Here are over a dozen articles about managing type 1 diabetes at school including information about 504 plans, working with school staff, school nurses, school lunches, medications and supplies, standardized testing, and more.
I know I say this every August, but where did the summer go? Seems like I was just lugging home all her diabetes supplies and making an End of the School Year Checklist. Last year we had uncharted territory as Q began middle school. With that came different logistics because she changed classes all day long, had PE every day (and they sometimes go off school grounds for PE), participated in before and after-school activities, and even rode the city bus.
I’m in the process of filling out the fourteen-page diabetes care plan (yes, I said fourteen!) that the district requires and getting all her medical paperwork in order. We made a few minor changes to her 504 plan last year, and I think we are all set on that front.
Not to mention that our school supply shopping list includes things like glucagon, juice boxes, and a back up of supplies to be kept in the nurse’s office.
And I want to reassure parents sending their little d-kid to preschool or kindergarten for the first time this fall that your kiddo is going to be just fine — you might shed a few tears that first day — but your kid is going to be alright.
If you are interested in more information than what’s here on the blog, there is an entire chapter in Kids First, Diabetes Second devoted to school. And, of course, the ADA (Safe at School) and JDRF (School Advisory Toolkit) have resources as well.
- 504 Plans and Testing
- Working with School Staff
- Supplies & Medications
- Tips for D-Kids
- Food and Celebrations
- Additional Resources
504 Plans and Testing
If you read only one post about diabetes at school, read this one. I include a list of the many things you might want to add to your child’s 504 plan and why. And if you are unsure if your child needs a 504 or if your school has said that a care plan is the same thing (it’s not!), I urge you to get a 504 started for your child. Right now. Before you have issues. It’s your child’s right, and because of their diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, he/she cannot be denied a 504. (And even private schools must adhere to the law if they receive even a dime of annual federal funding.)
Read 504 Plans (Must read! Lists lots of things to consider adding to your 504, plus links to great resources.)
Oh boy. Don’t even get me started on my feelings about standardized tests including the newly instituted PARCC. Because of the way things went down for us in fifth grade, I actually ended up opting Q out of the second round of testing. I personally feel classroom time is better spent. She did go ahead and take the PARCC each year in middle school, and I told her that she shouldn’t feel any pressure to perform.
All opinions aside, you can help set your child up for testing success by making sure that everyone is on the same page and by including “important tests” as an item addressed on the 504. And please note that this doesn’t just apply to tests like the PARCC. It also applies to any important test that the school will use as a placement or assessment and even applies to the SAT and ACT.
Read Standardized Tests
Working With School Staff
Hello New Teacher, My Kid Has Diabetes
This is a sample email to notify new teachers at the beginning of the school year about your child’s type 1 diabetes and highlight important aspects of the 504 plan.
This includes downloadable PDFs about Glucagon and “10 Things Teachers Should Know About Diabetes.”
We always had a pretty good relationship with Q’s grade school, but things broke down a little in fifth grade when we ran into a few issues that I felt could have been avoided or addressed better. I was glad to have a fresh start in middle school.
We have to put trust in the nurses and staff that take care of our children to make sure that they are kept safe each and every day. Mistakes happen…sometimes with serious consequences. I offer a list of suggestions on how you can help to minimize the potential for mistakes.
Just because Q is pretty self-sufficient in her diabetes care, I don’t want school staff to become complacent.
Read Maybe Not Always
Supplies & Medications
In past years we’ve had these kits stashed in a few different locations at school. In middle school, Q was all over the place and often going from the third floor to the first and back again, so I created one of these boxes for each classroom (minus the BG meter).
Without even realizing it, Q went from needing a half dose of glucagon to a full dose. Restocking for back-to-school is a good time to make sure that you are using the right dosage.
Read my tips on glucagon at school including how to train nurses and staff members using expired glucagon kits and an app that can help you keep track of expiration dates.
Read Glucagon Tips
I know this post is about what I did at the end of last year, but in addition to being about wrapping up each school year, it’s also a chance to reflect and look forward on what to do differently the next year.
Tips For D-Kids
There are two camps when it comes to educating classmates about diabetes.
Some parents want to educate all of their child’s classmates about diabetes. For younger grades, you can easily educate children by having a short show-and-tell, including reading an age-appropriate book about diabetes.
The other camp doesn’t want to bring even more attention to their child, thus making the other children think he or she is different right out of the starting gate.
Here are some things that you can put in place so that diabetes management goes a bit more smoothly during the school day including lunchtime, substitute teachers, lockdowns and severe weather, taking the bus, and field trips.
While some of this changed for us as Q became more independent, much of it stayed the same during middle school.
Food And Celebrations
Whether it’s because you are dealing with a food allergy, celiac, or need carb counted treats at school, here’s my tip on making sure you have something safe or appropriate for your child. Because we all know that somehow there is a celebration almost every single week! (Seriously, can we stop all this crappy junk food at school?!)
Read Cupcake Stash
And Many More…
Those were just a selection of the posts here on D-Mom Blog about diabetes at school. You can click these links to look for specific topics:
ADA Read the Safe at School: Safety and Fairness for Children with Diabetes information and learn about your legal rights for your child at school.
JDRF You can request a School Advisory Toolkit and can also ask that a mentor contact you.
Children With Diabetes Sample 504 plans by age that you can download.
Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.