Most other families don’t really talk to their child’s teacher until the first scheduled parent-teacher conference, which can take place anywhere from now until Thanksgiving. But with a child with diabetes, you need to meet with the teacher within the first few days of school. You may have already done so, but here are a few points you might want to raise:
- Your concerns are two-fold: day-to-day management of your child’s diabetes; and what to do in an emergency situation (such as a lock-down of the school, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster.)
- First, as far as day-to-day management goes, you should work out a plan with the teacher, school nurse and/or school administration for things such as who will oversee giving your child lunchtime and snacktime doses; where stashes of sugar or glucose tablets may be hidden around the school; and what to do if your child needs help quickly when away from the classroom.
- If your school is experienced with other children with diabetes, there may already be well-honed plans in place; if not, you may have to create your own plan. Either way, remember that you are your child’s best advocate, and make sure that the plan works best for your child.
- Having said that, also keep in mind that you are relying on teachers to not only teach your child, but to help manage diabetes care. Do your best not to impose on them too much, and be sure to thank them! Try to make their job as easy as possible by providing clear, concise information (a one-page “cheat sheet” for the top of their desk might be helpful; my husband actually laminated ours so it would last all year) and by providing a boxful of supplies for the classroom (everything from Sweet Tarts to extra insulin and needles).
- This is where your second concern comes in: just in case of an unexpected situation where the children would not be allowed out of the building for hours or even days, make sure that your box of supplies has enough to last a few days. The school’s emergency plan probably covers having enough food to feed the kids for up to three days, so don’t worry about food. But have enough insulin, lancets and the like to get through a crisis, as well as instructions for doses usually given at home outside of regular school hours. Better safe than sorry.
The last thing I’d say to a teacher (and I have every year!) is to request that my child not be treated any differently than the other students because of her diabetes. Diabetes is not a crutch. It certainly is not an excuse for bad behavior or missed assignments. I consider the school part of our diabetes “team,” and the more we can keep my daughter’s numbers in normal range, the better her focus and concentration will be in the classroom – which is in everybody’s best interest.
Published On: September 11, 2006