Summary: Here is a back-to-school checklist for parents of children with type 1 diabetes of tips, things to do, and items to pack in order to get ready for the new school year.
In the spring I shared my end of the school year checklist, but here is my to do list for the beginning of the school year.
Some of this has changed a little as Q has gotten older, added or changed devices, and moved up to middle school, but much remains the same.
Use this list as a starting point and tailor it to your child’s school, age, and what tools they use to manage their diabetes.
Tip: Send in supplies that expire after the end of the school year. Make a note on your calendar to swap out any supplies that expire during the year.
Tip: Double check glucagon dosage. Some time in grade school it might change from a half dose to a full dose.
Tip: When picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy, make sure that the expiration date is at least a year out or minimally the end of the school year. This is especially important for glucagon which can be expensive.
To Do: Refill prescriptions
When I refilled our glucagon I was surprised to find out that 3 glucagon kits had the same exact copay with our insurance as buying two.
I had our prescription for glucagon rewritten by the endocrinologist because I realized all of our kits were expiring. I needed one for home, one for the nurse’s office, and one for Q to carry in her supply bag everywhere she goes.
To Do: Fill out school forms
Our school district has us fill out an 8-page (EIGHT) diabetes medical management plan (DMMP). I think in order to cover all bases, they’ve gone a bit overboard with detail and redundancy. Plus I go through and make little changes to tailor it to Q’s diabetes management such as checking ketones at 300 mg/dL and not 250, to use the ketone meter not urine strips, to treat lows at 80 not 70.
The thing that gets me about this is that we all know that diabetes management is situational and I hate stating in black and white that this or that must always be done.
Make sure that any forms signed by your endochrinologist clearly state that the parents may make any adjustments to the care plan including insulin dosing. You don’t want to have to get a signed letter from your doctor every single time insulin to carb ratios or correction factors or basal rates change.
The American Diabetes Association website has a downloadable sample DMMP.
To Do: Review Your 504
Review the 504 plan to see if there are updates to be made or make an appointment to begin the 504 process. Be forward-thinking if your child is in 5th, 8th, or 12th grade and put items into the 504 now that may affect them during the next stage of school (accommodations for high stakes testing such as SAT or ACT, carrying a cell phone and being able to use it during the day for diabetes-related tasks including texting/calling parents, etc.). Reflect on what went well the previous year and what needs to be changed in the 504 to deal with any issues your child may have had.
To Do: Identify TDP
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that almost 10 staff members at my daughter’s school this year have undergone training to become a trained diabetes personnel (TDP). These staff members have been trained by the school district in basic diabetes care including the use of glucagon. Very reassuring.
To Do: Schedule an Appointment with Key Staff
Schedule an appointment with all staff that see your child during the day to touch upon 504 plan, describe symptoms of lows/highs, tell them who to call and when (nurse, parent, other TDP), reinforce notifying subs, show them glucagon.
To Do: Update Instruction Sheet
We have a 2-sided instruction sheet that we give to school staff each year. The main points of it remained unchanged, such as identifying and treating low blood sugars, using glucagon, identifying and treating high blood sugars, reminding that she has free and unrestricted access to water and the bathroom, and our phone numbers.
But each year I change the photo to a recent one (why do these kids have to grow up so fast?!) and change any relevant details.
To Pack: Classroom Low BG Kits
I use the same pencil boxes over and over each year for her low BG kits. I pack them with a couple of juice boxes, some peanut butter or cheese crackers, and glucose tablets or Smarties. I also fold a copies of the 2-page instruction sheet and place one in each box.
Determine how many locations your child will be in during the school day and if (s)he will need access to supplies. Remind teachers to contact you or the nurse when supplies need replenished.
See my post about our low BG kits.
To Pack: Supply Box For Office
Stock a supply box for nurse’s office including any supplies that your kid might need or run out of. Having a stocked supply box mean less likelihood of frantic phone calls because a pump site needs changed or their meter is dead. Label the box so that supplies aren’t used by other students with diabetes.
- Pump change supplies (3-5 changes) or insulin pen/MDI supplies
- CGM charger
- Batteries (meters, pump)
- Ketone meter and strips or ketone urine strips
- Back up meter
- Alcohol swabs
- Lancing device
I like to hand off the vial of insulin to make sure it gets put into the fridge instead of putting it in the supply box.
Read “Back-To-School With Diabetes,” which has lots of useful information and links.