School is in session! It's back to lunch packing, bus stops, drop-offs, and coordinating schedules.
For a child or teen with diabetes, the things they need to thrive at school look different. As a parent, guardian, or caregiver, you need to know how to partner with their school to help support your student in their day-to-day educational experience and as they participate in extracurricular activities.
The amount of assistance their school needs will vary depending on the student's age and duration of diabetes.
We have created a checklist to help you navigate the next steps in advocating for your student's support at school.
Checklist for Success
1.) Create A Diabetes Management Plan
Ask your child's doctor if they have written guidelines for diabetes care at school. This plan template designed by the American Diabetes Association (available in English & Spanish) is a great tool to start with. You can download the plan template here.
2.) Go Over The Management Plan With Your Child
If your child is of appropriate age, walk through the plan with them and review how their routine will look during the school day, where medications will be kept etc.
3.) Create An Information Packet For Staff
Here are some important things to include for their teachers and the school administrator:
- Include the diabetes management plan (see template above).
- Write a list of what your child's diabetes management routine will look like during the school day. Include information on what type of diabetes your child has and what it means.
- Educate all staff on signs and symptoms of low blood glucose, including how and when to use a glucagon replacement product provided by the parent, guardian, or caregiver.
- Identify where any needed medications, including insulin, will be maintained during the school day and how to access those medications.
- Explain what the plan will be for a high blood glucose level. Emphasize that your child must always have immediate access to their blood glucose meter and fast-acting carbohydrate source to treat low blood glucose.
- Communicate that snacks may be required at various times to maintain blood glucose levels.
4.) Schedule A Meeting With School Staff
Meet with the school nurse, teachers, and other school staff assisting your child in their diabetes care throughout the day and have a conversation about what kind of support your child needs. Bring copies of your information packet and give it to all staff to use as a reference for supporting the management of your child's condition. Ask if there are any forms that the school needs you to complete.
Request access to cafeteria menus and be notified of snack options so you can best help your child with any needed adjustments.
Advocating for your child can be uncomfortable, but remember, with the proper support in managing their condition, they can learn, grow, and be engaged in school while preventing diabetes-related conditions and hospitalizations. Not only does preparing the school staff help your child if a crisis arises, it also can take some burden off of your shoulders as more people will know how to help and encourage healthy management habits when you are not around.
Our Diabetes Management Program
For COPC patients aged 18 years and older, you can get self-management training from our team of Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
They provide evidence-based training to help individuals living with diabetes and pre-diabetes manage their condition safely. They help individuals discover goals based on ability and follow up on those goals to create optimal outcomes.
Talk with your COPC primary care provider about getting referred to our Diabetes Management Program!