Type 1 Diabetics Legal Rights

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)  is one of the primary laws that protects people with diabetes. Established in 1990, this law is designed to prevent discrimination and provide for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Two of the areas where it offers protection for diabetics is in both work and school.

According to the ADA, a person qualifies as “disabled” if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more life activities.

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ADA Amendments Act 2008

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 clarified and broadened the determination for what qualifies as a disability. The most important thing for diabetics, is that “mitigating factors” can not be used to determine whether a diabetic qualifies.  Mitigating factors are things like medication (or insulin).  This clarification of the ADA is what helped identify that Type 1 Diabetics do qualify for such accommodations such as 504 Plans in school.

In addition, this law provided an extensive clarification list to what constitutes a “major life activity”.

See the list below:

  • caring for oneself
  • performing manual tasks
  • seeing
  • hearing
  • eating
  • sleeping
  • walking
  • standing
  • lifting
  • bending
  • speaking
  • breathing
  • learning
  • reading
  • concentrating
  • thinking
  • communicating
  • working9

Type 1 Diabetes falls under the list of major bodily functions that are considered major life activities since it involves the endocrine system.

School Info

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is actually where the term 504 comes from. The Section 504 regulation requires a school district to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified person with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s disability.

Elementary and secondary students with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education under IDEA.  IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) K-12th
Free Appropriate Public Education
for Students With Disabilities:
Requirements Under Section 504 of
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

A school district’s obligation to provide FAPE extends to students with disabilities who do not need special education but require a related service. If a student with a disability is unable to self-administer a needed medication, a school district may be required to administer the medication if that service is necessary to meet the student’s educational needs.

Even though a school district does not believe a student needs special education or related services, it must still consider whether the student is entitled to a reasonable modification of policies, practices or procedures. The extent of a districts obligation is to make reasonable modifications is fact-dependent and requires a case-by-case analysis.

FAPE applies to K-12th public schools. This is one of the laws that does not extend to college. Students in college will have to self-advocate for their accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA is designed to ensure that children with disabilities receive the services that they need. It most commonly utilized in the school setting  K-12th,  but this act provides for services and early intervention for eligible infants and toddlers as well. This act is what provides the resources for students needing Individualized Education Plans or IEPs.

Students with Type 1 Diabetes qualify for 504 accommodations under the “related services” of the special education and related services section of the IDEA. A child with diabetes may also be in need of additional learning accommodations and require an IEP.

School districts will often implement a IEP procedure to determine if any other accommodations are needed while reviewing a student for the 504 Plan. If a student does need an IEP, the student's diabetes accommodations will be included with the IEP. The IEP over rides the 504 Plan.

IDEA does not apply to post-secondary education.

IEP Information

Health & Safety Code Chapter 168: Care of Students with Diabetes

This is the law in Texas that provides the standard for school districts in caring for students with Diabetes. This is the end result of of House Bill 984. The primary goal is to always provide the safest environment for students with diabetes by providing a set of specific guidelines.

Texas Law on Diabetes Care in School

HB 984

House Bill 984 explains Texas state law on what is required by schools in regards to the care of children with diabetes in school. This document explains the responsibility of the schools to provide trained personnel. It also allows students with diabetes to treat their diabetes and carry supplies with them anywhere. the FAQ's is an informative document that was updated in 2011.

FAQ's HB 984

Training for Diabetes

The state outlines the procedure that schools should use in order to train employees who are not healthcare professionals. This allows the school to provide trained staff for students with diabetes.

Guidelines for Training School Employees who are not Licensed Healthcare Professionals to implement House Bill 984
(79th Legislative Session) related to the Care of Elementary and Secondary School Students with Diabetes

Revised August 2009

Training Information

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