My Goal for the school year.

Its that time of year again.  New clothes have been purchased because he has outgrown “every pair of jeans” he owns…or so he claims.  Fancy scientific calculators have been bought to allow him to handle high school math and a pile of note books sit on the floor in his room waiting to be taken to school in the next day or two. 

School begins tomorrow in full force.  The bus arrives at 8am and he will be gone until close to 4pm.  We are lucky.  There is no change of schools.  There will be minimal change in teachers.  My son goes to a small but growing school.  His class size will be tiny.  His teachers have had two years to begin to understand his diabetes needs. I am not in a panic. 

My son will be 15 tomorrow. He carries his meter, glucose and spare supplies in his back pack.  There will be new expectations for grade 10 however.  I am hoping that this will be the year that he hits the ground running rather than sits on the sidelines for the first semester until his mother loses it, gets involved with the teachers and he pulls up his socks for the rest of the year. 

This will also be the year that I expect that little bit more when it comes to diabetes care.  I will be sending all of his teachers a reminder letter regarding my son’s needs and specific care.  I will also be demanding that my son actually write all bg readings ON his exams before he does any.  I would recommend this to students of any age. 

As parents, we want our children to do their very best.  As parents of children with diabetes, we have seen first hand how cognitively impaired they can be by a high or low blood glucose reading.  If I know my son studied for an exam and failed BUT had a low bg level before taking the exam, I know that the exam did not measure his true knowledge.  I can then work with the teacher to see what we can do to get a more accurate result. 

My son is not keen on testing in class.  He does not like drawing attention to himself. I have been asking him to write his readings on tests since he was in elementary school. It has been hit and miss at best.  This year, its the one thing that I really want him to get into the habit of doing. Its my care goal for the year.  Not a huge one but a big one for him–and an important one for his academic career! 

Happy first day of school everyone!!

Back to School is changing

Today is the first day back to school for my boys.  One is starting his last year of school and my youngest is entering grade 9.  Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was sending my oldest to preschool and now I am looking into university costs.

There are some good things about time moving forward though.  This year I do not have the stress that I had last year.  I spent the end of last year getting my oldest son’s classes in order. This fall my son with diabetes is a year older, has most of the same teachers and the same principal.  The school now has two children with diabetes and hopefully much more awareness than they did one year ago.  

I will still be in touch with the school. I will offer a refresher course for those who heard me last year and education for those who might be new.  My son has his phone and alarms put back on his pump.  I will hope that a new year will mean a new adherence to those alarms and more information for Mom (but I am not holding my breath!) 

Its not just in our own world that we are seeing changes. I used to dread this time of the year because of the many phone calls and emails that I would receive.  Families were struggling to get the support that they required for their children with diabetes in schools.  Mothers would call me in tears, frustrated by the lack of support. Today there are many more boards who have policies regarding the care of children with diabetes in their schools.  There are more provinces that are looking out for our children. There are more parents standing up and asking for schools to “get it” and more schools are!

Each year I speak about sending your children to school with diabetes.  Each year I prepare educators and parents.  As time as gone on, I am pleased to see that things are changing.  Parents are sending their children back to school with comprehensive diabetes care plans and the knowledge that they will be adhered to.  Educators are offering aids and assistance where they can. The transitions are smoother than they once were.

This has been a long road.  We still have many miles to travel to protect all children with diabetes in schools.  As someone who has been on this road for ten years now, believe me when I say that we have come a long way.  We have made changes and together, we will work to make many more.

Getting Ready for School

Back to school. I actually don’t like this time of year. I love the fall colors. I love new school clothes. I love new books and finding cool pens. I hate the high costs and the fact that my kids seem to have grown out of absolutely everything they owned in a period of two months. I hate that they need more and more costly supplies each year and the stuff I had from last year is passe. I hate schedules and getting up at a rigid time for school. I hate lunches, snacks and carb counts.

The thing I really hate is sending diabetes back to school. I have been lucky. I have a great school. I have a supportive staff and principal. I have educated them well but this year is different. I have educated new staff members before. I have made it well known that I will tolerate nothing less than the best of care for my child in school. It is what he receives at home and therefore it is a must at school. This year is different however because Liam will be in grade 7. He is older. He is doing more of his own care. He has begun to take charge of his diabetes. He can test on his own, figure out bolus, and decide what to do about highs. He will also be involved in more exams and other activities that will test his independence and his teacher’s knowledge of the disease.

We have an understanding with the principal that if Liam is too high or low, exams that will impact his grades will be rescheduled. I now have to ensure that his new teacher will follow this rule. I have to get him to understand how serious this disease is. I have to teach him to recognize when Liam is “off”. I hate doing this and I am in a supportive environment. It kills me when I hear from parents who don’t have this support.

I have to contact the principal to set up a meeting with him and Liam’s new teacher. We have to go over the rules and information. The school will see more new staff this year so we also have to set up a time for a staff in-service. I have to redo old information sheets that I haven’t had to worry about for 3 years. I have to fill up supply boxes. I don’t want to do it. If I don’t do any of these things will it make time slow down? I guess not. I should do this. I will get to it. I have another two weeks. I will do this. I will.