Monday, July 26, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

A few posts back I asked for tips to help with sending your child back to school with Type 1 Diabetes for a newsletter I was working on for our JDRF chapter. I received some great advice both on here and via email. Many of you asked for me to share with you the final product. If you want, feel free to pass the info along through your blog. Maybe the information you all have provided will help someone else who is struggling with the anxiety that comes with Back To School Time.

Back To School Tips

Back to School Time brings excitement every year; however, if you’re the parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, it also comes with worrying and nervousness. Parents with Type 1 kids have more to think about when we send our children back to school. To help with this process, I asked my blogging community, consisting of many parent’s across the country who have children with T1, for some ideas and tips to help this process go smoothly. I received some great feedback! Below is my list of the top 10 things you can do to help your child and the school staff head back to school prepared to deal with the challenges that may arise when T1 Diabetes is in the game.

1) Make sure you update your child’s 504 Plan. If you don’t have one or are not sure what it is, contact your child’s school. By law, they are required to work with you to put one in place for your child.** It will make a world of difference for your child if you have one that outlines his/her specific needs during the school year. Also leave it available to make any changes during the year as you see fit. You can visit the jdrf website to get more information about a 504 plan. **The only exception to this may be if your child is in a private school setting that is not funded by state money. But still talk to the school to see if they will work with you on getting one set up.

2) Set up a meeting with the teacher, principal, nurse, and whomever else you feel should be in attendance. Go over the 504 Plan, treatment plan, emergency guidelines, field trip rules, and a birthday snack/class party plan. Go over any issues that need to be addressed in case of a lockdown or fire drill. Make sure everyone is on the same page before school starts.

3) Check the expiration date on your glucagon and get a new prescription if needed. Make sure there is a kit easily accessible at your school and that more than one person is trained on how to use it in case of a low blood sugar emergency. If you have expired glucagon, the school meeting is a GREAT place to show your child’s school team how to use a glucagon kit.

4) Make a treatment “cheat sheet” for the classroom that is laminated and hung on the wall with hypo and hyper symptoms and how to treat them. For example, “If Sydney’s sugar is between 60-80 treat with a_____. If it’s between 50-60 treat with_____. If it’s below 50 treat with____ and call mom or dad. Check again 10-15 minutes later.”

5) Set up a meeting for your child’s classroom, especially for the younger kids, and give an age appropriate explanation about Type 1 Diabetes and why “Sydney” needs to poke her finger, get a shot/use a pump, or have a snack. This will help your child feel confident about their diabetes at school as well as help the other children to understand the basic needs of your child. Explain about lows and highs and how your child may act during these times. A great book to read to an elementary school class is called Lara Takes Charge by Rocky Lana and Sally Huss. It is available on Amazon.

6) Make sure there is a plan written down for substitute teachers, bus drivers, P.E. and music teachers and anyone else who will come in contact with your child.

7) If your child doesn’t have one, make sure they get a medical alert tag with emergency numbers and the words “Type 1 Diabetes” on it. They have many different varieties out there, necklaces, bracelets, necklace pendants that can double as a shoelace tag. This alert can make a crucial difference for your child in case of an emergency. We bought ours at under the “Medical ID Alert” section.

8) Have an assigned place for “low snacks” in the classroom that is easily accessible for your child. Make sure the teacher and your child knows where this is. It should not be locked up or placed out of reach. Have the snacks in a tote and tape a “low cheat sheet” to the top for a quick reference guide. Write this into the 504 plan.

9) A great birthday treat idea I received was to make your own cupcakes and frost them. Then place on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once frozen, you can put them in a single layer in a gallon size freezer bag. When someone brings in birthday snacks, let a cupcake thaw for 15 minutes or longer and then your child has a birthday snack where the carbs are known!

10) My final Back to School Tip is to educate, educate, educate. The more people at school who understand Type 1 Diabetes, the better off your child will be in case of an emergency. Get your 504 in place as a protection for your child and for the school. Develop positive relationships with the personnel at the school. Good luck and have a healthy and happy school year!


Wendy said...

This is great and I just love you.. Thanks! I read about the glucagon shot and it reminded me to get 2 more cuz mine are expired.

Lora said...

great job sista!!

Tracy1918 said...

You did a really nice job on this. Way to go! And thank you for all the tips! : )