Growing up with diabetes was difficult, to say the least. In 1977, there was no support or guidance. Things have changed for the better but still lots of parents are unaware of what is available to them.
A big part of creating a safe environment for your child at school requires constant communication between you the concerned parent and the faculty at school including the teachers, nurse, school counselor, school psychologist, and administration at all levels.
Most school systems and states have systems in place help special needs children assimilate into school. You need to know about legislation 504, designed to help children who are not special education but need to have other physical issues addressed.
It will be necessary to develop and implement an individualized care plan, which includes training school staff as to your child’s specific needs while under their care. The treatment plan should support your child in self-care and management of their diabetes that has been recommended by their endocrinologist based on their appropriate age abilities.
It is important to include a written treatment plan for your child’s diabetic needs and help the school understand their role in continuing the work you and your child do at home. The treatment plan should be in conjunction with ALL school staff that will have daily involvement in your child’s education.
At a conference with all school staff members that will come in contact with your child, you should discuss the following:
- An overview of Type 1 Diabetes
- Roles and responsibilities of staff members
- Identify staff in the school who will serve as resources for others
- Determine the hierarchy of personnel expected to respond to emergency situations
- Determine the location of food kits
- Glucagon and other supplies in the school building
- Determine where to keep the plan
- How individual components will be shared with appropriate staff
- How training for staff with specific responsibilities will be done
- What is an emergency and what to do?
The School Nurse, using information gathered at the planning meeting, needs to prepare a written plan. Key staff and the child’s family must agree to the stratagem. The program may be incorporated into a “504” plan if this legislation will cover the child’s needs. All children attending public school and private schools gets partial funding under the 504 bill.
The school nurse handles arranging training for all school staff. The nurse needs to do the training with the assistance of the child’s parents and families health care team.
I hope this helps you and your child have a happy and healthy childhood.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.