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School Resources

Resources for Managing Diabetes at School

Other Websites:

Diabetes@School... Safety. Support. Success.

Diabetes@School, a national initiative aimed at keeping students with type 1 diabetes safe at school, was developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) and the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group (CPEG). The resource was developed in response to the growing need to support the 30,000 school-aged children in Canada who have type 1 diabetes, which requires intensive round-the-clock management. People with type 1 diabetes—a condition where the pancreas no longer produces insulin—must check blood sugar frequently, and inject insulin several times daily. Children under 5 years represent the fastest growing group of new diagnoses, meaning schools are increasingly likely to have students with the condition.

The website DiabetesAtSchool.ca features bilingual training resources for use by educators, school boards, and parents of children with diabetes. Topics include understanding blood sugars, food and insulin, physical activity and type 1 diabetes, and communication between home and school. The site also features a template Individual Care Plan, which details all aspects of a student’s diabetes care while at school.

As a parent of a student with T1D, my favourite features of this website include: clear, concise information in a Canadian context; printables (ex Low Blood Glucose - Signs and Symptoms); a Diabetes Care Plan Template in printable PDF, fillable PDF, or Word doc; a section on preventing emergencies; links to existing policies in corresponding provinces; a role for our children and what we can expect from them at different ages (a reminder for me and for his teachers that my 9 year-old T1D son still "needs reminders and supervision"); concise, bullet-point info on how teachers can help; info on glucagon, what it is, how to use it. If you're a parent of a student with diabetes, or an educator with a student with diabetes in your care, this is a great resource!

Written Resources & Visual Media

The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic
provides a fill-in-the-blank template for a Diabetes Care Plan, which has all the relevant information well-organized and easily accessible in a 2-page form. If you are looking for Care Plan template, we would suggest you check this one out first. (Click here for the ACH Diabetes Care Plan template.)

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) has an excellent written resource called "Kids with diabetes in your care", available on their website at www.diabetes.caIf you are going to access only one guide for parents regarding diabetes and school, we have found this comprehensive but manageable guide to fit the bill. This written guide is available online (printable and down-loaded), pertains to the Canadian school system, is focused on type 1 diabetes, and is a relatively brief, wonderfully concise guide to diabetes in the school setting (shorter than the JDRF (US) booklet referenced below). Highlights includes:

  • An outline of suggested roles and responsibilities (“Standards of Care for Students with Type 1 Diabetes”).
  • Training information about the basics of diabetes (“About Diabetes”) to give to school staff.
  • Signs and treatment of hypoglycemia in poster format which you could simply print off and post it in key locations around your child’s school (“Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose)”).
  • Glossary of 15 common diabetes terms.
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions that teachers/administrators may have about diabetes.
  • Kids with Diabetes Information Card – a 2-page, fill-in-the-blank form to record relevant personal information, as well as details on emergency contacts, snacks/meals, and specific treatment for low blood glucose; may serve as a brief Diabetes Care Plan.
  • School employee as a good Samaritan: assisting students with diabetes discusses the fact that although teachers are not obligated provide medical treatment to their students, the Association encourages teachers to assist students in the ordinary and emergency management of diabetes, and should not be held liable if the teacher’s well-intentioned actions result injury to the student.
  • Letter of agreement between parent and school is not mandatory, but may be useful in some circumstances, to formalize the care agreement between home and school.

Trillium Health Centre (in Ontario) has produced an excellent DVD (and accompanying information booklet) to help educate teachers about type 1 diabetes. The "Diabetes School Toolkit: Supporting Students with Type 1 Diabetes" includes a 15-minute DVD that explains what type 1 diabetes is and how it is treated. The main focus of the video is keeping the student safe by detecting, treating and preventing low blood glucose. We love this video because it’s concise, realistic, practical, and shows vignettes from real students with type 1 diabetes, which gives diabetes a human face. If you are looking for one set of training materials to share with staff at your child’s school, check out this one first.

The written resources include:

  • A comprehensive fill-in-the-blank “Student Management Plan”, and
  • “Hypoglycemia Emergency Action Plan”, 

(The above could be all you need to share individualized details about how to support your child)

  • Hypoglycemia Emergency Action Flowchart, an easy-to-follow, visual representation of what to do in case of low blood glucose (mild/moderate, or severe) – very handy! 

The video can be viewed online at www.trilliumhealthcentre.org (scroll down until you see the school kit). The DVD and booklets can also be ordered – instructions are on the Trillium website.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has a School Advisory Toolkit for Families (booklet) which is available in two versions:

1.  The JDRF International version can be ordered from their website at www.jdrf.org (see School Advisory Toolkit).

What we value about this resource is:

  • Detailed and comprehensive, if that’s what you’re looking for. The full version is over 70 pages long (some of which is not applicable in Canada, as it outlines U.S student rights and legislation).
  • A Message to Parents” and “A Message to School Staff”, complementary documents that give each party a realistic view of the other’s perspective.
  • Suggested roles and responsibilities for parents, a number of different school staff, and also for the student (which reminds us that the child with diabetes also needs to take an active role in managing their own health, and gives concrete suggestions about how they can do so).
  • Diabetes Basics” is comprehensive written information for educating school staff about type 1 diabetes (slightly longer and more detailed than that outlined in the CDA or Trillium guides).
  • Sample  letters you may find helpful (for example, to send to the parents of your child’s classmates, explaining your child’s needs and how their child may support those needs).

The important thing to remember about this resource is that it is written within the context of the U.S. education system, so some information does not apply to us here in Canada. Still, enough of the information can be translated into “Canadian” for this resource to be useful.

2.  There is also a shorter (12-page) JDRF Canada version, which you can order from www.jdrf.ca, (see School Advisory Toolkit). 

What we value about this resource is:

  • All of the information applies to the Canadian school system, so no sifting and translating required.
  • Brief and concise, if that’s what you’re looking for, including the information on Diabetes Basics.
  • Tips on Building Partnership Through Communication.
  • Treatment Guidelines for Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose) are clearly laid out, easy to reference, could be printed out and posted in key locations around the school.
  • A clearly laid-out, fill-in-the-blanks Diabetes Management Plan.
  • A list of some federal and provincial government resources for more information about diabetes in the school setting.

The above list of resources for diabetes and school is not exhaustive. If you have found a helpful resource, please let us know. (See Contact Us)

Any questions? Comments? Feel free to Contact Us.

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.

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