Taking an exam can be very stressful for young people, whether they have type 1 diabetes or not. But living with the highs and lows of type 1 diabetes during the exam period can make it that bit harder, particularly as stress can have an impact on blood glucose levels.
Although young people with type 1 diabetes may not feel as though they are disabled, type 1 diabetes is covered under “the Equality Act 2010” and more recent legislation “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” which means that ‘reasonable adjustments’ should be made to make the exam period as smooth as possible. In order to prepare for exams, discuss with your diabetes clinic, your child and the school what your childs needs are during their exams. You need to speak to your school as early as possible and discuss what requirements would be needed by your child in the exam environment. Before you meet with your school speak to your child and the healthcare team about what would be needed to support your child over the exams. Some things you may want to consider are:
- Taking glucose monitors/CGMs into the exam room
- Taking hypo treatments into the exam room to be easily accessed should they have a hypo
- Where your child might want to sit, it could be at the back of the room, or even a separate room if they are concerned about disturbing others while testing/treating during the exams
- Supervised breaks for treating hypos or going to the toilet (and stopping the clock during these times)
- Special considerations if you experience hypos and hypers during the exam*
This is not a comprehensive list; there are lot’s of other things you may want to consider as everyone with type 1 diabetes is different. Just ensure that everything that’s needed is included within your Individual Healthcare Plan. Your school may ask for a letter or Education and Healthcare Plan from your diabetes specialist team, this is something that they can provide in most cases, so should not be an issue.
If you would like to provide your school with further information about supporting your child with type 1 at school, you may find our e-learning module useful.
If you would like any more information about supporting pupils at school, these documents about access arrangements, schools supporting pupils with medical conditions and special educational needs and disability may be helpful. You may also consider looking into some Facebook groups run by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, like CWD UK, their education group, and T1 Children – Rights at School.
* “Special consideration is a post-examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade to reflect temporary illness, temporary injury or other indisposition at the time of the assessment, which has had, or is reasonably likely to have had, a material effect on a candidate’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate his or her normal level of attainment in an assessment.” (Joint Council for qualifications 2015)