Rejected from camp...again

Hello - my daughter who will be 5 in Nov was just diagnosed in July, and started kinder in August. In July, we had to immediately pull her out of 2 camps here in Arizona - one from Engineering for Kids and the other a sports camp at Aspire Kids Sports Center. It was too soon to figure out how everything would work out. Now, months later, we’re in a better place, so to speak, and are coming upon Fall break. I reached out to Aspire again to see if they’d accommodate her needs since they’ve remained open. She does swimming and dance there already, and used to be a regular at their camps. But now, she’s no longer welcome at day long camps that run about 8-3:30pm. This was the response I got “I appreciate you reaching out and providing me with specifics of what would be needed to keep her safe. Unfortunately, I do not feel that our camp staff is qualified to provide the specific care that Lola needs. As you know, the gym gets loud and the kids have so many different personalities that require different attention levels that would make it hard to ensure her safety. I hope you understand that Lola’s safety is our number one concern.” Have the doors closed for her? I heard there were ‘diabetes camps’, but I haven’t seen any in our area. I’m not as concerned with COVID, as we all already had it and tested positive for immunity. Has anyone had any luck finding ways to provide you kids with enriching opportunities on these breaks? Having a kidsitter can get expensive. Thanks for your input! -Angelica

This is Angelica (original poster)…after having worked for a contractor for NIDDLR on disability and aging, I recalled the many cases of where individuals with disabilities were unaware of their rights under the ADA. I looked it up the ADA regulations, and sure enough camps, day cares and more…are required by law to make sure accommodations. I went ahead and communicated this to the camp, and hopefully, they’ll respond in accordance. !

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Hi @Angelph. If you search the Parent or Friends posts you may find ones from people looking for friends for themselves or their children, often including age range and area where the live. If you want to share where you are in the state you may find friends (and neighbors!) there who have found activities that are ready to take her. Hopefully things work out with the camp you’re considering.

Hi @Angelph, it might be worth checking in to the ADA website and see what (if any) accommodations are available. It seems that “sorry too bad” is a bit discriminatory, although at 5, you may be expected to stay and deal with her medical issues directly. My son does not have diabetes but when he was 2-9 years old I would just stay close by in case I needed to intervene oh his behalf. Cheers and good luck :four_leaf_clover:

My thought was the ADA too. If I might suggest though - while the ADA requires arrangements be in place for people who need it, actuator having them may be another issue. It may be (and I could be wrong) that this was their first child with diabetes to register for their program, and they were explaining they didn’t have anyone on staff knowledgeable in diabetes. I’m not a parent but if I were going to entrust my child’s care to someone I imagine I would want them to know what to do. Perhaps they can put resources in place, although - and I hate to say it - it might be a lot to manage for one child. I may be out of line, in which case please forgive me. It’s just I tend to be highly pragmatic about things and look at the possible child realities, even where there is a legal requirement.
On the other hand, they may be able to put things in place so your daughter can enjoy the full camp experience along with her peers. Keep us posted!

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Hi Angelica @Angelph, under the ADA, a person with a recognized disability may request reasonable accommodation to access or participate, or to work, etc. Under the ADA, Autoimmune Diabetes is a recognized permanent disability - in fact, the only disease recognized by name in the ADA.

“Reasonable Accommodation”, however is a subjective term - subject to interpretation. What a person with a disability feels is “reasonable” may not coincide to what the other side thinks or feels. The ADA, P.L. 101-336, has four “Titles” or sections, including one for Public Accommodation which applies to facilities open for use by the general public.

Approach a situation by putting down, in writing, exactly what you want the camp to provide for your daughter.

  • Are you selecting a day-camp for your daughter where meals are provided and you want exact carb-counts calculated; Or is this a live-at camp where you want 24-hour care?
  • Are you requesting that a staff-member perform periodic BG Checks?
  • Are you requesting calculate and administer insulin?
  • Or, are you simply requesting that the staff be aware of your daughter’s condition and requesting a phone-call if “something” is observed?

Consider how you approach a camp-director. And without question, have with you a prepared check-list of incidents that your daughter may encounter, and what action you would expect to take. The unknown can be frightening.

Good luck in your attempt!

If I could talk on a couple of things to what Dennis suggested:

  1. Does she use a CGM that shares her readings? If so you could “track her from afar” and if she’s going low - or high - you could contact them and give treatment instructions or confirm they are following ones that are in place.
  2. You might want to send a supply of packaged snacks to use of she is low - items and quantities you know have worked so they are not frantically running around trying to find something. If she takes her own lunch this would be separate, or you could send a supply they could keep on hand in case she needs it.
    Be diplomatic when you discuss the ADA with them; and showing how you are willing to partner with them might be helpful.

thank you everyone for your insights and resources. This is reassuring. I kindly provided the ADA resources to them and asked for a phone call, but even prior to doing so, I had clarified that we’d be providing all of the snacks, and that either my husband or I would be popping in during the lunch her to dose her for lunch. She has a DexCom…but we are working to get her a cell phone so that we can have the live reading (and as someone noted here, be able to call them when something is off, and follow with instructions). We offered to train their staff and make all the resources available. That’s why I was so surprised that even with our efforts to make things as easy as possible, they came back with the ‘no sorry’. Mind you, at this point, I’m dealing with the camp director, and the next diplomatic conversation I suppose will be with the owner. We’re here in Chandler, the burbs of Phoenix.

I feel like that is absolutely not right. Diabetic kids as well as ALL kids with conditions should have the opportunity to participate in activities. The fact that you offer to do so many things and they still deny your daughter is honestly a shame. Are there any other programs that you could put your daughter in?

Hello! I’m the original poster here. I thought it would be worth updating everyone, as we had a positive outcome. The camp site’s owner did eventually call me and once I explained the degree to which we would be involved, and that their young coaches would be fully supported and prepared, I think they sighed relief. We’ll be training their coaches at the end of this month, and I plan to use it as an opportunity to increase awareness on the subject. I’m in healthcare myself and perhaps that’s why I’m less rattled by these things. Some of the camp’s questions reminded me not to assume that others are familiar with the disease or rights surrounding it, let alone have resources in place to respond.As someone here noted, we still want to play it safe, as she’s very little. So we have her babysitter staying with her most of the day on first day of camp, my husband and I popping in for lunch to dose her, and generally making it a ‘shorter’ day than usual. With her CGM connected to our cell phones, we’re mainly asking their staff to be vigilant for low and provide juice/glucose tabs and prepare for worse case scenario, needing glucagon pen. I realize this is just the beginning in becoming our kids’ advocates until they can advocate for themselves. It’s important to have the ADA in our back pockets, but was pleased to see that they came around and able to work with us to keep our daughter engaged in the things she loves. Have a great day!

Angelica @Angelph, your hard work, and perseverance has paid of well for you. CONGRATULATIONS! [and thank you for posting this up-date]

As you have found out, many, many people are frightened by the unknown - and the education you provided the camp owner opened eyes. I hope that the time you spend with the the camp staff is well-received an the coaches and others become aware that a person, a child with diabetes really is a “normal” individual.

Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and just wanted to share that there is now an inhaled form of Glucagon - similar to a nasal spray. It sounds less intimidating than injections which might make things even easier.