As a young adult with type 1 diabetes, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations at school and at work. Reasonable accommodations might include things like taking breaks during work or testing to check glucose levels and administer insulin, or having rapid acting glucose available at all time to treat low glucose.
These accommodations are important to put in place before you need them, which means you have to plan ahead.
Accommodations at School
If you are a college student, the first step is to register for accommodations on campus. Each school is different, so look on your school’s website to figure out where you need to register for accommodations. If you can’t find any information, contact the student health center or student affairs. Make sure you have all the documentation required, which often includes a letter from your doctor confirming your diagnosis along with a list of your symptoms, and a request for specific accommodations. A list of commonly requested accommodations can be found here. After you register for accommodations, your professors are provided with a list of the accommodations that should be provided for you.
If you don’t register for accommodations with your school in advance of starting classes, you won’t be able to obtain them retroactively. For example, if you miss class or a test due to ketones or a low glucose level, you won’t be able to appeal the effect your absence might have had on your grade.
Accommodations at Work
Whether you have a part-time or a full-time job, you will need to get a plan in place. Again, federal and state laws provide for reasonable accommodations for people with diabetes in the workplace. Most people only need minor changes to their work routine, like breaks to check glucose levels, eat a snack, take insulin, and go to the bathroom. Setting up accommodations at work will also require documentation and some advanced planning.
Finally, two last pieces of advice:
- Remember to wear your medical alert.
- Let your coworkers and professors know you have diabetes. If you are having challenges finding the right words, check out the section of this website called “Say What?”
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