From Greenville, South Carolina, USA:
My 18 year old son, who developed type 1 diabetes when he was 18 months old, will be entering college in the fall. How do I go about informing his professors about his diabetes? How much information?
I think that his approach to informing instructors at school should be similar to the approach that he likely took in high school, and it depends a lot on his desire for some privacy. I do not think that "everyone" need know about his diabetes. He needs to figure out the important people who will need to know. Certainly, if he is on one the athletic teams or is taking physical education classes, those instructors should be aware. He should wear some type of medical identification products. His roommates should be informed and, if at all possible, he should room with someone who knows him and can help in an urgent situation. If that is not possible, his roommate should be advised and forewarned about low glucose reactions. The housing people should know about your son's special needs. If not routine, he should be allowed to have a refrigerator in his room to store his unopened vials of insulin and his Glucagon Emergency Kit.
Your son's activity and schedule will likely change -- perhaps with walking to classes -- providing different activities and different times (for example, a nighttime lab that may need to walk to). Your son needs to be cautioned about party life at college and that alcohol can seriously affect his glucose readings. (Alcohol can often lower blood glucose.) So, depending on his current regimen of insulin, he may need to be on a more flexible system of multiple daily injections as a prelude to an insulin pump.
College is an exciting time that allows for intellectual, social, and personal growth. Hopefully your family has laid a solid foundation, not just in diabetes management, that prepares your son to succeed.
Original posting 3 Jun 2001
Posted to School and Daycare
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:22
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