504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics and Extracurricular Activities

A risky gap in care?

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics:

          Include Extracurricular Activities!!!

Let me REPEAT that!

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics should include Extracurricular Activities.

Not just the NAME of the activity.

And this is critically important for Type 1 Diabetics in Middle School and High School Activities.

A scary moment

The single scariest moment for our Type 1 Diabetes School Advocacy group was when we realized just how risky the gap in care was for our Type 1 students during their Extracurricular Activities.

The problem with Extracurricular Activities

Before and After school practices
On and Off campus activities
Field trips
Summer Camps

The various activities our kids want to participate in are countless. The problem: they don't always take place during school hours.  And yet, school nurses and their clinics may only be available during “normal” school hours.

All those emergency supplies – they could also be LOCKED IN THE CLINIC when your child needs them.

In spite of your 504 plan, your school may not be prepared

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights clarified the importance of extracurricular athletics. Through this formal letter, schools were reminded to provide accommodations to students during ALL school related athletics activities.

In addition, the OCR has also addressed “Nonacademic Services and Activities stating “Students may not be excluded on the basis of disability from participating in extracurricular activities and nonacademic services.”

Simplified, a public school is required to provide medical support during any school related activity. However, even with a thorough 504 plan, the school may not be prepared to provide your child with adequate support.

What?!!! How can that be? 

In all honesty, because we are FORGETTING to tell them!

Blissfully unaware…

Being a T1 school advocate has taught me a lot. And it scares me that so many T1 parents are blissfully unaware. They are assuming that everything is handled without realizing the complexity of these activities. I have been GUILTY of this too!

I failed to mention to the school that my son's Cross Country Team ran off campus every morning before school started. In fact, they started over the SUMMER running in the local parks. A school activity required by the Coach. We got lucky because that was a disaster waiting to happen. Extracurricular Activities require a team effort in communication between you, your child and your school. 

Athletics, Fine Arts, Summer Camps… 

Do NOT forget Summer Camps. It is exciting that more and more Type 1 Diabetic students are fully engaged in all kinds of Activities. Even if it takes place over the summer, your school still needs to provide support. You should communicate this in the Spring semester.

The worst thing you can do is to assume the school has it handled because your Type 1 student has a 504.

My favorite motto:

It’s the parent’s job to communicate,
 it’s the school’s job to facilitate!

Yes, of course, it is the school’s legal obligation to provide medical support. But they can’t do it without your help. The details are going to matter here. With your help and the appropriate staff, you can create a good game plan.

Advance planning is essential. Extracurricular Activities may involve many people and different departments.

Plan ahead with a T1D Activity Checklist

Don’t know where to start? Use this T1D Activity Checklist to plan ahead. Ask your 504 Coordinator and school nurse to help you update the 504 Plan. Provide plenty of input regarding the support your child may need. By planning ahead, you will allow the necessary time to train the appropriate staff.

An EXTRA supply kit with EVERYTHING is a must have!!! This will allow the Activity school staff to have the supplies when needed.

Identify potential gaps with the Extracurricular Activity Plan

T1ToGo has also created the Extracurricular Activity Plan to help you identify the potential gaps in care before you approach the school. You should review this with your child ahead of time. With your input, the school will need to identify who to train. They will also need to designate a staff member responsible for keeping track of emergency supplies.

Keep a copy of the Extracurricular Activity Plan handy yourself. For parents monitoring their kids remotely, this can be your list of emergency contacts. This is critical when the school is closed and no one is answering the phone.

Type 1 To Go Extracurricular Resources

Type 1 To Go provides more information on reports and letters issued by the U.S. Department of Education specifically regarding students with disabilities and extracurricular activities. Please visit our Extracurricular Page for these resources.

In addition, T1TG offers the following To Go Tools for families including several guides from Brandon Green, T1D and former NFL football player.

Check out the T1ToGo tools!

Get an “A” in Extracurricular Activities

You are not alone if you assumed that Extracurricular Activities were “covered” when you did your student's 504 Plan. To get an “A’ though, you will need to add some more details. With more information, the school can help minimize the potential for gaps in care. This is truly a Team effort.


Written by Anne Imber
published on 3/20/2017

Anne Imber is the mom to a Type 1 Diabetic son diagnosed in 2009. As the Founder of Type 1 To Go Teen, Anne shares her experiences with other Type 1 families regarding many of the non-medical issues that Type 1 Diabetic Teens face. The website www.Type1ToGo.com provides support materials from her presentations. Anne is also the Co-Founder of Cy Fair Type One Connection, a T1 School Advocacy & Support Group for one of the largest school districts in Texas.

This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved. 

Related blogs 

Related Pages to this Blog

Extracurricular Activities
Brandon Green (Sports with T1D)
504 Plans for Type 1s 


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