MaribelType 1 Diabetes is difficult to manage at any age, but 13-year-old Maribel was having a particularly hard time. Her condition became even more complicated as she battled depression, resulting in a significant impact on her ability to attend school and focus on completing her work. Over the course of one year, Maribel was hospitalized eight times and had more than 40 doctor visits due to her inability to successfully manage her diabetes. Maribel’s school refused to accommodate her medical needs during the school day and would not evaluate her for an IEP or 504 plan, even telling her that she must stay home and take online classes. She fell behind in her work and lost faith in herself, causing her grades to plummet. The school district filed truancy charges in court against Maribel instead of following the health plan proposed by her doctor. This stress made her diabetes even more difficult to manage. On the advice of her physician, Maribel and her family met with an attorney from the ABLE Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC). An attorney was assigned to Maribel’s case and represented the family in a truancy hearing, where they successfully had the truancy action dismissed. In addition, the Court strongly urged the school district to provide appropriate support and accommodations to Maribel to allow her to fully and safely participate in the school setting.

The advocacy provided on her behalf by the MLPC allowed Maribel to return to school with extra tutoring to make up her missed work, manage her diabetes during the school day, and socialize with her peers.