diabetes, I find that the physical ed. teachers are less than helpful when coping with low blood sugars. We have a plan at school in which she is not able to do any exercise if her bs is lower than 100. She is to treat before participating. However, she has missed entire class times in which her blood sugar was too low. The teachers require the kids to make up missed classes - but are only available 1 day per week. If her blood sugar is not where it should be (as many times it is not since it is after school), and she cannot make it up - she fails for that day. Has anyone had any problems with this. I have offered to have her make up time at home - when her blood sugar is more normal. The answer has consistently been NO. She has one more gym class to take for graduation requirements and does not want to take it due to the problems she has had. Any thoughts or ideas????? Thanks we could use the advice.
     
  2. PatriciaMidwest

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    Sorry to hear this.

    Do you have a 504 in place? I think you need to address this in the 504. It sounds as if your child is being penalized for health issues which are beyond his/her control.

    I'm not a 504 expert by any means, but there is a lot of experienced parents here who will hopefully chime in.

    I assume she is drinking juice but her number doesn't stabilize enough to participate? We have days like that too, but our school doesn't expect a make up (middle school).
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  3. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Public school?
    If so, you just need a 504 ... this should not be an issue. I'm sorry the teachers aren't better informed.
     
  4. Mom of 15 yr old

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    Public School

    Yes it is public school. I will look into the 504 plan, however, not sure how that would make a difference. In our school - even with a Dr. excuse (sprained ankle, broken bone ect.) you still fail (or take an incomplete)if you don't make up. It is pretty bizarre - if you ask me.
     
  5. hdm42

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    Get a 504 plan in place ASAP. I don't see how they can fail a child with a valid medical excuse, even without the 504.:confused:

    In our 504 plan, I specifically addressed PE, on the advice of another T1 parent. The wording I used was something like this: "Campbell will not be penalized or graded down for not participating in PE due to D or his other health issues." The school signed off on it. If he misses too much PE during the marking period, they give him NM (No Mark), Medical Excuse on his report card. I'm good with that.
     
  6. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    No, the school does not get to impose their rules on a student with a federally recognized "disability" any more than they could penalize a child in a wheelchair for failing to complete a fitness test.

    Read up on 504 plans here and don't accept their arbitrary rules ... federal law trumps school policy, period.
     
  7. Heather(CA)

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    Why not just have him drink a juice and go ahead and play? My son would FREAK if he missed PE. If he's under 60 he should probably wait until he comes up, but that doesn't normally take all period:confused:
     
  8. emm142

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    I think this is a YDMV thing, but it isn't always that simple for me. At 9.30PM yesterday I had a 40. I drank 40g carbs of juice. After 25 minutes I was 43, after 40 minutes I was 52, and finally an hour after the juice I was 153... The real high didn't hit until the middle of the night! That low would have had me out of gym for the entire hour period.
     
  9. Heather(CA)

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    Emm, did you read my whole post???:confused::) I would not have let you play in that situation of coarse. Also, lows like that usually happen at night after a long day of exercise, not before PE when you have been in class unless a mistake was made kwim?
     
  10. emm142

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    I know you wouldn't have let me play with a BG of 40 - I wasn't suggesting that you would! :eek: And I did read the whole post - I wasn't arguing against playing gym after the low had come up, I was saying that yes, it does sometimes take me a whole hour to come up from a low.

    I missed a few gym classes last year from lows like that, though. Granted, it wasn't a weekly occurence, but it's not rare for me to go into the 40s now I'm on the CGM, and before that I had worse lows more often. I only missed the entire class about 3 times - once was when I'd had an LO that morning and worried about a recurrence, another when I'd been in the 20s overnight and was still running low, and another when I was 30something before gym and couldn't get it up.

    I know you're pretty experienced with exercise, so maybe you just have better methods of getting BG up for exercise than those of us who don't have quite as much practice.. :cwds: Didn't mean to offend.
     
  11. dianas

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    Regarding making up PE or failing around here that's standard and very strictly enforced even if missing is medically justified. Fractures, injuries, illness etc it still all has to be made up or you don't get the grade/credit at the Jr High and Senior High levels.

