Q: State testing is taking place this spring at our child's school. With the stakes higher than ever with student testing, how do we make sure she can do her best while still following her diabetes care routine?
A: Right along with high-stakes academic testing comes the high stakes of keeping your child healthy at school, no matter what activity is taking place. As soon as you can, touch base with your child’s teacher or school administrator to discuss how she will be able to carry out her normal diabetes care routines during extended testing times.
Be direct about your daughter’s needs. Reasonable testing accommodations to make for a child with diabetes include the ability to check her blood sugar, treat a low as needed, and eat a snack if her normal snack time falls during the time of the test. If carrying out these management routines results in her missing part of the exam, she will need to be given extra time to make up the minutes missed. If she experiences a low or high during testing and is unable to mentally focus as a result of an out-of-range number, she should be allowed to retake the test at a time when her blood sugars are back within range.
Your child’s teacher or administrator may also have their own suggestions for how to meet your daughter’s needs, such as scheduling testing so that all students take a snack break when it’s your daughter’s normal snack time -- an energy-boosting snack can be a benefit for all students! On the other hand, your school may suggest that to minimize distractions to her classmates, it may be easier for your daughter to take her test in a designated room with an aid present to monitor her and provide assistance as needed.
Once you have a plan agreed upon and ready to put in place, this information should be carefully recorded in your child’s 504 Plan and made known beforehand to anyone involved with administering and proctoring your child’s test.
One other important part of the testing equation is to talk to your daughter in advance to find out what options will make her feel most comfortable and confident on the day of the big test. Your child’s diabetes care team may also have some specific tips about how to make sure her unique needs are covered. It’s a good idea to be in touch with them to let them know that state tests are coming up at school.
--Kathy Knowlton, L.C.S.W., C.D.E., is the diabetes education program coordinator at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.
How Other Parents Deal
“At the middle school our son Seth attends, all students who require special accommodations on state tests -- for any reason -- take their tests in the school library. It’s reserved all day long for this purpose. What’s good about this set up is that he isn’t in a room by himself, but at the same time, the library is large enough so that students can spread out. When Seth needs to leave for his blood sugar check, no one notices. Plus, if needed, he can remain in the library for as long as he needs to finish. It works for us!”
--Kim P., Andover, Mass., mom of 12-year-old Seth
Disclaimer: The information in these articles is not intended as medical advice. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding individual care.
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