Type 1 Diabetics First School Year
The first year of school is approaching for your child. Going to school is such a joyous milestone for you and your child. And for the diabetic family it can also become very overwhelming for the parents. As a parent you have been in control over all the blood sugars, injections, food intake, and what to do during exercise (recess). Now it is time to start school, kindergarten is right around the corner and what do you need to do? To start you need to talk to your diabetic educator and gather information and orders from the doctor.
First you want orders from the endocrinologist. Those orders will come need to go to the school nurse about 2 weeks before school starts. Then you will meet the school nurse. At that time she will review the orders and talk to you about your child. This helps the nurse make a care plan (this will be the same for what you do for your child at home-our book can help keep all of this information sorted easily to discuss with the nurse) for your diabetic. The next meeting will be with the teachers and nurse. Before this meeting you will want to make individual care packages for each teacher. Things to have in this package is a description of your childs hypoglycemia and rescue medications like juice or smartees.
This is to ensure when your child has a low blood sugar during class then the teacher can treat in the class room if needed. Also your child should have some kind of sugar in his or her pocket and know what to do with it. Sometimes walking to the nurse is not appropriate especially with an extreme low blood sugar. Also specify that your child is never to walk to the school nurse unattended with a low or high blood sugar. The child needs accompaniment by another adult, not another student.
Next is important to know what your services your school[provides. Some schools have a full-time nurses or a health aid directed by a nurse. Some aids are able to give shots and some are not able to give shots (this will depend on the state and city in which you live). Most schools will have a diabetic plan in place at the beginning of each school year to help guide your childs care. If you child will at school over the lunch hour you will need to decide if your type 1 diabetic will eat sack lunch or school lunch. If you decide on the school lunch the school can provide the carbohydrate count for the meals served. With sack lunches you should send the carbohydrate count with lunch. Writing on a plastic sandwich bag or disposable container (I know it is not green to use disposable but very easy for carb counting) for each object in the lunch. Assigning carbohydrate counts on each food piece allows your child some flexibility with what he or she will eat.
Finally, there is the 504 plan. A 504 plan is a legal plan put in place for diabetics (or other medical reasons). As a parent of a type 1 diabetic it is your right to use a 504 plan for the treatment of you diabetic child during tests, standardized tests, during class period so they are not unfairly treated when it comes to school work and missing class time. 504 plans are not always necessary during the first few years of elementary school. As your child progresses through school this may become more important with standardized testing. The school sets up the 504 plan and you will meet with the school consoler, nurse, and any teachers you deem important. During this meeting you will decide what incluison criteria and all party to the meeting will agree upon the academic plan.
All of this feels like more than enough to remember for the first year of school. Once you do this it gets easier (Diabetics will go through the same process each year). Most schools have had a type 1 diabetic before and will navigate you through this process. If you hare having issues with the school enlist your diabetic educator or endocrinologist for help. They will either help you directly or get the right person to help you with the school. Once all of the medical details straightened out, then as a parent you can enjoy sending your child to kindergarten for the first and last time. Those milestones are precious.