Type 1 Diabetes requires continuous monitoring, regardless of the patient’s environment. In previous blogs, we’ve discussed carrying an emergency bag and other methods for managing your diabetes when away from home. However, one area we did not discuss is what to do at school.
Monitoring Diabetes at School - Communication is Key
First and foremost, you cannot communicate enough with school staff including teachers, bus drivers, and health personnel about your child’s condition. Provide as much information as possible so they will know how to assist your child when the need arises.
A Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) should be completed and gone over with school administrators so everyone is on the same page. An example of this can be downloaded here.
This comprehensive and critical document should contain the following information:
- Blood sugar target and testing times
- Insulin schedule
- List of supplies
- Meal and snack plan
- What aspects your child can handle on their own vs. what they might need help with
- How to handle a low blood sugar or high blood sugar episode
ADA and IDEA
There are many laws that protect your diabetic child including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is a law that provides services to diabetic students. For more information about IDEA, click here. In addition, in a public school setting (or a private one that receives funding from the federal government), you are entitled to set up a Section 504 plan for your child.
This would require that the school make special accommodations for him or her including the following:
- Allowing him or her to use the restroom and use the water fountain when they need to
- Eating wherever and whenever necessary
- Allowing extra absences
- Scheduling exams at a time that will not cause your child to suffer from the hypo or hyperglycemia
- Ensuring that a trained diabetes care personnel member be present during sports, extracurricular activities, and field trips
If your child is not currently using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) (more on this in our previous blog “The 411 on CGM”) or an insulin pump, the beginning of school is a great time to look into these options, as these devices provide peace of mind for the parent, school staff member, and child alike.