The end of summer brings the start of the school year, and for most students, that involves gathering school supplies and picking out a first-day-of-school outfit. But for kids with diabetes and their parents, there’s a lot more to it than that. Whether your child has had diabetes for years or you’re balancing school and diabetes for the first time, there’s a lot to keep track of, but planning ahead and communicating with teachers and school staff can help your child get through the school year safely. The following resources offer information to help kids, parents, and school staff work together to make the school year a healthy one.
TYPE 1 TEENS
A Guide to Managing Your Life With Diabetes
Korey K. Hood, PhD
American Psychological Association/Magination Press
Washington, DC, 2010
This book offers advice on many facets of life with diabetes that are specific to teenagers, including school-related challenges. Along with practical considerations like taking diabetes medicines and monitoring blood glucose levels while participating in classes and extracurricular activities, the book covers emotional concerns such as the effects of peer pressure and diabetes burnout.
ADA GUIDE TO RAISING A CHILD WITH DIABETES, THIRD EDITION
Jean Betschart Roemer, MN, MSN, CRNP, CDE
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2011
This book from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers general information on caring for a child with diabetes, with emphasis on flexibility and helping a child adjust to the busy schedules many school-age children follow.
KIDS FIRST, DIABETES SECOND
Tips for Parenting a Child with Diabetes
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2012
This book is aimed at parents of younger children with diabetes; the author has a daughter with Type 1 diabetes, and the book is written from her experiences working with school staff and preparing at home to make life as “normal” as possible.
TAKING DIABETES TO SCHOOL
Plainview, Michigan, 2004
This illustrated book is designed to help newly-diagnosed, school-age children and their classmates understand what diabetes is.
LIVING WITH DIABETES: FOR PARENTS & KIDS
American Diabetes Association
This section of the ADA’s website offers information on a range of parenting-related topics, including a “Safe at School” section. Links along the side of the page lead to information on strategies to help parents advocate for their children, guides on the legal rights of children with diabetes in school, and help planning participation in events outside the classroom, such as extracurricular activities, school sports teams, and field trips. The ADA’s Back to School Checklist (www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/diabetes-care-at-school/special-considerations/back-to-school-tips.html) and Diabetes Medical Management Plan (www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/diabetes-care-at-school/written-care-plans/diabetes-medical-management.html) are also helpful.
T1D IN SCHOOL
The JDRF Web site’s section on dealing with Type 1 diabetes and school includes a section called Back to School Basics that emphasizes parental advocacy for children with diabetes. It stresses taking the initiative to reach out to every member of the school staff your child may interact with – coaches and teachers, as well as school nurses – about your child’s health and educating yourself on the laws regarding who is allowed to administer medical treatment in an emergency. The JDRF offers a downloadable School Advisory Toolkit (http://jdrf.org/life-with-t1d/toolkit-request/) to help.
THE COLLEGE DIABETES NETWORK
The College Diabetes Network (CDN) aims to help college students with diabetes, some of whom may be taking full charge of their diabetes care for the first time. The “School Chapters” tab will help you find colleges that have CDN chapters, or get guidance on starting your own. The site includes sections for both parents and students to connect with peers and ask questions.
CHILDREN WITH DIABETES
Children With Diabetes (CWD) is an online community for children and adults with diabetes and their parents. After registering, members can use CWD’s chat rooms to talk in real time with other members or look through the forums, which include boards for each age group as well as a special section for school and daycare-related issues. Public schools and any other schools that receive federal funding are legally bound by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to provide accommodations for students with disabilities; many of the books and websites in this list of resources provide guidance on developing a “504 plan” to ensure this. The page School and Diabetes (www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/d_0q_000.htm) has a selection of sample 504 plans for every grade, from preschool to college.
Help Your Child Manage Diabetes at School
This page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers advice on making sure your child can manage his diabetes at an age-appropriate level, as well as tips on assembling a diabetes supply kit and preventing sick days.
HELPING THE STUDENT WITH DIABETES SUCCEED: A GUIDE FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL
This series of downloadable PDFs (also available as a single printer-friendly file or in book form) is intended for schoolteachers and staff. It begins with a primer on what diabetes is and includes sections for everyone your child comes in contact with, from principals to bus drivers.