Being called ‘disabled’. It’s surely a two-edged sword. If our child with diabetes is suffering from a severe low during a State Exam, we would make sure that they were given their due and allowed to treat the low and go back to the test without losing any time……correct?
They are allowed to do that because of the American with Disabilities Act which allows our children certain rights under the law. These rights are the foundation for 504 plans and other considerations across the country.
Yet, if I met you on the street and said ‘Hello, Jill, how is your disabled child, you know the one with diabetes.” …………..You get the point.
We seek what is due our children and thank goodness there are laws in place to make sure we can offer them the opportunity to level the playing field where it is certainly not level.
So are they disabled, or are they not? If you have a disability, are you not considered living life, disabled?
If someone called my child disabled, and you had a dollar to bet that I would be upset at that statement, you would win that dollar. I would be angry. Our children do great things, but to the outside world if one ‘is covered’ under the law, there is a reason.
As if they do not have enough labels already……..right?
I will tell you how I came to grips with ‘this title’ years ago. Someone asked me if I considered my kids disabled and I answered in the following way:
“At this moment, as Kaitlyn is at work and Rob was at work, I would say no and for most of the time they are not disabled. They are active, they are vibrant, they are living with diabetes as it should be lived and therefore they are not disabled….”
(I cut the discussion off)
“………that said; should diabetes cause a severe hypo- or hyperglycemia reaction, at that moment, they surely could be rendered disabled. But only for the time that they must treat what they are going through. It’s not so unlike if someone has a car accident, or becomes ill, it very well might be that they are disabled for a short time until such time they recover from their accident or illness. Because they were disabled once, they are not disabled always.”
With diabetes, our children are not disabled in any shape or form of the word. But they can BE disabled for a time if a severe low or high occurs. And if that should happen at a time that there is a law that covers what they are doing…..so be it. And should our children be in a place where the norm could be altered, like waiting in direct heat/sun at an amusement park; they should be allowed the opportunity to avoid that situation. If someone believes that a dog that can sense highs or lows is absolutely necessary for their child to have in school, and that is the best action to take, it is not for me to say differently.
What I do and what you may do dealing with diabetes may be completely different and that is your choice to make, and mine.
So if anyone should ever ask if your child is disabled; first, tell them how much you hate using ‘labels’ for anyone including your child. Next, explain that they are not disabled but an incident of hypo- or hyperglycemia could indeed disable them for a short time and that is the balance we constantly seek, that is why we take the actions we take.
Being disabled for a short time does not make one disabled always. As long as it is medically sound care-taking; what one person does dealing with their child’s diabetes may not be my way of dealing with diabetes. That is the choice of the medical team, a child and their family; you need not answer to anyone else…….and you can take that statement to the bank. Some people are more disabled in their attitudes than our children will ever be with their diabetes
I am a diabetes dad.
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