School 504 versus a "health plan" for high school

So my meeting with the counselor is this Friday!  The school kept telling me that he really only needed a "health Plan" not a 504 plan.  they wanted to save me from "all of the paperwork".  I asked if the "health plan" would accommodate drew during SAT testing?  The guidance counselor said "no, why would he need accommodation during testing?  does he have to have extended testing times?"  I explained to her that if his sugar was low he would have to rectify it immediately, even if he was in the middle of a test.  She agreed that he would need a after my rant.  Do you think i have gone to far?  Should i have just agreed to a health plan?  He will have so many teachers, how do i go about explaining to everyone what the signs are and how to recognize them?  Is it even necessary?  I think it is, but I also wonder if I am overreacting..he is in 10th grade???  any thoughts or comments?  I have the paperwork from the doctor, JVMA sent me the link for ADA website so I will have all my ducks in a row come friday!

=) You may not have all your ducks in a row come Friday. but that is okay too.

The 504 is there for us and should be used, because your school has a health plan it probably means that they really care about people with needs that may be a little different from the norm and that is great, truly to your advantage.

Because he is in the 10th grade he is old enough to help you fill out the plan and help explain his illness and symptoms to his teachers He only has a little longer before high school is over, he needs to learn to be an advocate for himself and this is the perfect opportunity. If he feels that he is not able to do this properly then go in with him to meetings. Print off some info from the ADA website about diabetes, put together a paper for each teacher covering what they should know in order to be there if something happens that needs attention.

If and when he goes to college he will still be filling out forms for his needs then too AND having to inform who he thinks should know just a little about his condition, this is something that is SUPER useful to practice now, it will help him seriously figure out what his needs and strengths are, knowing these things will be to his advantage.

Go through the forms, take a deep breath, make sure he is there with you, and just start filling them out. =)

He should absolutely have a 504 plan! You have not gone too far. You've done the right thing. My daughter will have a 504 when she begins Kindergarten.

Also contact your local JDRF office and they will send you a school package at no charge.

Fred,  I don't have a local JDRF office but the ADA sent me a package and I downloaded the forms from the JDRF website.  I have the form from my endo; copies of signs and symptoms of hypo/hyper; handouts about type 1 diabetes, and my several sample 504's.  Hopefully I can educate the people at the school and come across as a advocate for my son....not an angry mom fighting for special treatment!  I also watched a video geared toward teaching advocates how to help parents applying for a 504...full of great information!  One of my favorite bits of info i learned:  the health plan may be full of private medical info that doesn't need to be shared with all of the staff that my son encounters....hence the need for a 504.  The 504 is communicated to all of the staff that my son encounters.  That should nullify the argument that they seem to be presenting, "he will have a health plan, so he won't need a 504."  Meeting is at 9am CST!  Hopefully it goes well!  I am armed (with info!) and ready!

I am a teacher and it makes me so sad that you feel like you have to fight for what is legally your right! The 504 will protect your son in so many more ways than a health plan. Good luck, and don't back down. I know my school wouldn't even think twice about a 504.

Hello Jennifer,

We recently applied and were granted SAT accomodations.  You start with the website and contact them for deadlines. The school guidance counselor has  to submit documentation to Collegeboard.  They will issue you a form that your son will have to present at the time of testing.  Also when you register for the exam, you indicate the need for accomodations.  This arrangement will cover SAT's, PSAT's and AP exams.  I can't remember if it covers the ACT's.

Good luck with your son's arrangements.


My daughter (age 9) was diagnosed on New Years Eve 2008.  I asked for a 504 plan and set that up with the school quickly.  My daughters teacher was a first year teacher who new nothing about diabetes (like most people until you are faced with it).  She was not allowing extra time to complete homework when she had been out of school for a few days, had very unrealistic expectations and would forget that my daughter required snacks.  I was extremely frustrated and concerned.  My daughter was missing a lot of class time with highs and lows and spent a great deal of time in the nurses office.  I got the teacher, Principal and school social worker together and now everyone is on the same page.  I dont think you are overreacting.  This is tough......

Well, I am new to this.  We just received our diagnosis, but as soon as we were out of the hospital, I contacted the school about arranging a 504.  You have NOT gone to far.  You are the only one that is going to advocate for your child.  Stick to your guns and get that 504 in place.  Make sure you are happy with it before you sign it.  Remind your school that your child has a legal disability and they must accomodate him.  Not to mention the fact that the schools receive extra money for every child with a diagnosed disability in their school.  I don't know about your area, but here in Phoenix a representative from Children's Hospital will go to the school and educate them for you.  Check into it, and good luck!!

Good News!  We have the 504 plan in place.  I think the Guidance counselor just didn't want to deal with any additional paperwork, because she continued to ask me if i "really" thought he needed it.  I even arranged a meeting with all of his teachers to let them know what type 1 diabetes was and what his high/low symptoms were.  All of the teachers were really supportive and very understanding.  At the end of the meeting, I thanked the guidance counselor for going out of her way to make this happening.  She said that the group that approves the 504's didn't have any problem approving the 504 except for the unlimited absences due to illness.  Then she clarified that drew would have to take a "comprehensive exam to show mastery of the subject" if he missed more than 9 days of school per semester.  I replied that i would think they would have some sort of rule in place to deal with children who were chronically ill.  she said no and suggested i meet with the person in charge of attendance.  I told her i would schedule something later, i wanted to look up some information before i met with him.  When the meeting was finished and i was talking to my child, she went out of the room to get the person in charge of attendance and brought him in.  He and i had the same discussion.  i would think they would have something in place for chronically ill children.  What i did not understand and neither of them clarified was that the "comprehensive exam" is the end of semester exam according to the state website.  Well of course i would expect my child to have to take and pass the end of semester exam!  Had they stated it this way i wouldn't have said anything....

My daughter is ten and dx in March.  We sent her back to school with a "medical management plan" but immediately started working on her 504.  My husband is a middle school principal, so we had the benefit of having the experience from both sides.  My husband is the one who insisted on having a 504.  Even thought we have a very close relationship with the school personal, we still wanted a 504.  It can only benefit your son.  A health plan is not a legally binding document, a 504 is.  It legally entitles your son to benefits, specifically whatever you work into the plan.   You and the school must agree to what is put into the plan.  I like havig it because basically, I know that the school won't try to give my daughter a hard time and they know that we have educated ourselves about her rights.  Your example about testing is perfect.  Most people don't understand the requirements of this disease.  Having a 504 ensures that you won't have to fight these battles over and over again, every time that there is a test or an event planned that requres special care for your son. 

Speaking of 504 plans, any school that receives federal funding cannot refuse to follow a 504 agreement.   If they try that, federal funding can be taken away.


Managing the school thing is huge. And, their needs change as they get older. There's a cool starter 504 template for each grade/age that you can download from the Children with Diabetes website. Here's the link: