CDN Student Advice Column: the Line Between Milking Your Accommodations and Asking for What You Need

CDN STUDENT ADVICE COLUMNISTS 2018-2019

Editor's note: A warm welcome to our new Student Advice Columnists for the 2018-2019 school year! They'll be answering your anonymous questions about everything T1D and young adulthood. Ask your question here!

student advice column

Q:

What’s your best advice for finding a balance between not milking your accommodations and other’s sympathies and not having enough resources? I’ve always been told not to use my diabetes as a crutch but it’s hard sometimes when you get some special treatment (such as notes from lecture).

A: Brandon

The best way I can think of to look at this situation is to treat it as if you don’t have diabetes at all. If you didn’t have diabetes then you would show up for every lecture except for certain scenarios where you are really sick or out of town. As nice as it is to skip class sometimes, as well as have an excuse for skipping, it won’t benefit you for the class or for the future. Part of knowing class material and doing well in classes is showing up for lecture and being interactive with the material, which can’t be done if you are not there. You have to also think about your future, and consider if this is the same thing you would do when you have a job someday. There are very valid reasons to milk the sympathy of others when it comes to diabetes such as having a bad a case of ketones, or maybe your blood sugar was so low that you could barely could function. So, just as if you didn’t have diabetes you would participate unless there was a worst case scenario; treat it the same way with diabetes.

A: Abbey

I believe any person with diabetes struggles with the idea of “milking” their accommodations. However, I think you could look at accommodations from a different perspective! Accommodations are like a safety net. As a person with diabetes, you are aware planning is key to living life with diabetes. So, being accommodated for your diabetes in an education setting is another form of planning. Expect the best, but plan for the worst. Your accommodations are there to ensure you have the best learning experience possible! Therefore, I do not think any accommodation is a crutch! I think the accommodations you request are a way of planning and ensuring you have a great educational experience. You will know how to plan best for you. Be confident in your abilities, but also be realistic about the struggles you may face when managing your diabetes. Planning your accommodations in a way where you would have all you need but might not use all the accommodations is a great way to approach the task. Thinking of accommodations as plans will hopefully take away the somewhat negative connotation of “milking” your accommodations!