When fall arrives, it’s back-to-school time—and for some kids, it’s back to dealing
with diabetes in the classroom. These tips can help your student stay safe and healthy
Make a diabetes medical management plan. This is a written document prepared by you and your child’s healthcare team. It spells
out his or her treatment plan. It should include emergency contacts and instructions
for monitoring blood glucose and measuring insulin doses. Also information on taking
pills, eating meals, participating in exercise, and checking for ketones should be
part of the treatment plan. It should also explain exactly what to do in case of low
or high blood glucose. Make sure the school has a copy of this plan, testing supplies
for blood sugar and urinary ketones, and a glucagon emergency kit. The school may
also need to develop its own internal plan that is based on your healthcare team's
recommendations. All medicine and supplies should be clearly labeled with your child's
name as well as instructions.
Meet with school personnel. Review your child’s individual needs and make sure that he or she is able to follow
the medical management plan at school. Ask that the school nurse attend the meeting. If
school personnel are not familiar with diabetes, ask that the nurse do an inservice
for all employees. This includes administrators, teachers, and support staff. Discuss
the possibility of an individualized education plan, or IEP, for your child. Make
sure you understand your school's policies and emergency procedures related to diabetes.
Have your child wear a medical alert ID at all times. Also make sure your child always carries a fast-acting source of glucose and knows
how to use it. If your child is too young, make sure school personnel are educated
to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia. They also must be able to give appropriate
intervention when needed. Make sure the school has emergency contact information for
you and at least two other backup contacts if you are not available.
Be a positive advocate for your child. Local parent support groups through organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association,
can refer you to resources that protect your child's rights in the school system. Depending
on the severity of the diabetes, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act may be able to give additional support for your child's
medical and educational needs.