Diabetes. Tests in School. You Can Do Something About It.

Test GradeI was reading a story recently about whether or not a parent should address an issue with the school invoking their 504 policy. 

In other words, was it diabetes that made the child act in a certain way or was it just a child being a child?

I have to admit that while our kids were growing up and in school, this decision process would drive us crazy.  Without-a-doubt it would lead to our discussion in the evening, while the kids were out of ‘ear-shot’.

When do we know when to take action?  My answer to that is we don’t always know.  But what we can do, in many instances, is take a look back and make an assessment to make the call on the actions needed.

If there was a low or a high in any time frame surrounding a test in the classroom and any grade seemed a bit unusual for any reason, we would discuss it with the teacher.   We, in most cases, know the caliber of work our children are capable of producing.  If your child is a solid ‘B’ student and a test comes back at ’40’—-it very well may be worth the time to look back and see what was happening that day as far as blood glucose numbers.

If our child came home from school and stated there was a test, we immediately would make a note or check the day’s blood glucose numbers.  If we found there was a high or a low, we would not even wait for the test to be returned.  We would call (and of course later it became an email—-thank God for immediate information resources) the teacher and state that we notice there was a severe low or high at about the time the test was taken, we were just notifying the teacher in advance that there may have been an impact on the test taken that day.

When done with advanced noticed, we already laid the ground work for the teacher to be on ‘alert’.  In many, not all but many, cases we would hear a response from the teacher that we had nothing to worry about or ‘yes’ a problem was noticed.  And a new test was rescheduled. 

When it comes to any form of ‘standardized’ test that will take place over a period of hours; it is my suggestion that you take full advantage of whatever you can to make sure your child can take the test in the surroundings that can accommodate them.  Allowing for snack breaks, taking a break to check blood sugars, take time to go to the bathroom, take time to recover from a low or a high; are all necessary accommodations that should be thought of in advance.  It is your child’s rights…..ask for them.

Many times your child may say that they do not want to be singled out.  This is a conversation that MUST happen with your child.  Go over the scenarios and why it’s crucial for them to be given the same chance as others.  The teacher becomes the ‘moderator’ for standardized testing and they are bound by rules that they would not otherwise need to adhere to and they MAY NOT be allowed to allow your student the time needed should a low take place.  Discuss with your student why it is important to do things a bit differently during these ‘special’ testing times.

Our kids took tests many times in a room by themselves, with a proctor, to make sure  they had an equal playing field as those who did not have any challenges.  Sometimes they were not alone and there were others.   It was not uncommon to have a discussion with the proctor prior to the test day as well, just to go over some warning signs to be on the lookout.

School is hard.  The challenges of school AND diabetes can be an uphill battle but steps can be taken to make sure that the educational playing field is a bit more level to face those challenges.  In most case YOU WILL know when you need to step-in or take a back seat.  In most cases YOU WILL know when diabetes is at fault or the student just ‘tanked’ from not being prepared.

It’s always a balance but I urge you to make sure that the tests your children take are evaluated fairly and with an unbiased eye to achieve maximum results.  Also, if possible always let the teacher know in advance there might be a problem, if you can identify it.  And finally ‘standardized testing’ steps must be taken to always allow your child the best possible surroundings to achieve the highest score possible.

It’s your child’s rights…….use them.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

2 replies on “Diabetes. Tests in School. You Can Do Something About It.”

We have built into the 504Plan that a BG test is done immediately prior to any testing (end of unit, standardized,etc) and the result is then written on the top of the test. If it is a standardized test and numbers are way out of range, the school must accomodate by allowing numbers to get in range first, or test on make-up day instead. Unfortunately, numbers can be out of range just do to anxiety about the test. Our student is learning the difference and is not nearly as anxious about the standardized tests any longer.

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