When was diabetes classed as disability and what was the first piece of legislation that said this?

willow37

New Member
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Parent
Hi I have a couple of questions relating to my dissertation:

When was diabetes classed as disability and what was the first piece of legislation that said this (preferably Northern Ireland Law)?

Historically, was diabetes in schools always classified as SEN and if so was the child allowed to attend mainstream with the condition?

Many thanks
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
They hadn't invented SEN as a category when I was at school, any child having special needs either temporarily or permanently at my senior school was catered for individually, though these were all physical things. School campus was huge (2000 ish kids) so we were allowed 10 mins between lessons to cross the school by the paths as we weren't allowed to walk on very many of the acres of grass! Hence if you were eg on crutches you were allowed out a few minutes before the end of the lesson so you didn't get flattened in the rush ! I wasn't aware of anyone diabetic during my schooldays however when I was diagnosed and went back to work I remember girl about the same age as me in a different department saying she was quite jealous of a T1 girl at her school cos she was allowed to go to the head of the dinner queue every day and got served before everyone else!

She did realise by that time it was NOT something that most people would want though.

Think this tells you the Legal situation in a nutshell = 1995!

 

LucyDUK

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HI @willow37

As @trophywench has nicely directed you I believe it was with the introduction of the DDA 1995 which is what still applies in NI I think?

As for attending mainstream, Ive never heard that children with diabetes couldn’t at any point. In fact my Grandfather remembered a boy at his secondary school who was allowed to snack on fruit in class due to having diabetes and that would’ve been in the late 1920’s, not long after insulin was discovered! That was London though not NI, but not sure that it would’ve been any different.

It hasn’t historically been considered SEN either as that tends to apply more to learning needs than medical and although my son‘s primary school did get extra funds from the LEA for his care it wasn’t under SEN - can’t remember what it was referred to as though I’m afraid - again, not NI though.

I wonder if any of the diabetes at school info on the DUK website would be useful? https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/your-child-and-diabetes/schools/school-staff
 

Pumper_Sue

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Diabetes is only a disability if you make it into one.
When I was at school in the 60's and 70's mum had a phone call from the education dept asking about her disabled daughter! Mum explained that they had the wrong number but no they insisted, on further enquiry from mum they were ringing to offer me a free holiday as I had diabetes. Mum explained that I was not disabled by any stretch of the imagination and I was last seen at the highest point of the apple tree in the garden bombarding both brothers with apples from my vantage point :cool:
To this day I have no idea why anyone should label a child disabled because they have diabetes.
 

everydayupsanddowns

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To this day I have no idea why anyone should label a child disabled because they have diabetes.
Haha! That’s a brilliant image!

And it’s absolutely true, I don’t consider myself to be disabled either. Not in the least.

But I think it’s more about legal protection and equity of access isn’t it?

eg not allowing schools to deny children access to the outward bound course (because it’s a bit of a hassle for them)... or them insisting on making the child obey some unsuitable rules about ‘not carrying electronic devices’ when one of them operates their pump, or their mobile phone acts as a CGM receiver.

It means the school must make ‘reasonable adjustments’... as must employers who eg can’t insist that you *must* go to the toilets to inject, and that you can’t treat your hypos by eating/drinking ‘on shift’ etc etc.
 

Thebearcametoo

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Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
Yes it means the school must make reasonable adjustments and there is acknowledgment through DLA and things like that that a child with diabetes may need more care than their peers - my daughter needs more supervision than she did before diagnosis and whilst that will get less as she gets older there will still be an extra level of supervision needed compared to her peers so she gets DLA until she’s 17
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Yup - eg taking the chosen hypo remedy into the exam room. I'm not disabled either @Pumper_Sue - except when it suits me!! LOL

Seriously it means that we are supposed to be protected by the law - but Mike - it does NOT stop employers constructively dismissing staff but they only do it when they've ground you down so very very low, there is No Way you are mentally fit to actually bring a lucid Tribunal case against them - and finish up ringing your solicitor in tears and begging her to get you out of here pdq. And why? because my - seriously expert! - solicitor that the terms of my severance package REQUIRED me to engage dared to query something in it - so the HR department made it known they'd put it right to the bottom of the 'things to be dealt with pile' and there it was going to stay until I signed it.
 

Vonny

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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Can I please piggy-back on this thread and ask: is T2 also covered by the Equality Act? Not that I need to know, I'm just interested as I've never thought of this before.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Yeah ! - it is as far as I'm concerned and I think @Stitch147 can probably confirm that both with her former H&S hat on at TfL and as more recently as an employee of a much better than 'just good' employer.
 

SueEK

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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I didn’t know diabetes was classed as a disability!!
 

NotWorriedAtAll

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I didn’t know diabetes was classed as a disability!!
UK Equality Act.

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

"‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial,"
"‘long-term’ means 12 months or more"


This is me now not quoting: This means that disability depends on how your situation affects you as an individual. Being able to overcome the challenges faced because of your condition does not mean the negative effect no longer exists - it just means you are resourceful in finding strategies - it also means you have to expend time and energy dealing with it that someone without that condition would not have to expend.
So any long term condition that requires you to change how you live your life by developing coping strategies and/or giving up things counts as a disability.
 

LucyDUK

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The definition is also based on how you would manage if you were not taking the prescribed treatment for your condition, which makes a huge difference to how anyone with diabetes, particularly those on any medication, could function ‘normally’.
 

SueEK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
When you put it like that yes it most definitely is a disability, it’s also a pain in the rear end that at present I’m fed up with!! Thanks for all the useful info folks x
 

NotWorriedAtAll

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Something or another I read very recently said that 'we' need to take up to 180 extra decisions daily when we have D. Blimey.
This is why I chose straight away to go low carb and then very low carb. My brain manages much better with Yes or No rather than many choices and complexities. Easier for me to just cut out carbs and find ways to make that work. Other people can manage more nuanced diets than I can cope with. Same with Covid for me - easier to say 'no going outside the house' and then I don't have to make lots of choices and weigh up risks etc. it isn't great but it is manageable for me and keeps my anxiety levels lower.
 

Vonny

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
My brain manages much better with Yes or No rather than many choices and complexities. Easier for me to just cut out carbs and find ways to make that work.
Hear hear! For some reason I fancied a rich tea finger biscuit today, felt I could have killed for one. I could have had one...just 23 kcals, 0.9g sugar and 3.7 carbs, but then I'd have messed up my system so I told self "No", and am now v happy I did :)
 
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