    When my daughter was a freshman or sophomore she ended up very very sick from the flu in April and missed two weeks of school. She had to make up the PE even though it was an excused absence. I didn't like it but since it was uniformly enforced and there were ample opportunities after school or with a commercial gym we just did what we had to do. The same thing happened in Junior High when she had a fracture. That was early enough in the fall though she was able to drop the PE and take it again next semester though.

    Diana
     
  12. PatriciaMidwest

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    Looks like things do get stricter in high school, so that is good for us to know. I still think a 504 would address this for a T1 because it is a covered disability, and a fracture or flu would not be??

    Our middle school has kids who miss class (DD thought 2-3) make it up at home and have their parents send a note.

    My daughter left PE multiple times to treat a low 1/2 way into class. We had a few whacky days where she had to miss the whole class (gym was right after lunch so if she ended up not eating everything then things got ugly). She hasn't been asked to make anything up yet, but that could change in high school.

    For the original poster - Since a 504 takes time and the end of school is fast approaching, would a call or letter from your endo help? Have you met with the principal and showed him/her your health plan? Just throwing out some ideas. The one day a week make up slot is a bit inflexible especially if she has other activities on that day.
     
  13. dianas

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    Not necessarily. My daughter had a 504 for chronic severe migraines which started her Junior year. The school was very accommodating but she still had to do all of the work just like any other student and her grades were based on the work done. In her 504 absences were covered in terms of no truancy and were automatically excused but if attendance and classroom participation were part of the curriculum and the overall grade then her absences did affect her grade if she couldn't make up the work. The teachers provided alternative assignments for missed classwork as much as they could but sometimes that just wasn't possible like a lot of the classroom work in Contemporary World History. What the 504 allowed in that case was more options for getting the credit when it was clearly documented she couldn't meet the requirements for a passing grade (she is an honors student) due to migraines. They were able to withdraw her early so the failing grade wouldn't show on her transcript. They tried to place her in an equivalent online running start class but there wasn't one available that would fulfill the required credit. At that point they were able to use the credit recovery program and give her a Keystone packet. So they did provide an alternative for her but it wasn't in the form of a free pass on the missed classwork due to health related absences.

    I didn't have a problem with that. As an adult she will have to learn how to function responsibly and get the "job" done despite her physical challenges. My understanding and belief is that a 504 is a means to level the playing field for our children with disabilities and allow them to succeed in school. It's not a pass to get out of doing the work. In the case of PE where participation is the main part of the grade I wouldn't think that lowering the attendance requirements would be a reasonable accommodation to ask for. What I would ask for is things like scheduling of PE class so that migraines (or blood sugars) are less likely to be a problem, make sure she is well hydrated and has ample access to food/drink, perhaps modify the activity ie if running triggers headaches then they need to let her walk instead. For the original poster I would ask for additional accommodations for makeup times and other options for making up the missed PE classes in the 504. Our school allowed kids to attend classes at a local gym which gave families a lot more flexibility. The kids could bring in the make up slips the gym signed to get credit for the class. If only a semester of PE is needed I would ask that it be scheduled in the fall instead of the spring to allow more time for makeups if needed. Those sorts of things would be what I would want in a 504. But if an A for other students means they did 50 hours of PE then I wouldn't expect them to give her an A if she could only do 40 hours of work. I would expect her to get the same grade as every other student who only completed 40 hours of PE.

    Diana
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  14. deafmack

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    A 504 plan will protect your daughter's rights with regard to her diabetes. 504 plans are based on federal law. In a 504 plan you will include your daughter's diabetes medical management plan as well as things like the right to test and treat her diabete anywhere and at anytime on school grounds and at all school sponsored events, the right to make up assignments at a later date or to take tests at another time if her blood sugars are too high or too low. (this could also relate to PE classes)
    The right to have unlimited access to water and the bathroom and to snacks (when blood sugars are low). The right to have a cell phone to call you when she is having trouble with her blood sugars, The right not to be penalized for missing a test or class or assignment due to high or low blood sugars. The right to carry on her person her diabetes equipment at all times.
    Call 1-800-Diabetes and ask for their Safe at School Kit and their and their discrimination forms. By the way, federal law trumps school policy. Also look at your own state for laws regarding diabetes school care laws.
     
