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Question:

From Buford, Georgia, USA:

My six year old, who has had type 1 diabetes for two and a half years, did her Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) with a normal blood sugar and got referred to the gifted program, but when follow up in school tests were done she was tested four times out of six with blood sugars over 250 mg/dl [13.8mmol/L]. I was not able to change test time, so I just give her insulin before she started and re-tested her afterward. I do not know which specific test was done in which date, but end result was that she seems to miss the program by one question. She got 98% ability (96% needed), 94% academic (96% needed) and 100% motivation (94% needed). Now I am blaming myself for letting them test her when she was high and feel that, if I have demanded normal blood sugars, she would have done better. Fortunately, school does not make her wait until third grade for re-testing; she can be re-tested at the beginning of the second grade next year.

By that time, I need to find out if those highs really affect her performance and if there is any correlation between test results and blood sugar levels with intelligent child. Can high blood sugars effect mental tests (OLSAT, etc.) or any other regular school test results?

Answer:

This is very interesting. If you look at other similar questions in our library, you will find them. Essentially, there is growing evidence, but not proven, that hyperglycemia can affect some cognitive learning, and certainly, hypoglycemia does.

While your daughter's higher sugars may have played a role, I think it would be fair to ask the appropriate persons as to the "reproducibility" of tests results (under normal situations). There is always some variability, such that standardized tests give a range. Why would they accept one day's test scores but not another? It seems reasonable to request that she be allowed to test again with you really keeping an eye on her glucose readings the days before the test. With "stress" of taking a test, I wouldn't be surprised if the values were higher. Will you need a doctor's request? You may need an IEP and 504 plan [ED: See The Law, Schools, and Your Child with Diabetes.] to accommodate your daughter, if she is in a public school. Ask the school principal or counselor.

While this statement may sound cavalier, it is not meant to be. Unless the gifted program truly offers something special, I have rarely been impressed with gifted programs for children of this age (at least as pertained to my daughters who attended very good public schools). Sometimes gifted programs are truly enhanced learning opportunities or accelerated programs; sometimes they are esoteric "froo-froo" classes. In first, second, or third grade, I don't know what exceptional benefits to the gifted programs (depending on your school district) would be. Kids often are viewed differently from their peers as they are taken out of class for their 'specials.' Is that always a good thing?

DS

DTQ-20020223203629
Original posting 9 Mar 2002
Posted to School and Daycare

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:32
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