Caring for Diabetes at School

Information for parents of children with diabetes.

By Amy Zerello

Children can become easily frustrated by the challenges diabetes creates at school. You can help alleviate this aggravation by educating them about the condition, and developing a comprehensive care plan. A team approach is key to managing diabetes at school. Principals, administrators, teachers, coaches, bus drivers, and lunchroom staff will all play a part in providing your child a medically safe learning environment. Because the school nurse will be responsible for educating the personnel, it is important you coordinate your expectations with him or her. The best way to do this is through a series of written plans. The National Diabetes Education Program suggests the following:

     

  • 1.

    Diabetes Medical Management Plan

    You will work with your personal diabetes management team to draft this plan for each new school year. Besides emergency contacts, this document includes specifics relating to your child’s blood glucose levels, medications, and special circumstance considerations. Print a form for your physician here.

  • 2.

    Quick Reference Emergency Plan

    This form details what should be done in the event your child shows symptoms of low or high blood sugar. Everyone caring for your child should be given a copy.

  • 3.

    Education Plan

    Developed by the school, this document details the accommodations you can expect will be made available to the student with diabetes. You can request to meet with the persons responsible for drafting this plan — which is also referred to as the Section 504 plan or the Individualized Education Program.

  • 4.

    Individual Health Plan

    This plan provides basic instructions for school personnel and staff. It is created by your child’s school nurse. You will need to provide the school with all supplies and equipment required by these plans. You can get more information about the Diabetes Medical Management and Section 504 plans — and see examples of them — by visiting the American Diabetes Association website.

    Familiarizing yourself with your state and/or school district’s staff training standards is also worthwhile. Information on state-specific organizations is available at the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: Select your state and browse a comprehensive listing of disability organizations, parent organizations, state agencies and other miscellaneous offices.

More ways to empower your children when diabetes strikes.

Sources: American Diabetes Association, National Diabetes Education Program, National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities