New school? No worries. Tips to help you be organised
My eight-year-old daughter will be going to a new school. I want to make sure her teachers are aware of how to manage her diabetes. How do I go about this?
With four of my five kids now diagnosed, training a new teacher about diabetes is something I’ve had to do for the past seven years, from preschool to year 12. To make my life and, hopefully, the teacher’s life a lot less stressful, I’ve developed a checklist, which works really well. My first step is to make use of the two or three pupil-free days before school starts to set up a meeting with my child’s teachers.
I go to this meeting armed with the necessary diabetes equipment, and the Professor Bumblebee’s Guide to Type 1 Diabetes DVD (available from the Australian Diabetes Council), which explains diabetes in very simple terms for adults and children. Then I go through my child’s daily routine and their Personalised Management Plans (a format we’ve developed through out Diabete-ezy website – you can order yours here). I talk about the effects of exercise on BGLs, as well as the importance of recognizing and treating hypo symptoms promptly. I also explain how high BGLs can call for extra trips to the toilet.
I then familiarise the teachers with my child’s diabetes essentials – our Ezy-Fit Case set up with a blood glucose meter, test strips and Test-wipes, plus an insulin pen (a spare, in case they have problems with their insulin pump). There’s also a large supplies container with the credit card-sized Personal Management Plan stuck on the lid.
Inside this container, I store:
- 20 hypo kits (a muesli bar with eight jelly beans in a resealable bag with a hypo instruction sticker.
- 2 spare boxes of test strips and extra wipes.
- Spare batteries for the blood glucose meter and insulin pump, plus a 10-cent piece for opening the pump’s battery compartment.
- An extra bag of jelly beans.
The teachers and I agree on a spot to keep it and I place the Personalised Management Plan in 4-6 locations around the school. I show the teachers the blood glucose metes and needles. I even test myself so the teachers understand how the meter works and why it’s important that my child has both this and their hypo kit with them at all times. Once school starts, I leave the classroom as soon as the teacher is comfortable, although I may stay at the school library until lunchtime when the children are younger, in case I’m needed.
From year 9, it becomes quite easy – my children take more responsibility for their diabetes and need less input from teachers. I talk to the school nurse about each child’s diabetes management and leave the large supplies container in the sick room with their Personalised Management Plan.