“Special Accommodations”

June 15th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

(I know that a lot of you might feel differently than I do on this subject.  I’m okay with that.  This is just me saying what I have on my mind, not necessarily making recommendations to you about your situation… just think about what I’m saying a little and I’ll be happy.)

Well, shoot. 

I guess I’m in denial or something.  It never occurred to me that I needed special accommodations to take a state exam. 

To me, special accommodations are for people who need extra time, or who have a real reason to have a different exam than the masses.  I never think about myself in that situation.

But today I was looking at the exam rules for an upcoming exam I’m taking and lookee there: no food is permitted.


So now I have to fill out a special form and endure the lady’s questions “why didn’t you put that you needed special accommodations on your application?!” just to be allowed to have my meter with me and some food nearby.


I don’t want extra time.  I don’t need a special desk to allow for a physical disability.  I don’t need anyone to read the exam questions aloud.

I just don’t want to be hassled by the proctor when my pump beeps and they’ve told us it must be silent in the room.  If I for some reason go low during the five hour exam, I want to be able to drink some juice without being accosted by a proctor or have my exam thrown out.

Why is that called a special accommodation?

Now, granted, I understand that they need to know I have type one diabetes and they need to know why I might beep.  I understand that they don’t want food in the exam room.

I just can’t figure out why I need to send this form to my doctor just so I can take an exam.  It isn’t like this is something I’d make up.

Maybe I’ll send them a copy of the form I sent to the California Bar when I took the bar exam.  That’s the only other time I’ve needed to request permission in writing to have food with me.  But that exam was three days long, so it seemed worth it.  This one is only 200 multiple choice questions! 

I guess I’m fortunate to be as confident in myself that I mentally need no special accommodations for any test or competition with others.  My disease simply doesn’t enter that kind of picture to me.

Does that mean I’m in denial?  Maybe.  Does it mean I consider myself “normal” and only want the special treatment for what I really do need? 

You bet. 

I guess I don’t see how treating a kid with diabetes differently during a spelling or math test (when the test isn’t timed and they aren’t going low) helps them out at all.  Maybe parents are in denial when they teach their children how they can bend the rules “because of their diabetes.”  Maybe parents don’t know how easy it is to manipulate our own blood sugars… just a little more candy, a little more insulin, presto change-o there you go: wacky number on demand.  (It’s the non-wacky numbers that are truly difficult.)

I don’t want special treatment.  Just treat me the same as everyone else.  I work pretty hard to make my playing field level with everyone else.

I wouldn’t want it any other way—how else would I know that what I’ve accomplished is what I’ve really accomplished??

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1 comment

  1. Peggy says:

    I used to get special accommodations in college. I have dyslexia and I was allowed a note taker and time and a half on exams. I was appreciative of the note taker – it allowed me to really listen to the lectures, but the extra time embarrassed me.

    I didn’t need it and they made me take the exams in a different room with someone watching me. If I didn’t take the extra time I would be questioned about whether I was really learning disabled (great term) and had any right to the accommodations. No easy answer here.

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