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After school program accommodations

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Snowflake, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. Snowflake

    Snowflake Approved members

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    DD starts kindergarten tomorrow. Everything has gone great with planning for the school staff to care for her during the school day.

    However, the school district offers "enrichment" classes during the hour after school in subjects like foreign language and music that aren't offered during the school day. I want to enroll dd in an enrichment class. I asked the school about handling T1 during those classes, and the school referred me to the school district enrichment administrator. I asked the enrichment people over the phone if a teacher or staffer could be trained to help my daughter with pokes and low treatments (no request to operate the pump or administer insulin). The district said no, because it contracts these enrichment classes to third parties and that these responsibilities would not be included in their contract.

    I'm planning to submit a formal written accommodation requeste as my next step. However, I wonder if anyone has been round this block and has advice or tips?
     
  2. Nancy in VA

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    That's always a tough one. I know our elementary schools offer enrichment programs after school, but its just like they are the facilitator. The classes are often just offered by a parent volunteer, so you start getting into a weird situation where it's basically just "happening on school grounds but the school has nothing to do with it."
     
  3. Theo's dad Joe

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    My understanding is that 1) there is clear legal protection that prohibits a child from being excluded from a program after school, outside of school or whatever, no matter who runs it, 2) the program has to make 504 mandated accommodations if they are reasonable in terms of their impact on the program.

    So the third party themselves would be responsible to make at least reasonable accommodations even though the school, to my knowledge, is not required. I would like to learn more.

    My son's district told me that they have to send a nurse on a field trip if I can't go.
    They told me that they do not have to provide nursing support after school hours even for sports (but I would think that they would have to have a physician present and that physician would be able to handle medical issues of the participants.) I was told that the school does not have to provide nursing support on trips, such as overnight sport or speech and debate meets, or overnight field trips.

    I would tell the group that is providing the program that the law requires that they make reasonable accommodations for those covered by 504, and I would give them a list and ask them to mark which of those things they consider to be reasonable, and which are not and go from there. Ultimately what is reasonable could be determined by a judge.
     
  4. susanlindstrom16

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    After-school has been a tricky thing for us so far. At my daughter's old school the after care teachers (3rd party, not employed by the school) told me that they "don't do anything medical" and basically refused to go further with it. I ended up contacting the director of the program, backed by the school nurse, and he was perfectly reasonable and said that he had other staff that were willing to be trained and that was that. And at the school she attended for pre-k (public school), the director for the aftercare program told me flat out that i needed to figure something else out because they would do nothing beyond calling 911 if necessary, which was clearly wrong. With some patience, that situation also worked out and our favorite nurse got assigned to our school for aftercare hours when my daughter was there, which worked out well for her too.

    Now, these situations may be different because it was child care during after school hours which may be handled different from enrichment classes. I think it has a lot to do with that particular person running the class and what they are comfortable with. The way I see it, it may be within your right to demand that someone be trained, however I would never want to force someone into it who wasn't comfortable, mainly bc I wouldn't be comfortable leaving my child in their care. would it be possible for you to meet with the teacher of the enrichment class before going the route of sending the letter?
     
  5. njswede

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    Yup, that's the law, but apparently it's not always how it works. We had a situation with a summer camp program that was on school property. The program was arranged by a third party. At first, the school just dismissed our requests to have the summer camp made accessible to Noah, but we kept pushing and when I showed them the text of the law they decided they needed to help us. So they ended up putting pressure on the third party to make accommodations.

    In the end it worked out beautifully. The camp director asked us to give him a crash course on diabetic care and we stayed in close contact with him throughout Noah's stay at the camp. Whenever there was any doubt, he texted me or my wife and we worked it out.

    I think this illustrates the issue pretty clearly: It depends on who you're working with and how willing they are to take on the burden of a T1D kid. In our case, we had a camp director who was willing to work with us and be creative and it worked out well. I can only imagine what it would have been like if he only wanted to do the very minimum (call 911 or whatever it may be).
     
  6. Snowflake

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    Thanks, everyone. This is super helpful. I'm pretty certain that Theo's Dad and njswede are right about the law -- that 504 applies to all activities on school property even if they're run by a contractor, and that the district has to at least talk to us about accommodations and determine if any are reasonable.

    I'm really hemming and hawing about how hard to push on this. There are some really cool classes that I hate for my daughter to be shut out of when the alternative is probably aftercare at a daycare center. On the other hand, with the district trying to offload its responsibilities onto the contractors, this feels like it could be a big fight for a few hours of instruction/care. Right now, I'm just typing out loud, but I'll update as i pursue this further.
     
  7. Nancy in VA

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    the other things you need to keep in mind as you decide how hard to push is that how invested will someone be in the overall health of your child if they have to be FORCED to be trained and give accommodations. You want to establish an environment where the adults she is interacting with are willing participants in her care and not be dragged to the compliance trough unwillingly.
     
  8. susanlindstrom16

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    Is there anyone who is participating in her care during the school day still going to be in the building while the enrichment classes are going on? I know our previous school nurse was in the building until 4:30 or so, a good hour after school was dismissed.
     
  9. T1mama

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    We are going through a similar situation right now. My son started Kindergarten last week. The meeting with the school nurse and staff went smoothly. But when we called the aftercare program (that is run by the town, on school grounds) we were met with resistance. Of course they thought they would dance around discrimination by saying he could still come to the aftercare program but that they wouldn't help manage his diabetes. He had to be able to self manage. He is not old enough to do that yet.

    I contacted the legal advocates at the American Diabetes Association and the attorney confirmed that they have to make reasonable accommodations because they are subject to the American with Disabilities Act and Section 504. They are trying to say they can't ask their staff to do that, and since they aren't a school they don't have to train staff. They are completely incorrect and I think the town lawyer did a poor job of researching the issue. We are in the process of finding a local attorney to accompany us to a meeting with the director of the program and the town attorney.

    Keep pushing snowflake, your child shouldn't be excluded from a program you think she would benefit from because of diabetes. Its not right and you don't have to stand for it.
     
  10. mamaberkhie

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    Keep us updated. My son is starting kindergarten so I've been trying to familiarize myself with the law. It can get confusing. It doesn't help that some are more willing to make the accommodations than others.
     
  11. Snowflake

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    Thanks all. At the end of last week, I finally got the district's ADA coordinator on the phone, which is probably where I should have started. She told me that: 1. She agrees that 504 very clearly covers district-run programs on school grounds, regardless of who teaches them or what time they are held; and 2. that I really need to get extracurricular/enrichment access included in the 504 plan. So, more homework for me, including another call to the enrichment office, but I feel like I'm finally making some progress.

    This is all much harder than it needs to be -- it seems like the district should have a clear EEO/ADA statement and request process for extracurriculars, but it's taken a lot of legwork on my part to get this far, and there are still hurdles to jump through. Good luck to you, T1Mama and mamaberkhie!
     
  12. Beach bum

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    Silly girl, didn't you school districts like to make it hard for parents of kids with T1D? God forbid they should use logic and have a lear and concise process!
    Welcome to the world of dealing with schools and a kid with D. Hopefully the road will become much smoother as time goes by.
     
  13. Snowflake

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    :)

    Only 13 years to go!!!
     
  14. Mo1

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    As many are indicating, it is the law but getting people to follow it takes effort, time and a significant amount of stress. I had several rounds with my daughter's school last year, and consulted an attorney. If a school refuses, you can file a complaint with the office of civil rights.
     
  15. mmgirls

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    In the past I needed to contact the program it's self and arrange accommodations with them. did this with art and afterschool programs. but when it was school sponsored I made sure the persons contracted hours covered the time my kids where there.
     

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