Written for Diabetes1 by Michelle Alford
Children with diabetes face more challenges entering a new school year than their peers. Use the following tips to help your kids start the new school year with confidence while protecting their health.
Work with your child and his or her doctor to create a Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP). When developing this plan, it’s important to understand which parts of his or her diabetes management your child can manage on his or her own and which parts he or she will need to seek help with. Consider all possible problems your child may encounter and discuss how to handle each of these. Being prepared will give both you and your child confidence that he or she will be able to handle any potential emergency.
As part of your child’s DMMP, you should create a 504 plan with your child’s school that outlines your child’s needs and how his or her diabetes management will be handled at the school. The American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School initiative details three ways that schools should be prepared for children with diabetes:
- All school staff members responsible for the health of a child with diabetes—such as the child’s teachers, playground monitors, and bus driver—should be trained with a basic knowledge of diabetes care and who should be contacted in case of an emergency.
- The school nurse should supervise the child’s diabetes management and be aided by volunteers from the school’s staff who are fully trained in both routine and emergency diabetes care.
- Children with the ability to self-manage their diabetes should be allowed to do so at any point necessary during school or school-related activities.
By preparing your child’s teachers and administrators for your child’s needs, you can feel secure in the knowledge that his or her health requirements will be understood and steps will be taken to keep him or her safe.
Assemble a kit of diabetes supplies. This kit should include everything your child may need for diabetes management. Make sure to include:
- Twice the medication you expect your child to need. This way your child will still be prepared if he or she needs more medication than expected or something happens to some of his or her medication.
- All testing supplies, including extra testing strips and batteries.
- A glucose snack, glucose tablets, or glucose gels in case of low blood sugar. Make sure it isn’t a snack that your child is likely to eat even if not experiencing low blood sugar; you don’t want your child to eat the snack and then not have it available in case of a real emergency.
- A water bottle that your child can refill and drink from during classes.
Develop a habit with your child of checking the kit every morning to make sure that it contains all necessary supplies and is included in his or her backpack.
After you’ve prepared for any eventuality, relax. Stressing too much isn’t healthy regardless of whether or not you have diabetes. Have confidence in your child and teach him or her to have confidence in his or herself.
Do you have any of your own suggestions? Share them in the Diabetes1 forums.
Photo: Woodley Wonder Works