Although it shouldn’t be the case, people with diabetes do face discrimination in many areas of life. You should know that as a diabetic, you have rights, and the best way to ensure these rights is through knowledge. Know the laws that protect your child and yourself from discrimination based on your illness. Three laws of importance where children’s rights are concerned are: The Rehabilitation Act 1973, section 504, The Americans with Disabilities Act and the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
Rights of the diabetic child
Sadly, the diabetic child may face challenges at school and at daycare just because of the condition. The diabetic child may be prevented from participating in sporting events even if they are good at what they do.
The best way to deal with discrimination against the diabetic child is to educate the school or daycare community. The biggest reason for discrimination is normally a lack of knowledge. Once you let the offending parties know how to care for a child with diabetes, the issues should be put to rest. However, there will still be those who are afraid that something may go wrong and therefore prohibit the child from taking part in certain activities. In these instances, you may need mediation or even legal intervention.
Discrimination and the diabetic adult
Workplace discrimination is one of the biggest challenges faced by the adult living with diabetes. Some adults may be bypassed for a promotion simply because they are diabetic and their employers feel that this may affect their performance.
Most, if not all, workplace anti-discrimination laws should address discrimination based on diabetes. However, you must be able to prove that discrimination really occurred and that it happened as a result of your illness.
Discrimination against diabetics is felt in different spheres of life. One area where this is most prevalent is in obtaining a driver’s license. The fact that diabetics may have certain physical limitations if their disease is not managed properly is used as a reason not to issue a license. Yes, some diabetics do become hypoglycemic and find themselves unable to safely operate a vehicle, but this is not a frequent occurrence. Each diabetic who applies for a driver’s license should be dealt with on an individual basis and not across the board.
People with diabetes have the right to own and operate a motor vehicle. Each individual should be assessed and medical records provided to highlight their medical history, as it concerns problems related to their illness. Only based on such a report should a decision be taken whether or not to issue a driver’s license.
There are three ways to demand your rights if you face discrimination because of your diabetes. Get the necessary information about diabetes to the people in authority; it is generally out of ignorance that discrimination arises. If providing information does not change the situation, you may have to seek legal avenues to secure your rights. Finally, get your political leaders to change laws in favor of the disabled by joining advocacy groups.