Back to School Basics
Back to school season is an exciting time of year. But before you can celebrate, chances are you have a lot of preparation and planning to get out of the way–especially if you are the parent of a child with T1D. Here you will find topics and strategies that parents of kids with T1D across the country consider important in making the school year a success. While every child and school is unique, these guidelines should help you get started.
Do Your Homework
Before you meet with staff at your child’s school–ideally before the beginning of the school year, although it’s never too late–you’ll need to get organized, and perhaps do some research on your child’s rights and Section 504 plans. Look through the new publication from the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), “Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel,” and download or order copies for your child’s school.
You should not assume that the school will know how to provide the best care for your child, even if there are other students with diabetes in the school. As the parent, take the initiative to educate your child’s teachers, principal, school nurse, coaches, etc. about your child’s specific needs. Create and gather informational materials about your child and diabetes for school personnel and do whatever you can do to create a positive, mutually beneficial relationship.
Download the free School Advisory Toolkit to learn more back to school basics.
Laws and Your Child’s Rights
Relationships between schools, teachers, and the parents of children with T1D are often as unique as the individuals themselves. While there are federal and, in some cases, state laws protecting the rights of children with T1D in school, such laws only provide general guidelines and are enforced differently in different areas. At the beginning of each school year, you will need to communicate with your child’s principal, teacher, nurse, and any other adults who will share responsibility for your child during the day, to come up with a plan to make sure your child is well cared for throughout the year.
JDRF’s Position on T1D Management in Schools
JDRF believes that students with type 1 diabetes must be allowed to manage their diabetes in a school setting by monitoring their blood sugar, eating appropriate foods, and administering insulin. These children require appropriate school policies and a strong supportive network to help facilitate their life sustaining health regimen. Teachers, parents, school administrators, and health care providers must work together with the student to develop guidelines for management of their diabetes.
Diabetes requires students to monitor their glucose levels and if necessary take immediate action to bring their levels within a normal range. While in school they must be allowed to test their glucose levels, self-administer insulin as needed and take other corrective measures such as drinking juice for low glucose levels.
Children with diabetes may need to carry medically-necessary devices, such as injection kits for the delivery of glucagon, syringes and insulin pumps for insulin delivery, and continuous glucose monitors in their backpacks or on their person. They need to be allowed to check their glucose level and store their medications in a secure location. Children under the age of eight may need adult support to properly monitor their glucose levels and manage their insulin needs.
Children must have access to adults who are trained to recognize the warning signs of high or low glucose levels and be able to take appropriate action. Each school should have an adult who is qualified to manage an emergency hypoglycemic episode caused by dangerously low glucose levels. Special allowances may be needed for test taking and treatment when a child is experiencing these extreme glucose levels.
Children with diabetes should participate in class field trips and be encouraged to engage in sports and physical activities. With planning and routine glucose checks, participation in these activities is safe for children with diabetes. In fact, exercise is now considered essential for avoiding or delaying the onset of diabetic complications.
Download the free School Advisory Toolkit to learn more about laws and your child’s rights.
It’s FUN, it’s EASY, and it’s EDUCATIONAL! And… it’s all about Kids Helping Kids!
About Kids Walk
The JDRF Kids Walk program is an educational, in-school fundraising program with two goals: 1) to educate students about type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and 2) to provide them with an opportunity to make a difference by raising money for T1D research.
Our program helps to foster an environment of positive character building and community service. Students are recognized with a banner and awards. Your school can earn funds to use for equipment, field trips, books, or whatever your school needs!
School Spotlight: Hartford School
JDRF is excited to shine the Kids Walk School Spotlight on Hartford School in Mount Laurel, NJ. Hartford is home to almost 1,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students, and this school year will mark the fifth year that the school has participated in the JDRF Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes Program. The bond between Hartford School and JDRF was formed during the 2008-09 school year, when there were seven students with type 1 diabetes (T1D)…