On February 27th, 2017 Abbie went back to school like nothing had ever changed for her. On the back end though, her Dad and I had a big meeting with her school principal, assistant principal and nurse. Was this her 504 meeting? Nope, we knew nothing about a 504 plan at that time and to be honest we really didn’t need it. Abbie was only going to the nurse before lunch and once she was completely off insulin 2 months later, she didn’t go at all unless she felt like she needed to. This continued through her next school year because, well, again she was on no insulin until she was out of school so there was just no need. We had another meeting at the beginning of her 5th grade school year, but again this was not a 504 meeting, we still had no idea about that and no one ever mentioned it to us. This meeting was just to tell them what had changed and how often she needed to speak to the nurse. For the first two months of the new school year, Abbie would get her Levemir (long lasting insulin) at home, and would need to take her Apidra (fast acting – bolus) insulin before lunch or for corrections at school.
Everything went smooth until she got on the pump and got her CGM in November. I remember there was a permission slip sent in for a field trip and a note. The note read something like this:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Eger,
There are currently 5 chaperone slots available and I have saved one for either of you. I have spoken with the school nurse and she will not be able to attend the field trip that day. We have also spoken with the district and they will not be able to provide someone to go, so one of you will have to attend the field trip with Abigail in order for her to attend. Please let me know which of you will be attending and if Abigail has permission to go.
Wait, what? First off, she had been on her pump for over a month and basically the pump did everything for her. All she needed to do was text me or call me and I could walk her through it. Second off, both my husband and I work, why should we have to take off work to go on a field trip? I thought something didn’t sound right. So, I started doing some digging. Insert the 504 here.
Anyone who is not familiar with the American Disability Act and how it pertains to persons with Diabetes should definitely familiarize themselves. Also visit: Special Considerations for School . This page will give you tons of information about 504 plans, information about attendance, college, child protective services, emergency lockdown procedures and more!
But back to the story and then I will give some more information. After calling around, I was told that according to ADA laws they had to provide Abbie with someone who was trained in her T1D care on a field trip and that they could not prevent her from going just because her Dad or I could not chaperone. The nice lady I spoke with at the ADA did tell me I needed to get a 504 Plan in place so that I had grounds to stand on in the future, but for now they would back me up if necessary. I honestly didn’t want that fight right this second, as this was somewhere we had to get “acceptance” for my kids to go to school (they go out of district) and I did not want to do anything to jeopardize that. So, we figured we would play nice, get the 504 plan in place and then we would have something to play ball with. Andy ended up having some vacation he needed to use anyway, so he went on her field trip, while I drafted a 504 plan and we set a meeting.
Apparently, Abbie was the first 504 they had ever had. They had IEP’s but not any 504’s. They had to scramble to get a coordinator together and of course they just used the IEP coordinator which was fine. She called me and told me that the Superintendent wanted Abbie to take a battery of psychological and educational testing before the meeting to see where she stood at that moment…. wait, what?? (See a pattern here, huh?).
I refused. Abbie made honor roll. She had no problems in school whatsoever and did not need any type of educational testing. The research I did stated that psychological and educational testing is done for IEP plans not for 504 accommodations which I had to reiterate. They called me a day before our meeting and informed me that the Superintendent decided to honor my wishes and not make Abbie do the testing; umm, yea I know because it would have never happened. Fast forward a couple of days to the meeting, we sat down with the same people from the other meetings plus the IEP, er, 504 Coordinator, and they went over my document which I will attach. My first 504 was very long and drawn out, I have learned a lot since then and found others that flow much better. But it got the point across. It allowed her to use the bathroom when she needed, drink water in class if needed, eat a snack if needed, have her cell phone on her as a medical device, have a nurse present with her on field trips if necessary, and special accommodations for testing.
The school year went very smoothly after that. Only one teacher threatened to take her phone from her when she peaked at her blood sugar…yea that was nipped very quickly. And one other substitute told her she couldn’t go to the bathroom, my daughter politely told her she had a medical condition and she could take it up with the nurse or principal but she was going to bathroom; got up and walked out. J
The first document attached is Abbie’s original LONG and DRAWN out 504 plan. I think it was like 12 pages, ridiculous. But it had good information in it.
The second document, I cannot take credit for. I have told you I am an avid listener to the Juicebox Podcast. He has posted Arden’s (his daughter) 504 plan on his blog since the beginning. This is a rendition of his. You can find all of his 504 Plans at: Arden’s Day .