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Entries in 504 (10)


DSMA Live: Parents Talk (feat. me) Audio


Apparently I have a lot of thoughts on a multitude of subjects and DSMA Live 'Rents, was a perfect place to share them. I'm confident that you will agree... my appearance is not as entertaining as 'The Avengers' but I can promise this, it is 200 times better, then 80% of ABC's comedy TV lineup. Enough build up, here's DSMA Live: Parents Talk from December 17, 2012.


Listen to internet radio with DiabetesSocMed on Blog Talk Radio


DSMA Live and DSMA Live Parents Talk is also available on iTunes and on the DSMA website. Please consider adding a DSMA Twibbon to your avatar and/or making a donation to help DSMA obtain tax exempt status.


Arden's 504 plan for download

I pulled ideas from a number of sources when I wrote Arden's 504 plan. I found that there were good and useful ideas in a number of places on the internet but that most templates went (I thought) too far. I felt that they went into a level of detail that would be off-putting to the school district. Over a number of months I culled, wrote and edited a plan until I settled on the one that we use now. It covers Arden in all ways medically, scholastically and personally that I found necessary. Recently I was reminded that I promised to share the plan and never did. So let's take care of that right now.

Below are links to Word and Pages versions of Arden's 504 plan for type I diabetes, all names have been replaced with place holders, you should make changes where and when you see fit. Please know that the process of putting a 504 plan in place can be lengthy, requiring a number of meetings. Just like in any negotiation you will be asked to make concessions and you should ask for them. When in doubt of your rights, refer to the AFT (American Federation of Teacher's) document, 'The Medically Fragile Child', this pdf is full of information that you can and will need while making your way through the process... it's a bit like having the other team's play book and is quite helpful!

Arden's 504 Plan (Kindergarten -2nd) - download for Pages

Arden's 504 Plan (Kindergarten -2nd) - download for Word

The Medically Fragile Child - download PDF

I urge you to seek out the laws and guideline that exist in your state regarding your child's rights and what the state requires of your school. It's my experience that the school will try to get away with taking on as little responsibility as they can get away with. Being educated about what is required of the school makes it much simpler to get them to deliver. Think of it like this... When you are buying a car there is a number that the sales person can't go below, your offer doesn't need to be any more then that number. If you don't ask for the lowest price available, the salesperson isn't going to tell you that you offered too much. Knowing the laws and guideline is knowing the bottom line.

Please email or leave comments with any questions.


I want to add that my blog should in no way be confused for legal or medical advice. These are no more then my experiences and I am sharing them with anyone who is interested in knowing how I put together a 504 plan for my child. Never take my advice without first checking with a professional.


Building a Working Relationship With School

This post was originally written by me as a guest blog piece for the D-Mom Blog. I'm reposting it today in celebration of Arden begining second grade tomorrow and the great relationship that we have with her school.


The relationship that you forge with your child’s school is perhaps more important than the relationship that you have with their Endocrinologist. Sound crazy? Let me see if I can sway you…

If your doc is a bit gruff or hurries you in and out, that’s not optimal but you can always find a new endo. So while there are ways for you to get around a lousy doctor… the school that your child attends can’t easily change.

Depending on the age of your child at diagnosis you could be looking at thirteen years of schooling to navigate and we want those years to be smooth ones. I’ve taken a very long-term view of my relationship with my daughter Arden’s school officials, nurses and teachers. Even though things started out rough for us, I kept my head, swallowed my pride a time or two and kept my eye on the more important long-term goal, opting to win the war and not hyper focus on the battle.

I knew I was in for a rough road from day one. I stopped in to chat with the principal at the end of the year prior to Arden starting kindergarten. I was mostly taking the temperature of the folks that would be with Arden everyday, very informal, the visit went well except for this one, almost innocuous moment. The principle half laughed at me for showing up so many months before Arden would begin at the school. As I began to explain, I realized that she didn’t have the first idea of how challenging it would be to manage Arden’s type 1. She was basing what she knew on the much older, much heavier, more mature type 1 children that had been through the school previously. This was the first time of many that I could have drawn a line in the sand, made my point that they didn’t “understand” but instead… I gently expressed that Arden’s management would be different then the other T1 kids at the school and told her that I looked forward to speaking with her over the summer about Arden’s 504 plan. I chose to plant a seed, take it slow and see what I could get to grow.

