The school year can be a bit stressful for parents of T1D kids. After all, you’re the one to manage your child’s diabetes while traveling during summer vacation. You’re on top of it during holiday breaks throughout the year. It’s understandable to worry when it’s time to turn over some of that responsibility to your child and their school.
Let’s talk through some options and steps you can take to make managing diabetes this school year a breeze!
Working With School Staff To Manage Your Child’s Type One Diabetes
One of the easiest steps to help manage your child’s diabetic lows is ensuring the school nurse is fully stocked on low blood sugar supplies.
Knowing what the nurse has to treat hypoglycemia can provide you some peace of mind when sending their kiddos off to school. It’s important to talk with the school nurse and set up a plan for your child and their needs. Some schools already have procedures in place to help diabetic students monitor their blood sugar, so it is definitely worth the discussion to make sure you’re on the same page.
Ensure your child’s nurse and teachers spot the signs of low blood sugar. You might suggest posting a simple list of common symptoms, like the one below, for each classroom.
Common symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- Dizziness and shakiness
- Increased heart rate
- Pale skin
- Inability to concentrate
- Tingling and numbness in lips, cheeks, or tongue
The American Diabetes Association also has a comprehensive Diabetes Medical Management Plan that has everything you need to share with your child’s school nurse. This fillable form includes demographic information on your child, a necessary supplies list (to be provided by the parent), details on the self-management skill level of your child, a glucose monitoring plan and more. It’s everything you need to ensure your school is well informed on your child’s particular needs.
There’s a lot that goes into ensuring the nurse has everything your child needs, but one excellent place to start is to find out whether or not the school nurse has the right glucose products on hand. For example, Transcend glucose gels will help them combat your child’s lows efficiently and quickly.
Testing and monitoring blood sugar
Practice at home with your child to ensure they know how to properly test their blood sugar during the day at school. Again, if necessary, this is something a school nurse can help with. Children with Type 1 diabetes may not always feel up to par for specific school activities or even something as simple as taking a test.
Beyondtype1.org states, “As a student with Type 1 diabetes, your child is entitled to specific rights such as testing blood sugar and treating it during school. That means if your child is not ‘in range,’ he or she also has the right to schedule [school work] at another time.” Make sure your child’s school is aware of this and is equipped to provide help with blood sugar monitoring, should your child need assistance.
Field trips and extracurricular activities
Are you worried that your child will not be able to enjoy school activities and field trip outings because of their type one diabetes? You shouldn’t be! The American Diabetes Association’s “Safe at School®” campaign was created to ensure that children with diabetes can safely enjoy the same activities as their classmates.
According to their website, “federal law gives students the right to receive the diabetes care they need to be safe and participate in school activities just like any other child. Schools should provide the following:
- Trained staff to monitor blood sugar (blood glucose) levels and administer insulin and glucagon
- Trained staff to provide diabetes care during field trips, extracurricular events[,] and all school-sponsored activities
- Capable students [are] permitted to self-manage their diabetes anytime, anywhere”
Your child’s school should not require you to be present for your child to receive diabetes care, nor should they prevent your child from participating in sports, field trips, and other school-wide activities.
Map out a plan with your child and their teacher, coach, and/or any other adult supervisor for extracurriculars. Make sure they have access to your child’s hypoglycemia kit and also have your contact information on hand in case of emergencies.
Eating snacks in class
Have a plan on the days your child is not feeling well. Call the school and opt for virtual learning at home on the computer if possible. In today’s remote world, most schools will allow children to learn from home if they feel unwell, regardless of the reason.
Does your child need to snack frequently to stay in a good blood sugar range? Some schools prohibit snacking in class to avoid messes, bugs, and/or distractions. However, this rule can be adjusted when your child’s health is involved.
Approach your child’s school with their health history and diabetes diagnosis, and make them aware that your child will need to bring certain food items into class to prevent their blood sugar from dropping. Inform your child that their snacks should not distract them or other students from doing their work and that their food is meant only to keep their blood sugar levels from spiking or dropping.
It would be helpful to include general advice that users can then approach their school with regarding some of the school guidelines that need to be flexible for diabetic students.
School Checklist for Diabetic Students
Part of your child’s success in school results from how well their diabetes is managed. Sending your kid off with a well-stocked and diversified low blood sugar kit as well as an emergency kit is a great way to help ensure success while at school.
Here is a helpful school checklist of items to send your T1D kiddos off with:
- Medical identification (diabetes tag or bracelet)
- Plenty of their favorite Transcend Glucose Gels
- Blood glucose meter
- Numbing cream
- Bandaids/medical tape
- Alcohol swabs
- Test strips
- A location in mind to go when they’re feeling sick (such as the school nurse’s office)
The Glucose Gels will raise their blood sugar quickly and efficiently without causing them to crash shortly after. Having these other items in their “low kit” can help them to manage lows before they become severe and require medical attention.
Back-to-school time can be intimidating for both type ones and their parents. If you’re still feeling antsy about your child going back to school this season while managing their diabetes, remember that any school that receives federal funding—public, charter, private, and parochial schools, and postsecondary institutions—or any facility considered open to the public must reasonably accommodate the special needs of students with diabetes. (DiabetesJournals.org)
Keep Your T1D Child Healthy With a Diabetes Care Plan for School
At Transcend, we’re dedicated to making this time of year less stressful by providing the solution to hypoglycemia. We can’t prevent lows from occurring, but we can provide a product strictly designed for these moments!
Make sure your child and school are properly stocked on Transcend and fully informed of what to do in case of an unexpected low.
Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help facilitate this process, and be sure to check out our blog posts to stay up to date on new products, helpful advice, and ways to help your little T1D warrior have the best year possible!