Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday morning links--Election info and the hazards of the diabetic test-taker

If you have chronic illness and read this blog, then you know why I think the health care vote is so important. (Check out my post on the female vote and health care for a quick refresher). Want more information? Check out this video on health care and the next president at Its message is compelling (and it also happens to be star-studded.)

While this next link doesn't concern the election, I read this article this morning and had to link to it. As reported in today's Boston Globe, a young woman with diabetes who was taking the GRE had her insulin pump mistaken for an iPod and was also told she couldn't bring her testing kit and juice into the testing room. Check out the full story for details.

I can relate--it was a cold day in early November just a few years ago when my GRE proctor refused to allow me to bring my inhaler into the exam room with me (I was acutely sick at the time). Not the same situation, I realize, but certainly a similar fear of cheating that permeated the experience and overrode medical concerns.

Anyway, don't miss your chance to cast your vote!


Leslie said...

I think your mention of the medical issues in the Boston Globe article are really important and people don't realize it. I've recently been fighting with my department to acknowledge my need for accomodations. When I asked for more time on the prelim (because I won't be able to type from eight hours straight), the main concern was that if the test was broken up, I would attempt to cheat and talk to people that had already taken the entire thing. What? I think you've really hit on an important issue, just one more hazard of being young and chronically ill.

Maureen Hayes said...

I don't have diabetes, but I do have adrenal insufficiency, and I need to carry gatorade, water and snacks with me at all times. I also carry and EPI-Pen for multiple allergies. It is beyond ridiculous to have to read 5 pges of "rules" and ask for special permission because your body needs something different to function than a healthy persons.

Leslie, I was in school again in my late 20's and found some teachers had no problem with me taking tests on computers and having extra time, and others wouldn't accomodate me no matter what. It is sad to hear that some 15 years later, things haven't changed.

It isn't as if we chose to be ill or need to do these things, and the very fact that so many of us try to move ahead despite our illnesses should show we aren't looking for special treatment, just fair treatment.

As always Laurie, you bring up an important point. Thanks for letting us know about it and for opening it up to comments.


Laurie said...

Thanks for the feedback guys! I know, it seems ridiculous. What, was I going to cram vocab words and definitions into the inhaler?

Leslie, I wonder if there's institutional support that can help you make your case? An office or program that handles students with medical issues? (Of course, the lack of such programs is a huge issue in of itself, but any sort of disability support center may be a starting point??

Leslie said...

Coincidentally, we haven't gotten to the bottom of the prelim issue yet, although I have been able to at least get things on file, which is a lot considering how difficult they've made it!

Lyrehca said...

Great link, Laurie. I hadn't seen it.

MJ said...

I have a similar worry when I finally sit to take my AREs (Architect Registration Exam). This exam is a doozy, split up into 7 sections that each take about 4-6 hours. The testing rules stipulate that absolutely nothing can be brought into the testing room with you, and the test is now administered entirely on the computer.

This is a bit of a nightmare for me. I'll have to request accommodations to deal with the fluorescent lighting and so I can bring in some water at least. Sitting in front of a computer for several hours with very few breaks is a recipe for a severe Migraine attack.

I'm a year or so out from sitting the exams, but I'm not looking forward to having to deal with the red tape to approve the accommodations, as well as any issues with the proctors (notorious for being rigid about the rules). I can understand the need to prevent cheating, but come on.

Great post, as always, Laurie.

Be well,

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