Accommodations for ACT testing

Has anyone requested special accommodations for ACT testing such as stopping the clock in case of lows or for snacking? My 10th grade son (diagnosed 1/19) will begin ACT testing this summer, and I’m concerned about his testing situation. Also concerned of other students if his Dexcom alarms in the process. Just curious if anyone thinks this is necessary or has navigated this process. Thanks!

I took the ACT 3 or 4 years ago for entry into a healthcare program at my local community college. I was able to get permission to bring in my snacks, glucometer, insulin pump, and I think they allowed me extra restroom breaks as well. Can’t remember if they stopped the clock for me to take snack/low BG breaks; I don’t think I had any trouble with BG going low throughout the test. (Mostly I was running high because I was having to sit down for 3 hours straight.) They also gave me a private testing room so that my pump and glucometer beeping and such wouldn’t disturb other testers.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember too much about the exact process I had to go through to get accommodations, but I think the ACT website should have information somewhere obvious where you can go to apply for accommodations. I’m not sure what all information they’ll want, but it will probably include like a signed note from his doctor detailing the exact accommodations that he would require. One thing I will say is to start applying for accommodations EARLY. Sometimes it takes a long time to get that doctor’s note, and sometimes they have to locate a special testing center where they can arrange a private room and a private test administrator. If he’s taking his test this summer, I would start inquiring about accommodations now.

Thanks, Madalyn! I just don’t want to added stress of T1D to affect his testing experience. Hopefully, I can get this for him too!

Hi Mollie,
I took the ACT last year and I am grateful to say I had no problems. When I signed up for it did not occur to me to request for special accomodations till after all the paperwork. The people testing said that I was allowed to leave the room if I needed to but they would not stop the clock. I would check more on that though. We have a lot of rights as diabetics. I would turn the audio off the sensor, or at least that is what I did. Over a few day/weeks, I tested with what breakfast would last me the longest and went with that. During the break I tested and was good, but they did allow me to bring snacks in.

Good luck to your son! It can add stress but just control what you can and be flexible with what you can’t.

Best Wishes!

Thanks, Grace! I will pass this along to him!

Hi Mollie! I’m a sophomore in high school, so I haven’t taken the ACT yet, but I’ve taken several College Board tests including the PSAT and AP exams.
Last year, for my first AP exam, I had a very hard time getting permission to manage my blood sugar the way I needed. College Board is suuuuuper strict–no devices of any kind (including Dexcom receivers!), no food or drink, etc. In the end I was able to bring my Dex receiver, but it was still a huge hassle and a source of stress.
At the start of this year, I worked with my counselor to get a 504 plan. This plan allows me to check Dex in class, eat or drink whenever I need, and go to the nurse if my blood sugar goes super out of control. As part of my 504, we submitted an application to College Board asking for testing accommodations. These accommodations consist of permission to eat/drink, permission to carry device (for Dex), and stop-the-clock breaks. They’ve been really helpful. It’s much easier to focus on testing when I don’t have to worry about my blood sugar interfering with my performance. I was really reluctant to get a 504 because I don’t like asking for “special treatment”, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.

Hi Mollie. I echo what bookwormnerd13 said. As a school nurse and a mother of a high school sophomore with T1D, I highly recommend getting a 504 plan at your high school and applying for accommodations to the College Board and ACT (different testing organizations–need different applications). College Board and ACT are picky about the wording (request “extra breaks,” “extended breaks,” and “breaks as need” on SAT and “stop the clock breaks within sections” on ACT–your school counselor should know). A good resource that includes information about 504s and standardized testing is the “JDRF School Advisory Toolkit for Familes”–just contact your local JDRF chapter and ask them to send you a free copy. Also down the road, when your son starts college, he should contact the disabilities office on campus to get testing accommodations (504s do not carry over after high school graduation)–he may never use them, but better to have in place before a bad test score comes up due to out-of-range BGs. Also I don’t think of academic accommodations as “special treatment”–they simply make the playing field level so that people with T1D are not put at a disadvantage or penalized because they need to manage a chronic health problem on an ongoing basis.

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Thanks so much, Abby. Your comment has been very helpful.

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Thank you, Deborah! I’ve gotten the ball rolling on this so hopefully it will work for us. The problem is my son doesn’t think he needs any special accommodations and doesn’t want to be treated differently. But I know the importance of a good ACT score and I want him to have the best possible testing experience.

I appreciate the info about college as well. This is all new to us and I can’t even fathom him going to college, but I know it will be here before we know it.

Hi there,
I am an 11th grader diagnosed with t1d in the 8th grade. I have now taken the ACT twice and will be taking the SAT next month. So i can’t suggest or say anything about the SAT but for the ACT i can. First plan you need to have is make sure you get a 504 plan ASAP with your school! It will help not only for the big tests but also for school in general! On the 504 ask for extended time, being allowed to eat and drink whenever needed, bathroom breaks whenever, and being allowed to walk out of class to nurse whenever! I can tell my experience with these last two ACTs they can not stop the clock unfortunately, but by having the 504 they will give you extended time which means you get time and a half which helped me a lot. Also with dexcom and a 504 i am allowed to take the ACT at my own school in a private room(usually in the guidance office) that is also very nice because you won’t have to wait any longer for everyone to finish when your all alone in your test room, so once you finish you are allowed to leave instead of being in a room with multiple kids having to wait for everyone to finish(because they will not release everyone until everyone is done testing) just in general it helps a lot to get a 504 before taking the test also if you are applying for accommodations in general you have to do it about a month before(it’s easier to go through your school for them) and it will take about a month to get approved!! Hope this helps

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Hey Mollie. I agree with Becca. Currently I am a junior at UNCW so I have gone through the testing and everything. It’s always good to have your accommodations in place, however make sure that wherever your son is testing that he reminds his test administrators who will be present so there is no confusion.

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Thanks, guys! I am working on this and your suggestions are very helpful.

Hi. I have two type 1 kids. I asked for special accommodations and with both they were able to take their tests in a separate room. (kinda weird but that’s what was suggested by the board). They were allowed to test their numbers and correct or eat/drink whatever was necessary all without interrupting others. Time was the same tho. Unnecessary to request additional time. They both took ACT & SAT numerous times with similar accommodations each time with no issues at all.
Good luck :slight_smile:

Just to update, we were able to get Special Testing Accommodations for ACT for Jules and are now working on the same for PSAT and SAT. I am grateful for a dedicated guidance counselor who helped us throughout this process. Please know that if you are T1 or your child is, the effort to get this done is so worth it. Our kids deserve this. I appreciate everyone’s replies. Blessing to you all!