Making it a better school year

back to school with diabetes

Going back to school is a daunting task at the best of times.

There are new clothes that they will outgrow next month.  School supplies will be purchased that will not quite match the requirements of their particular teacher but you won’t know that until after the first day. You will have to pay for three new pairs of running shoes because they can’t wear street shoes in the classroom and they can’t wear classroom shoes in the gym.

Those chores are stressful enough but if you have a child with diabetes, that is only the beginning of the worries. Next is what should I  put in their diabetes kit for school? Where will that kit be kept? What sort of information should we provide for the teacher this year? What can I expect the teachers to do? Will they inject my child? Will they monitor his testing? What if she goes low? Will anyone care? How will we cope with the bus? Will they give out treats in school? What will happen when my child is high/low during an exam?

The list of worries for a parent of a child with diabetes going to school goes on and on. I went through these stresses when my son was in preschool until his very last day of high school. It doesn’t get any easier.  The worries simply change.  In kindergarten you wonder who will help with her testing.  In their pre-teen years, you wonder if the teacher will help remind him to test.  In their teens, you worry that the teacher will think that she is playing with her phone when she tests.

Despite the fact that the worry is still there, I will tell you that the systems have improved.  We now have provinces (see British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador) with some sort of guidelines for dealing with children with diabetes entering their schools.  While there is often a need to specialize plans and meet with the school staff for your particular child’s needs, this is a huge leap forward from provinces with no basic guidelines.

In other provinces, where provincial policies have not yet been agreed upon, most boards offer individual policies that range from talking about diabetes as a medical condition in school to dealing with specific diabetes related issues.

For those living in the US, you don’t have to worry about state policies or even specific school board policies.  All children with diabetes are covered by the American Disabilities Act and as long as they are in a public school, should have a 504 plan in place dictating their diabetes care.

No matter where you live, it is important that you keep an open and honest dialogue going with your child’s school.  The majority of teachers in the education system are there because they truly care for kids.  This means that they want to help you in any way that they can.  Ensure that you have a meeting with staff to discuss your child’s needs, what you can do to help make things better and the role that you expect educators to play.  Remember that they are just people who will also be overwhelmed by diabetes care. Make things as simple as possible and check to see if your area has access to a nurse to assist with younger children’s care.

As your child grows and becomes more independent, it is important for teachers to understand the behaviours of high and low blood glucose levels.  You don’t want them suspecting that your child is drunk when they are low.  You also don’t want an altercation to take place because they are high.

Going back to school can be overwhelming.  Going back to school with a child with diabetes seem worse.  Make sure that you…

~plan ahead

~set meetings with school staff

~create 504 or individual care plans were available

~leave information for supply teachers

~be available for questions and concerns that will arise during the year

~enjoy another successful year for your child…the time really does go by in a flash!

 

For further reference see:

Going to school with diabetes 

Things to Remember when sending a Child With Diabetes To School

School Bill of Rights for Every Child with Diabetes

CDA Position statement on Students Living with Diabetes at School

JDRF Children with diabetes in school

Powered by Accuracy

Banner-DessiYou may have seen the ads…images of people like Dessi Zaharieva, Max Domi or James Coones and the caption “is Powered by Accuracy”.

You may have gotten the idea that these people are individuals with Type 1 diabetes who are using Bayer meters.

You would be right but this is not the usual meter campaign filled with superstars.  This is a campaign to showcase real people who are doing amazing things all while living with diabetes.

Max Domi is not exactly your average kid on the street.  He is an amazing young man who happens to live with diabetes and is headed to the NHL.  I also have heard that he is a very kind young man who takes time to share with other young children who are struggling to deal with diabetes.

Bayer isn’t just interested in his story however, they want to hear yours as well…and sharing it will help you to win FREE stuff.

Besides showcasing these people with diabetes who use their meters, Bayer is also running a contest that will last for a total of 12 weeks (they are at week 6 at the moment) with prizes drawn each week.  To enter you first simply provide your name and email address.  You of course have the option to continue to receive product information from them if you wish.

Because Bayer wants to showcase REAL people, they are giving you the chance to earn a second entry into the contest by sharing your story.  You can take the time to tell them about YOUR life with diabetes.  Prizes change each week and can be anything from Max Domi swag to Beats earphones to wireless speakers and more!

The Bayer Powered by Accuracy campaign has one other great feature…if you share their videos, they will donate to some of our favourite Canadian charities like The Diabetes Hope Foundation, Connected in Motion, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  All you have to do is click “share”  to share a video and these charities will receive a donation from Bayer!

Head over to www.poweredbyaccuracy.ca now to fill out your entry, share your story, and share a video so that you and some fabulous Canadian charities can enjoy some wonderful rewards!