From Milford, Ohio, USA:
My 11 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 at five years of age. Three years ago, I asked for a 504 plan to be put in place for him and was denied because, at the time, he was a straight A student. Instead, they gave him a "page one," which I felt was done simply to pacify me. Now, he is in the 5th grade, beginning puberty and struggling academically. His grades are all Ds and Fs.
Last week, I had a conference with his teachers and they said his test scores were all over the place, that he is disorganized, etc. I told the teacher that, since beginning puberty, his blood sugars have been erratic and more than likely are the reason for a lot of his problems. Today, I approached the building principal once again about a 504 plan and she said she would set up the meeting, but could tell me in advance that the answer would be "no." She said that the district policy states that, in order to get a 504 plan set in place, that there has to be a physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as learning and that the district's policy is that diabetes is not a qualifying disability.
My challenge is that the fluctuating blood sugar does indeed limit his learning abilities and I want a 504 plan that will allow him to be able to not test when his blood sugars are out of range and not be penalized as he has been. The principal has assured me that the district is not going to budge on this. How do I convince them that their policy is incorrect?
Historically, kids with diabetes have been protected under Section 504 as diabetes is a physical impairment that substantially limits major life activities such as eating, walking, caring for ones own self; it need not be learning that is impacted. It sounds like this school administrator may be confusing 504 with another federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, where an adverse impact upon learning must be demonstrated. This parent may want to use the National Diabetes Education Program school guide and other resources available at the ADA web site to help educate school administrators. Also, parent may want to call 1-800-DIABETES for more information and assistance.
Original posting 16 Feb 2005
Posted to School and Daycare
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