‘…oh yeah…’

17 05 2012

Once I became open about having diabetes, circa freshman year, I accidently started assuming that everyone just knows I have diabetes. A blessing and a curse about diabetes is that you don’t wear it on your sleeve. For the most part, diabetes is pretty easy to conceal, so people don’t frequently look at you and think something’s wrong with you. There are many exceptions to this statement though, such as a very visible insulin pump + tubing, giving an injection in public, pricking your finger, going low in public, etc. But that’s besides the point. It can be a curse at times too, because people like to think that life with diabetes is pretty easy to manage if there aren’t visible signs of “disease”. But that’s even more off topic.

Today I had to take 2 advanced placement exams, back to back. I met with my guidance counselor last week to discuss my accommodations. She said they would be the same as they were for SATs. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have any accommodations for SATs. I was sure as hell lucky that nothing happened diabetes-wise during the SATs because I would’ve been screwed. She asked if I needed extra time or needed to split the 2 tests up, by taking the second one on a make-up day. I didn’t need either of those things. (And the whole extra time issue is an entirely different blog post waiting to be written). All I needed was to ensure that I’m allowed ample bathroom breaks and food & water in the classroom.

Turns out the AP organization doesn’t allow any special treatment for students with needs. So if I did need extra time, I wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. She did say, however, that I am able to have food & water with me in the classroom while other students are not, I can have my diabetes supplies with me, and I am allowed to use the bathroom.

I show up this morning (7:30 yuck) and outside of the classrooms set aside for testing,  there are areas to put your backpacks and boxes to put food and beverages in. I bring all my stuff in with me. I’m used to being the odd one out due to diabetes so it’s no big deal. When the proctor’s reading the rules and regulations, one of them is no food, drinks, or backpacks allowed in the classroom and anyone who has any of those things should put them in the hall now.

Then he looks at me.

“I’m diabetic.”

“Well everyone else put their bags outside.”

“I need my stuff with me.”

“Ok.”

We didn’t get into a huge fight, which I was anticipating the moment his eyes met mine. He didn’t argue with me. I didn’t have to tell him I have a 504.

It just ended there.

At the end of the test, he apologized and said he was glad I told him and spoke up for myself.

He was just doing his job. It wasn’t hurtful. He just didn’t know. Guidance hadn’t written a note to the proctor that there’d be a diabetic student in the classroom who has accommodations.

So it goes.

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3 responses

18 05 2012
Sara

I’m confused. The AP organization doesn’t “allow” accommodations. That is illegal. They HAVE to allow accommodations. I am glad everything worked out for you regardless.

18 05 2012
bloodybeautiful

@Sara, they don’t allow stop the clock accommodations if I needed a bathroom break. I was allowed to leave the room during the test, but I wouldn’t be able to stop the clock. Thankfully, the breaks they gave us were sufficient enough for me so I never had to leave the classroom during a test.

18 05 2012
Sara

That makes a little more sense. I used to work with disability accommodations for college students. They have to give students with disabilities (including diabetes) accommodations making the testing environment equal to other students but not give you an unfair advantage. Sometimes that can be a difficult line.

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