If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School with Diabetes - The Before School Meeting

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?
So far this has kicked off every year to a good start. Things are never 100% sorted after this meeting.  And let's face it, if you are a caretaker you know these are just the highlights when it comes to diabetes management. But it is a start!

Have a great school year everyone!

Stay tuned. Up Next on the Blog: Directives for medical management at school and "lock down" boxes.

1 comment:

  1. The American Diabetes Association has a terrific legal advocacy project which parents may use without cost. Calling the local ADA office will get one in touch and the attorneys and former school people who work at this site are topnotch. They do not litigate first, rather they inform, negotiate and finally take legal action only if needed. While I realize you are not in the US, but if it is necessary, and you are int he US, it is a great service.