  15. Amy C.

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    Things can be stricter in high school, but it depends on the state and the school. In Texas, participating in sports counts as a physcial education credit -- one sport is one semester. My son rides his bicycle home from school - a 4 mile ride. I documented every day that he rode, plus any other exercise he had. After a year of documenting what he did, he had enough exercise for a semester of physical education.
     
  16. skimom

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    My non-d daughter was going to fail PE as she was missing too much school -she is an elite athlete and would be away for extended training/competition periods. At first the PE teachers were firm about it - I asked how they could justify failing an elite athlete in Phys Ed especially since her absences were for her sport....The compromise was that she had to keep track of workouts, have it signed by a coach etc to prove it - in otherwords, an ALTERNATIVE assignment. OUr son with D was having some issues in one PE class for BG issues - so the teacher had him do an assignment on diabetes and had him teach the other kids about it ..another ALTERNATIVE assignment.
    Can't something be done for your child?Here in Alberta, if a kid has a valid medical reason, the doctor can sign a note and they are forgiven from taking the whole course if necessary.SImilarly, a child with a disability/illness cannot lose their PE course because of issues related to their condition - it is up to the SCHOOLS to make it work for the student.
    I'm a teacher and I would make it work for my students if I had this situation - in fact I am obligated to do so - maybe your daughter's teachers don't want to be bothered at this time of year? Perhpas this should have been addressed earlier in the course??I can see how they might balk if things have been like this for quite a while and now at the end of the course you are protesting.
    I would come up with a plan , present it ( ie that she can do the activity outside school and have it documented by a third party) and insist it be implemented.Ask if the course can be carried over to the fall so she has additional time to make it up..there are lots of things that can be done- we even offer online PE here!
     
  17. Mom of 15 yr old

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    Phy Ed

    Thanks to all who replied. Her core class teachers are incredible and more than willing to work with her to get her class work made up - if she misses class. Not once did we hear - she is missing class, so therefore she fails. She is on the dance team at school, plays tennis and dances constantly at the house. She is physically fit and hates when her blood sugar keeps her out of anything. She used to love PhyEd class but now hates it. She really has only been unable to participate a few times, but those few times have really hurt her grade - dropping her to a D. Good thing - it doesn't go towards her GPA. I will look into the 504 plan. And for those of you who commented - Thank you. We are still trying to find something quick and easy to get her blood sugar up fast - juice, candy, jello, crackers etc. haven't been working really well. We have been working with her Endo. since it does take some time to bring it up. It takes a good couple of hours to get her BS up to a good level. My goal is to get the school district to be a little more understanding when it comes to these things. We have no problem making up the work - in or out of class/school. That is what they need to accommodate. Not just their terms, their time. There has to be alternatives to certain situations. (And no school sports do not count toward phy ed. time - it is truly a bummer).
     
  18. dianas

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    Those are exactly the type of accommodations a 504 can help you with.

    One other thing to think of is that I do know our school is able to waive some of the PE requirement for academic reasons. If they do it for academic reasons then they also should be able to do it for medical reasons. I wish I'd known that back when DD had the flu. Not sure if I'd have done anything different in terms of making up the missed PE but I remember thinking it was bit of a double standard.

    Good luck and kudos for thinking ahead to next year. I think the school dropped the ball in terms of only bringing this up at the end of the school year. They certainly also haven't provided much in the way of making up the missed classes if only a few absences would lower her grade to a D. I think you have a lot of grounds to make a formal complaint to the district head office.

    Irregardless of diabetes and other health issues I think it's very sad when the rigid policies of the school take something that's supposed to teach kids the importance of physical activity and make them end up hating PE. When a kid who likes sports feels that way just think about how much worse it must be for those who aren't athletically inclined or gifted. When this happens it's ultimately the PE department that has failed and not the children. I think these policies end up doing more harm than good in the long run. In my opinion it doesn't do anything either in terms of teaching children that part of healthy physical activity also includes knowing when it's appropriate to make modifications or to to stop rather than risk injury.

    Diana
     

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