Sending any child off to school can be tough for a parent. You want to know that they’ll be safe even when you’re not around. If you’re the parent of a diabetic child, sending them to school can be an even more difficult feat. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure your diabetic child stays safe and healthy while at school.
- Before the school year starts, arrange a meeting with the school’s principle, nurse, and your child’s teacher(s) to develop a plan. This will not only make them aware of the situation, it will also allow you to develop a plan and determine who is responsible for doing certain things for your child. You should also be sure to cover how your child’s situation will be handled when their teacher is sick or away.
- Educate everyone involved about what diabetes is and how to handle it. Everyone responsible for caring for your child should know several things.
- Your contact information. Everyone should be able to reach you in case of an emergency or if they just have a question or concern about your child’s health.
- Information on what diabetes is and how you are specifically treating your child’s diabetes (extra meals, insulin shots, etc).
- Information on how to recognize a blood sugar crisis and what to do to treat it.
- If your child needs extra meals or snacks during the day, it’s your responsibility to provide them. Set up and area with your child’s teacher where you can leave snacks and other food. Be sure to check the stockpile regularly and refill supplies as needed. Don’t count on the teacher to inform you if you’re running low.
- Talk to your child. If your child has had diabetes for a while, they’re probably already aware of what that means. Whether they’ve been dealing with it for a while, or a newly diagnosed, you should make sure they understand that even at school, they’re not allowed to eat certain things. Teach them to recognize the warning signs of a problem and tell their teacher right away.
- Ask that the teacher inform the other students that your child has diabetes and what that means, in a respectful way. While you may not feel it is a good idea to point out your child’s differences, your child will be getting special treatment (frequently leaving class, extra meals) and the students may resent your child if they don’t know why. If the teacher doesn’t feel they can properly teach the subject, offer to prepare a lesson for them to present.
Dealing with a diabetic child’s needs is not easy. While the school is responsible for making special provisions for your child, you should not count on them to do everything. They have other children they are responsible and can only do so much. It is up to you to go the extra mile to make sure your child is properly cared for.