Each school reacts differently to children that need a little extra attention. And children with diabetes do need a little extra attention, especially when they are very young. If you are approaching your first school year with diabetes, here's a list of things you should do before school starts:
- Meet with the school principal and determine the school's specific policies regarding blood testing and access to emergency sugar. Some schools allow the children to test in the classroom, while others require them to test in the clinic.
- Find out the name of your child's teacher and make an appointment to see her at least one week before school starts. At that meeting, you should:
- Tell her that your child has diabetes.
- Briefly describe what it means to have diabetes. Both the ADA and the JDF have excellent booklets and pamphlets to assist you. Particularly good is the ADA publication, Caring for Children with Diabetes. It cover the basics about diabetes and, at only 14 pages, is short enough to read in about an hour.
- Tell her that your child must eat mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, and tell her at what time you expect the snacks to be eaten.
- Find out at what time your child will be having lunch so you can plan your insulin accordingly. Some kids have lunch at 11:00 while others have lunch at 12:45. That can make a big difference on insulin and morning snack makeup.
- Describe what happens when your child is hypoglycemic. Since every child reacts differently, tell her exactly what to look for and how to respond. You might want to provide a one-page instruction sheet.
- Give the teacher a supply of sugar and extra snack foods to keep in her desk in case they are needed. In some schools, you might have to keep these in the clinic.
- Impress upon the teacher in no uncertain terms that if she suspects that your child is having an insulin reaction that your child is not to be left alone. If your child must go to the clinic to perform a blood test, make sure the teacher understands that someone must go with your child.
- Meet with any other teacher that your child will see, including gym teachers, music teachers, art teachers and the librarian. Let them know that your child has diabetes and ask them to be on the lookout for an insulin reaction. This is especially important for gym teachers.
- An extra note for the gym teachers: Make sure that they know that your child should not exercise with a blood sugar over 240, since such a high sugar can indicate insufficient insulin and exercise can actually cause the blood sugar to rise. One parent reported that her child's gym teacher said that exercise lowered blood sugar and made a ketonic child run a mile!
Last Updated: Wednesday March 16, 2005 15:45:13
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