The first day of school will be here before you know it. If your child has type 1 diabetes, there should be a few extra items on your back to school checklist to make sure that your child and their school are ready for the year ahead.
Here are a few important tips for an easy adjustment back to school:
1. Make a Diabetes Management Plan
Your child’s Diabetes Management Plan is an essential tool. Work with your doctor to draft a plan containing all important information concerning your child’s diabetes care. Include all medication details, symptoms of low blood sugar, target blood sugar range, and other important details those caring for your child should know.
2. Connect with the school nurse and other staff
Provide a copy of your child’s Diabetes Management Plan to the school nurse, administration, and all of your child’s teachers, coaches, and other supervising adults. If your child’s school does not have a full time nurse, figure out which staff members are best equipped to help if the nurse is not present.
All your child’s teachers should be aware of symptoms of low blood sugar, what your child needs to do to manage their blood sugar, and what help your child will need with those steps, if any.
In addition, your child should wear a medical notification bracelet or necklace that indicates their diabetes diagnosis. This guarantees that even substitutes or other rotating staff will be aware of your child’s condition in case of an emergency.
If needed, consider creating a 504 plan. A 504 plan is an official document that details the exact responsibilities of the school and ensures that your child has the same opportunities as all other students.
3. Pack their backpack with the essentials
Make sure your child has the tools they need for diabetes management during the school day. Build a compact kit full of testing supplies, antiseptic wipes, and backup insulin, as well as glucose tablets or other fast-acting snacks for raising blood sugar.
4. Get your child involved (as age appropriate)
As your child gets older, they should take on more responsibility for their diabetes care. Depending on the age of your child, help them identify their symptoms of low blood sugar. When your child has a greater understanding and more responsibility in their own care, they will have more confidence in the face of adversity at school and beyond.
Give your child the foundation they need to succeed in the New Year
With careful preparation, you can ensure that your child gets the most out of their school days, minimizing the stress from managing their diabetes.