It has been over 15 years since I was first asked to take part in discussions surrounding the issue of children with diabetes in schools. I still speak publicly on the issue. I still assist parents but I honestly thought that after 15 years, more insulin pumps and other awareness activities that things would be vastly improved–that all children would be safe in school.
Things have changed. Years ago, very few school had policies in place protecting our children with diabetes in schools. Very few educators knew their roles and parents struggled as well.
Today there are provinces that have stepped up to the plate offering guidelines and even legislation surrounding this issue. Sadly there is still a long way to go. There are still parents who do not feel safe sending their children to public schools.
I once looked to the US as a standard to achieve. The rights of their children with diabetes are protected under the American Disabilities Act. That had to count for something! A lawyer friend of mine reminded me that this was a just a law. Enforcing it could often be just as frustrating and overwhelming for families in the US as it was for families here in Canada.
The moral? Keep fighting. Keep educating, Continue helping and that is what I am doing.
Many years ago, just after a change in rulings on the Disability Tax Credit, I met a wonderful lady. She worked for what was then called the Canadian Diabetes Association. She was there first formal advocacy employee.
Our sons were of similar age. She listened to our struggles and empathized. Over the years we have worked together on certain projects and simply managed to touch base now and then to see who the other’s family is faring. The yesterday she sent me an email asking for help.
She too is still working on the national issue of safety for children with diabetes in schools. There are still many families who are fearful of sending their child with diabetes to school. There are other families that send their children to school but are constantly at odds with the system to achieve optimal care for their children.
This saddens me greatly. If you are one of those families that are still having issues with your child with diabetes in school, please comment or message me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your email address. I will pass your information along to my friend and she will contact you. Hopefully together we will be able to highlight the problems and finally work towards a resolution to this issue for everyone.