Reasonable adjustments: creating a supportive environment
Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 schools have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students with disabilities. Students and parents or carers work with schools to identify changing needs and agree on reasonable adjustments. School-based reasonable adjustments may include:
- additional toilet breaks
- access to food and equipment during class time, during sport, camps, excursions and in the playground
- providing secure storage for equipment
- accommodating a student’s preferences for managing their treatment in the school (including private spaces and blood glucose checking in the classroom if requested)
- providing additional time or breaks to check and treat during exams
For more information, visit ‘Looking after young people with type 1 diabetes in schools and early childhood settings’: Mastering Diabetes in Victorian Schools and early childhood
The below information summarises the roles of those providing reasonable adjustments to assist in the management of students with type 1 diabetes:
Role of students (if age appropriate)
- tell parents or carers and teachers how they want to manage their treatment in the school setting, for example, in a private area or in the classroom
- carry or store equipment and supplies as outlined in the Diabetes Management
- ensure equipment is safe and secure, for example, giving their insulin pump to a teacher during swimming and contact sport
Role of Principals and Responsible Staff
- make reasonable adjustments to ensure students can participate fully in school activities and events
- notify parents or carers in advance of upcoming activities, events, overnight excursions, camps or overseas travel to facilitate planning for additional support needs
- communicate with parents/carers regarding the needs of the student whilst on camp or excursions and make reasonable adjustments based on the advice from the diabetes treating team
Role of parents or carers
- work with the diabetes treating team to update the Diabetes Management Plan
- if required, work with the diabetes treating team and Responsible Staff to develop a Diabetes Management Plan, to document information about out of hours routines, activities or practices that might impact on type 1 diabetes management during school excursions, activities or events
- work with staff to agree on any reasonable adjustments prior to the camp and ensure these are included in the Diabetes Management Plan
Role of diabetes treating team
- work with the school and parents/carers to update the Diabetes Management Plan
- if required, work with the parents/carers and Responsible Staff to develop a Diabetes Management Plan, to document information about out of hours routines, activities or practices that might impact on type 1 diabetes management during school excursions, activities or events
Role of the Department of Education and Training
- provide information and advice to schools on best practice around making adjustments to support students with type 1 diabetes as required
Good practice examples — reasonable adjustments
The below information illustrates how reasonable adjustments can be made to allow students to fully participate in school:
Activity — Exams/Assessments
A student on an insulin pump is allowed extra time to complete exams because she will need to check her blood glucose levels during the exam. The student has the opportunity to reschedule if she feels unwell.
A school ensures that students with type 1 diabetes are informed prior to the exam, of the additional support available to them. This helps to allay potential anxieties for the students, about managing their symptoms during the exam
Teachers ensure that all exam supervisors are aware that certain students will need to check blood glucose levels during exams and may need to eat during the exam. For possible special examination arrangements for students with diabetes visit: Victorian Curriculum and Assessment
Activity — Sports
Teachers at a secondary school carry copies of a student’s Diabetes Action Plan and a hypo kit to sport and other high-energy activities. This ensures that they can respond quickly if the student’s blood glucose levels fall and they have a hypo.
The sports teacher discusses with parents about the safe handling of a student’s insulin pump which will be disconnected during contact sport and swimming sessions.
Activity — During Recess
A teacher at a primary school stays with a student during the break as her blood glucose levels are low.The teacher also invites the student’s friends to stay with the student to ensure she doesn’t feel like she is missing out on spending time with her friends.
Activity — School camps
A primary school supported a parent to attend school camps at no expense to the family to manage overnight care of their child, including blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration.
A student’s diabetes treating team worked with the student and parents to learn how to self-inject ahead of school camp so the parents did not need to attend.
Activity — Overseas trips
Six weeks before an overseas school trip, the parent of a student on multiple daily insulin injections met with the diabetes treating team to review the student’s Diabetes Management Plan and request a comprehensive diabetes flight and travel plan to provide to the teachers. The principal arranged for the accompanying teachers to receive training from a Diabetes Nurse Educator.
Reviewed 09 June 2020