Back to School with Diabetes
The end of summer is usually an exciting time of year for children as they prepare to go back to school.
For parents of children with diabetes, it can be a busy and stressful time. Parents are concerned about the safety and care of their children while they are at school, especially if they have a medical condition such as Type 1 diabetes. Coupled with all the everyday anticipation of changes in routines, new classmates, and teachers, this can be an overwhelming period time for children as well.
It is important that parents/guardians arrange a meeting with school personnel to provide information about their child's diabetes. The homeroom teacher, school secretary, principal, lunchroom helper, custodian, bus driver, physical education teacher, coaches, and others who are responsible for your child at school should be considered to be invited to this meeting. In collaboration with your healthcare team, arrange a phone call or meeting to to discuss your child's diabetes, and ensure that all completed medical forms required by the school are provided to the school administration at this time.
Keeping communication open between the school and the child's parents/guardian is one way to ease parental stress and ensure the child has a great year at school.
For additional information or resources for parents and teachers, please see the following websites:
Items to include in the discussion with school personnel:
- Explain what Type 1 diabetes is and how it affects your child.
- Discuss your child's daily schedule including times to test blood sugar levels and administer his/her insulin if needed.
- Arrange where they will test and administer insulin while at school.
- Emphasize the importance of regular meal and snack times and stress the importance of not missing or changing the times of these unless the parent is notified prior to the change.
- Emphasize your need to be informed of any changes in school routines (field trips and special events).
- Explain hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels); signs, symptoms, and treatment.
- Ensure that the treatments for low blood sugars are at school at all times and that your child has access to them.
- Explain the importance of your child's need for additional food for extra activity (for example, gym, track and field days, play days, and intramural sports) and the importance of allowing him/her to be able to have this.
- Provide instructions on when and how to contact parents/guardians.
- Arrange a communication system between home and school especially during your child's primary grades.
- Consider having a picture of your child and the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes posted in the staff room and office (if appropriate and adheres to school policy).
- Provide instruction on what to do in an emergency.
- If your child is transported by school bus, please ensure the bus driver is included in the education of your child's care plan, especially how to identify hypoglycemia and how & when to assist your child.