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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month (NDAM). Please take some time to check out our T1D topics. We encourage you to share this information on your social media to help educate and raise awareness about Type 1 Diabetes.

Anyone who has been touched by Type 1 Diabetes - whether it be a personal diagnosis, a child, a family member or friend - knows the disease has many downsides, or “lows” (pun intended). All too often, it's hard to flip the script and see the bright side of any chronic illness, but... there ARE perks! And, after everything T1D throws at you, there is no question you should take full advantage!

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There are quite a few instances where T1Ds get the sweeter end of the deal! A lot of people aren't fans of the 'disabled' label, but it is a reality that can work in your favour, so don't be shy. Cash in whenever you can... you deserve it!!


Some of the available subsidies and programs were detailed earlier this month on the Government Funding Programs site, but there's a lot more to explore...


Health Care Perks

  • Health care services are usually free for kids, but that tends to change at the age of majority. However, with T1D, many services remain available at no cost, like the optometrist or a dietitian.


Food/Drink 'Smuggling'

There are still some places or people that can prevent you from bringing food or juice with you. Most of the time, just informing people that you have Type 1 Diabetes is all you need to do to receive this 'special treatment'. Sometimes, you may have to show a letter from your doctor, or flash your medical bracelet, prescription, pump to overrule the rules. Places that have typically banned 'outside food and drink' include:

  • Movie theatres

  • Concert / Theatre / Event Venues

  • Classrooms

  • Business meetings

  • Retail stores

  • Airports

  • School Exams

  • Church


School Advantages

  • Other than personal choice, there is NO reason for primary, elementary, high school, college or university kids to have to miss class time so that they can test, bolus and/or eat when required. There is currently no formal policy in place for kids in school in Ontario, but a fantastic resource is available to help parents set their T1D kids up for success at school: Diabetes at School; and, as of September 1, 2018, diabetes will be included in the required list for care plans.

  • While it is true that teachers often frown upon technology in the classroom, T1Ds are always allowed to keep their technology on their person (pumps, meters, CGMs, etc…). With the development of Nightscout and Dexcom's G5 and G6, many young T1Ds carry cell phones as a component of their management strategy. Some teachers will even join in and connect to monitor your child remotely, like you, to help maintain consistency and relieve stress. Be warned, the response to / support of T1D technology varies, so be sure to advocate for yourself and your child!

  • As mentioned before, food and drink should always be allowed, in the event of a low. Many kids in primary school are designated an 'emergency drawer' in their classroom to store all their T1D supplies, treatments and snacks. It's recommended that parents provide emergency kits for kids to their kids' teacher and front office. The Centre has such kits available for $25.

  • Registering for accommodations in college or university can afford you such perks as early registration for classes, additional time to write exams, extended time in between exams, access to course content, allowances to record lectures and other benefits that make academic life easier. Check with your school's Accommodation Support office for more information. These same accommodations should also be available in high schools. Check with your school administrator.

  • For Canadian residents, the Diabetes Hope Foundation recognizes that young people living with diabetes must have an unwavering commitment to managing their health

  • For US residents, the Diabetes Scholars Foundation awards scholarships to high school seniors who have high academic performance, are actively involved in their community and the diabetes community. Diabetes Scholars Foundation scholarships are not based on financial need and are due in April each year.

  • Other scholarships for US and Canadian incoming students can be found here, or you can simply search for Type 1 Diabetes or disability scholarships.


Air Travel

  • An unlimited amount of T1D specific supplies of any kind are permitted when traveling, including bottled water and food snacks. New procedures have been implemented in recent months, so be sure to declare any and all food-related items to save you from spending a lot of unnecessary time at security.

  • While most people are not allowed to bring syringes and liquids over 100mL through security screening, TSA (USA and Canada) makes an exception for with Type 1 Diabetes. You must still declare all such items.

  • T1Ds can request special screening or security 'pat-down' to avoid any potential for damage to pumps or CGM functionality through the body scanner or x-ray machines.

  • Depending on the airline’s rules and regulations, priority boarding may be granted to people with diabetes, especially if they are experiencing any kind of complication. 

  • Many national parks allow those who identify with a “disability” to enter for free. You can even apply for an Access Pass in the US for free lifetime admittance - click here for details.

  • Be aware of time zone changes and schedule your meals and medications accordingly. Make sure to change the time on your pumps, meters and receivers to match the time zone you're in.


Tax Breaks

  • People with Type 1 Diabetes may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) if they meet the eligibility criteria for receiving a life-sustaining therapy. The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities (including Type 1 Diabetes) or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they have to pay.

  • The Diabetes Advocacy website has proven to be a valuable resource for detailed information about what the DTC is and exactly how to apply. It provides a template for the application, so you don't have to recreate the wheel when justifying the 14 hours of 'effects and duration of impairment'.

  • With a DTC certificate, you can also qualify for a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), a long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future. If you have an RDSP, you may also be eligible for grants and bonds to help with your long-term savings.


Utility Discounts

  • Some utility companies have provided discounts on energy bills to those with qualifying medical needs and medical devices. Be sure to check with each individual company you buy services from.


Front of the Line

  • Depending on the venue, T1Ds can often move to the front of the line, or a separate “medical” screening line at concerts, events and amusement parks.

  • At Canada's Wonderland, 'Boarding Passes' are available that provides a boarding or “ride” time equal to the anticipated wait time for a particular ride at the Alternate Access Entrance (usually a ride’s exit). Guests can then choose to rest comfortably away from the queue area, visit a shop, see a show, or play a game until their boarding time.

  • At a variety of Disney Parks, people with Type 1 Diabetes can take advantage of the Disability Access Service (DAS) or Guest Assistance card, allowing the T1 and up to 6 friends or family members the ability to secure ride times by checking in at the ride and being given a return time so you don't have to wait in line.

  • Universal's version is called an Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP), which is similar to Disney's DAS pass that allows up to 6 people access to the accommodations per T1.


Get Involved

Become a part of the efforts to raise awareness and network in the world of T1D.

  • The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre has a few committees that are always looking for new members and also hosts a bunch of fun and exciting events throughout the year that you can be a part of... vist the EVENTS page for more information.

  • The JDRF hosts many events that you can be a part of, such as the Promise Ball, Walk-to-Cure-Diabetes, Blue Jays PLAY campaign, and various other concerts and events throughout the year.


If you are aware of any additional perks of T1D that aren't listed here, please send us a quick note to fill us in using the Contact Us page.

DISCLAIMER: You are strongly encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this site, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. PLEASE DO NOT DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS SITE.

Nothing is more impactful than the lived experience. Please send us your stories and photos for us to share throughout the month using the form, below or by sending us an email to If you'd like to be a part of the O&E movement, please let us know by using the form, below, to tell us where your passion lies, what your interests are, who you're connected to and how you can help.

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