You're not alone. Others have faced - and defeated - discrimination because of diabetes. Here are some recent examples.
Thomas has type 1 diabetes and worked for two weeks as a forklift operator for a national corporation, but when a work physical revealed an elevated blood glucose level he was fired. Thomas explained his diabetes and blood glucose level, and provided his employer with a note from his physician stating he was able to do the job, but he was not allowed to return to work. Thomas spoke to an ADA Legal Advocate who connected him with a lawyer who wrote a letter to Thomas's former employer explaining that it is illegal to fire someone who is able to do the job just because he has diabetes. Upon receiving the lawyer's letter, the employer called Thomas and offered him his job back.
Melissa's son started ninth grade this year. An excellent student with very good attendance, Melissa's son nevertheless has to occasionally miss school for doctor's appointments and illness. His school has an incentive program that allows students who miss three or less classes to be exempt from final exams. While absences due to sports and religious observances were not counted against students, there was no such exemption for students who had to miss school for health reasons. Melissa did not want her son to be penalized for these unavoidable absences, or for having diabetes. She spoke to an ADA Legal Advocate who worked with her to develop strategies to negotiate with the school district. Melissa convinced the school district to modify her son's Section 504 Plan to include a provision that he would not be penalized for diabetes-related absences.
Jennifer called ADA for help securing better medical care for her son who is incarcerated. Upon arrival at the prison, Jennifer's son, who has type 1 diabetes, was separated from his insulin pump and placed on injection therapy but received no medical evaluation to establish an appropriate injection-based treatment plan. Within days, Jennifer's son went into diabetic ketoacidosis. After emergency treatment for the DKA, he was still unable to get the medical staff at the prison to pay attention to his needs and as a result, his blood glucose was often over 500 mg/dl. When he asked to see a doctor, Jennifer's son was threatened with placement in solitary confinement. Jennifer spoke to an ADA Legal Advocate who provided her with information about diabetes care in prison, a copy of the ADA's clinical practice recommendations on correctional institutions, and talked with her about strategies to work with prison officials to make sure her son's needs are met. Jennifer now says that although the care her son receives in prison is "far from perfect," the medical staff is now responding to his concerns and has established an appropriate treatment plan.
Tanya's five-year old son started kindergarten at a public school and was given a Section 504 plan that included provisions to make sure he received diabetes care during the school day. However, school officials decided that because his instructional time ended at 2:00 p.m., the school could refuse to let him stay in the after school program. Tanya spoke with an ADA Legal Advocate who explained how to negotiate with the school district and provided Tanya with Department of Education resources supporting her request that diabetes care be provided during the after school program held on school grounds. Tanya wrote a letter to the school district sharing this information and requesting that they reconsider their decision to enroll her son in the after school program. The very next day, the school agreed to allow her son to attend the after school program and to provide staff trained in diabetes care.
Read what others are saying about ADA's legal advocacy program:
"It feels very good to go to bat for a cause backed up with solid legal and moral righteousness. Thank you for your time, looking into this matter, and for supplying me with a nice, solid platform to begin our negotiations." - Parent of child with diabetes
"I appreciate all of your advice. As a parent, I was using personal feelings versus acting in a solution-based manner. I really appreciate your assistance." - Parent of a child with diabetes
"Just wanted to tell you thank you for speaking with me last week regarding my patients and the suggestions you provided. I received the packet of information you sent me and will make it available to our patients." - Health care provider
"Thank you very much for the time you spent counseling me last week and for the legal references you sent me today. It was so important for me to make contact with someone both caring, yet professionally objective and wise about how to approach reasonable accommodations at work. It is very hard challenging one's employer on an issue where you feel you have the moral and legal high ground, but do not know the "rules of the game" and what to do at each step. You have given me some options and perspective for which I am grateful." - Worker with diabetes
"I should have called sooner...I think I was being a little too patient. I am very grateful for your support and expertise in this area. I cannot thank you enough!" - Parent of child with diabetes
"Thanks so much for all of your assistance. I can't tell you how much it meant." - Worker with diabetes
"I want to thank you for the time you spent visiting with me on the phone recently. It is extremely encouraging to visit with someone that understands diabetes and is willing to provide information regarding this disease. . . All of us involved appreciate your willingness to keep an open file. This is the first time the family has experienced a friendly relationship, and we sincerely appreciate your helpful attitude." - Advocate for inmate with diabetes
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