School starts next week!
All teachers and nurses are back to my son's school today. That does not give me much time to connect with them and my son's newly assigned teacher to give them the Type 1 highlights before school starts.
Anticipating this, I sent an email to the nurses last week requesting a meeting with them and my son's home room teacher. In some cases you may have to be persistent and follow up. It is not that they do not want to meet with you, but they have many meetings in those days and are quite busy. Never be afraid to follow up or call to set a time.
I use this meeting to start the year off with open communication. It is informative, but it is equally important to enforce the message that I want to work with them and make their life easy so they can focus on the job of teaching.
For the nurses, we review all medication doses, snack timings, blood sugar checks and emergency protocols among other things. It is also important to note that my son is in the 3rd grade. If you have a high school student, the student will play a bigger role in their care. However, it is still good to request a meeting before school starts - particularly if diagnosis is new, or you are at a new school.
When meeting with the teacher, I suggest that a school nurse also join. At that time I review the basics of what Type 1 is, and how we treat it. Having the nurse there also helps open the dialogue for how they may manage certain situations with the teacher. Based on your experience, you may have ideas or suggestions for them, so do not be afraid to share your thoughts.
I typically use a template for this discussion. For example, this Guideline for Schools, I found from Australia is a good place to start. I do suggest to read everything word for word. I use various guidelines as an outline and I take the best of their information that is relevant for me here and include things specific to my son and his care.
Other guidelines to consider can be found at Diabetes UK or at this American site, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
There is a lot of information out there, and it can be overwhelming - for both you and the school staff. I use this information as a foundation and edit it when it comes to specifics for my son and his treatment. Every diabetic is different. For example, the way one child reacts to, or feels a low blood sugar is not the same as another. Be sure to highlight information specific to your diabetic.
It is also important to note that Type 1 school guidelines often include legal information specific to a country. It may not always be relevant for you, so update it to be in alignment with your location.
I typically focus on the following topics with the teacher and nurse:
- What is Diabetes, and the difference between Type 1 and Type 2
- Hypo and Hyper Glycemia. What is the difference, signs and why are they important?
- DKA (Ketoacidosis). It is likely that a DKA would be managed at home on a sick day, but I still explain what this means as it is critical, and could happen at school.
- How the teacher can help. (This is essentially, the expectations and support your child needs to function as a normal child in the classroom)
- Diabetic Emergencies
- Other topics. For example, depending on the age of the child, you may want to discuss discipline, what to do during tests, field trips or other things.
- Thank them. Thank them all for their time and encourage them to reach out to me if they have any questions.
- Note any action items. Do they need any more information or supplies from you? Do you need more information from them?