I spent the next few months creating Arden’s 504 plan, it is comprehensive without being bloated, it doesn’t try to be fancy and strives to be fair minded while covering all of Arden’s needs. I knew that my next obstacle would be a big one, at our inaugural meeting the school presented their own 504 plan, it was on one page and consisted of five vague bullet points. When I saw it I asserted myself for the first time saying, “I dare you to keep her alive for a week with that.” Keep in mind that you can’t plant your feet and fight every time something is said that you disagree with. Instead think to yourself, “How do I get this to where I need it to be?”

There are a number of reasons not to get emotional, the two most important ones are: once you do you look like an over-protective nut and they’ll never take you seriously again. Even though the person that you are dealing with is a professional, people have a very difficult time disconnecting themselves from their jobs and often take things that they shouldn’t very personally.  Please remember that you’re goal isn’t to be correct, it’s to get what you need for your child. In the pursuit of that goal you mustn’t let the other side walk away feeling like you’ve beat them or gotten something that you didn’t deserve because you were belligerent; they need to feel good about what has transpired. Not leaving negative memories is key as you don’t want them to resurface when they see your child. You can think and hope all you want that teachers, principals and nurses won’t hold a grudge, but I’m telling you that they will. While it may not be to a great degree, any grudge is a waiting opportunity to get even – as that’s (generally) how our brains are wired. You want the sight of your child to evoke caring, empathy, a maternal urge, not the memory of you loosing your shit in the principle’s office.

I’ve gone through it all and I expect much more as the years go by. Arden’s initial 504 negotiation lasted four months. I’ve seen apathy, mocking (that I know occurred at district meetings – thanks to my little bird!), I had to educate our superintendent, negotiate to have school staff and bus drivers trained to recognize and react to type 1 situations, and on and on. There have been so many opportunities for me to become angry, to take a shot when someone said or did something ill-informed or even insulting, but I never did. I smiled when the cafeteria person told me that, “I have a hard enough time dealing with the normal kids” when I asked for carb counts. I’ve put up with the looks and the attitudes when the staff has to do something that they don’t want to.

An aide once told Arden not to worry, “her OmniPod could be photoshopped out” of her school portrait. That comment made me insane but instead of entering into a situation that would have ultimately only served to dismantle the relationship that I’ve built, I called the school and explained why it wasn’t optimal to give Arden the impression that she should be ashamed of the device that keeps her alive. I further explained, “this isn’t the message that we should be sending.” The staff was properly sorry for what had transpired and in all honesty, the person that said it wasn’t being nasty, she just wasn’t thinking. When they started to apologize I wouldn’t let them, instead I apologized for the uncomfortable moment, turning the shame onto me so that they wouldn’t take it on them. What I wanted to say was, “What the f*&% is wrong with you morons?” Never-the-less I swallowed hard to maintain the easy relationship that I have built.

In the end, this isn’t about being right, or smarter or who has more knowledge of type 1. It’s about the players in the situation feeling empowered to help my daughter live her life as normally and as healthy as possible. It’s about being able to ask a favor without it feeling like a favor. It’s about getting what I need for Arden as easily and as completely as I can.

Today there is likely nothing that I couldn’t ask for, point out or flat out demand that wouldn’t be handled with a smile… ALL because we have a personal relationship with each person that I deal with, a relationship that was built one seed at a time.

I think that my time as a married man has in part helped me with this… a man, a good man, knows he’s never right… am I correct ladies? So even when my better judgement tells me things aren’t quite right, I smile at things that don’t make a lick of sense to me in the name of keeping the peace. I’m not interested in winning any individual battles… I want to win the war.

In closing, I’ve been a full-time parent for more then eleven years (the last five of them with type 1 diabetes) and it takes a certain personality to be a full time parent. Though our numbers are growing, I am still in the minority being a man in this position. I think that my situation is unique in that I am a mother in my heart and when the situation calls for it, I am a mother outwardly. I’m not embarrassed to carry a pink purse when Arden gets tired of holding it and as a matter of fact, none of what I do has ever made me feel embarrassed… I’m a mom and I’m very proud of the things that I spend my days doing.

However, in the other moments… I’m a guy: I like baseball, boobies, I’m tough on my kids when they need me to be, and I can be territorial and aggressive when the situation calls for it. When you blend the two sides together you get a soft-hearted, sentimental, mothering person that thinks like a man in pressured moments. That blend comes in handy, especially in situations like the ones that arise at school for a child with type 1.

