Postsecondary Sugar Surfing 101


Wednesday, November 7


2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.


Shawn Foster


According to the CDC, over 100 million people in the United States are now living with diabetes, including 4% of Americans ages 18-44. All 9 (yes, nine) types of diabetes have substantial impacts on students’ lives and often unexpected impacts on their academics, even if no complications are present. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the US.

A quick glance at the listservs will show you that many disability professionals have many questions around appropriate accommodations for students with diabetes, as it still presents as a low-incidence disability to our offices. Questions have included the simple — whether to allow students to have their phone in classes, whether to allow flexible attendance, whether to allow rescheduled exams, whether diabetic alert dogs are actually a thing — and the complex. Many of these questions stem from not having much information about the functional limitations that diabetes can present and a great deal of popular misinformation about diabetes in general.

In this interactive session, learn not only how to accommodate diabetic students, but also how to create a campus environment that is safe and welcoming, especially for first-year and other incoming students. 95% of treatment decisions for diabetes are made by the diabetic. Managing a complex condition that, quite frankly, can kill you pretty quickly if you make a mistake is a daunting task while also taking on all of the other challenges of transitioning to a new environment. We’ll explore together the ways that we can help make this transition a safer, smoother, and more welcoming one for students, and a less terrifying one for their parents.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify barriers that incoming students with diabetes may face transitioning to your campus and the on-campus and off-campus resources that can make them feel welcome and assist in their safety
  • Create appropriate accommodations for students with various types of diabetes and the mental health challenges that often co-occur with diabetes
  • Identify specific adjustments to testing accommodations that may be necessary with the advent of new diabetes technology
  • Identify at least two strategies you can implement to increase inclusion and retention of students with diabetes

Presentation Materials

Presenter Bio(s)

Shawn Foster

A recovering middle school teacher, Shawn has been in education for over 20 years. For the past 13 years, she’s worked to create access and inclusion for students (and other people) with disabilities at Southern Oregon University. Shawn is a Type 1 diabetic with over 24 years of experience in manually driving her pancreas.