So, if I may be so bold, I have a message for the lionesses of the DOC. I know from watching my amazing wife when her instincts kick in just how much a mother’s love motivates you wonderful ladies – I certainly wouldn’t get in between one of you and your child’s wellbeing – but sometimes… you have to suppress your natural instincts in favor of the long-term goal.


Sub Driver Nirvana

Six months before Arden began her school career - that’s when I first approached the staff at Arden’s school to discuss her diabetes care.  Many though that I was too early but I knew how much information was going to have to change hands and I knew it wasn’t going to be a quick process.  I also knew that I had a lot to do, like make the buses safer for kidswith needs.


Much has been finalized since that summer and Arden is now in first grade.  There was however one lingering issue,  substitute bus drivers were to be informed of Arden’s type I, given a fact sheet about her and then offered the opportunity to switch routes if they felt uncomfortable driving her.  Sadly, every time Arden has had a sub driver, the driver never knows she has type I - until yesterday!


I was so excited when the door to the bus opened and I asked my stock question, “were you told about her?” - they always look back blankly and say, “no” but not yesterday...

The driver nodded and said, “yea, she has type I diabetes, I saw the sheet - were good”.


I felt like I won the olympics or the lottery or something - it was just the coolest feeling!  The coolest feeling that is up until I got a phone call saying that Arden had been on television the night before...




I learned something today that I am very proud of and I wanted to share it with all of you.  A little back story...  Last year was Arden’s first year of school and we spent a lot of time and effort putting her 504 plan in place.  The process wasn’t always smooth but I found that being frank and honest was the best approach when asking the district for something that they either didn’t normally offer or that they weren’t accustom to doing.  For the most part we always found common ground.


One of the things that I was shocked to learn during that process was that there was no consideration given for the time the children spend on the bus.  No one thought a second about it (or so it seemed).  So I went to work on a process for the bus drivers.  I created the emergency card that is now on the bus (shown below), sub drivers are now told about Arden and given a chance to refuse the route if they aren’t comfortable with the added responsibility, Arden’s driver is always Arden’s driver - every year.  As long as Arden has type I, Denise has a job.  Denise attends the school wide ‘diabetes recognizing and reacting to signs and symptoms’ lecture that is given to EVERY school employee (I may have had something to do with that too ;) ...), Arden is the first dropped off and the last picked up to minimize her time on the bus, if the bus encounters a mechanical defect I am contacted by the driver and given the bus’s location so I can extract Arden.  None of these things were easy to accomplish and they were all met with varying degrees of resistance but it’s important to understand that the school doesn’t resist because they don’t want to do the right thing, they resist because resistance is the human response to change.  By keeping that one fact in mind I was able to make school and the bus a safer place for Arden and the other type I kids in our district.  


Now back to that “thing” that I’m proud of...


Today I learned that the new program offered this year by our transportation department called the, ‘Medical/Special Needs Alert Program’ is a direct result of the plan that I put in place last year.  No longer do parents have to make endless calls, take countless meeting and experience crazy stress just to make the bus a safe place for their child.  All they have to do is call or send an email and they get everything that Arden gets...  It turns out that some (in the district) always wanted this to be the way things were done but they could never internally get the district to move on the idea.  It took me being a thorn in a few people’s sides to break the log jam free.  


Go be a ‘thorn’ for your kid... You’ll be glad you did!  


Last thought.  I’m sharing our life in the name of transparency.  Our children need the world to understand type I as completely as possible.  That understanding is, in my opinion, the fastest path to a possible cure and in the interim the best chance our children have at the most normal life that is possible.  I hope that this glimpse into Arden’s Day prompts you to make a small donation to her 2010 JDRF Walk for a Cure. Donations can be made at this link.  The link is safe and secure and your donation is 100% tax deductible.  Have a great day!



The following are archived comments from this post. You can post new comments below.


Adam Naddelman
Great job Scott.  Your hard work never ceases to amaze me.  Have you thought about contacting the state to see if  this can be implemented across more districts?
Friday, September 10, 2010 - 10:13 AM
Great news, congratulations. Isn't it amazing what you can do with a positive attitude. No need to go in all confrontational. That gets you no where. 

We've had good success with our School District as well for making change. We went in as partners with the District. Beth and I organized the other parents of kids in the Autism Support classes and got the District to not only expand the elementary program but now as of this year will have ASD support from K-12. We continue to meet regurally with the Administration and teachers to keep on top of progress and see where we can do better. Some parents wanted to go in guns blazing but I talked them down and we did it my way. It worked and our kids are benifitting.
Friday, September 10, 2010 - 03:30 PM
Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 08:58 AM