School

Strategies for Going to School with T1D

Effective Support for Students with Diabetes

So your child was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and now it’s time for her to go back to school. Or your child was diagnosed months or years ago and is now about to start his school career. Or maybe you and your child have been managing diabetes within the school system for some time, and you want to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. Whatever your individual situation, there are some common themes and processes which may help take the fire out of the diabetes dragon at school.

Articles on Managing Diabetes at School

Maybe you’re wondering…

• Where do I start in preparing my child with diabetes to go to school? Who should do what tasks? What can I expect the school staff to do to help my child manage diabetes during school hours? What knowledge and skills do the staff need to have to successfully care for my child while she’s at school?

Diabetes at School: Overview

Roles and Responsibilities for School Care of Diabete

Training School Staff to Support a Student with Diabetes

• What is a Diabetes Care Plan for School? What does it include and who writes it? How do I make sure my child’s needs are clearly communicated in the Care Plan? And then how do I work with the school staff to make sure the Care Plan is successfully carried out?

Writing a Diabetes Care Plan

Implementing a Diabetes Care Plan

• What policies and guidelines can I count on to support and protect my child/teen at school?

Provincial Policies for Students with Diabetes

• What other tools can help at school?

Printable Carb Labels for School Lunches & Snacks

Or maybe you’re wondering…

• What are my child’s rights as a student with diabetes?

• What other resources can I access to help my family deal with diabetes at school?…

Other Resources for School and Diabetes

These are a few of the resources that have been valuable to our family as we have navigated the school years with the diabetes dragon, from pre-school through the elementary years and on. We hope this information helps you on your family’s journey!

The information below contains external links. Clicking on those links will take you to a different website outside of WaltzingTheDragon.ca. Waltzing the Dragon is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained on those websites.

Websites:

What: Diabetes@School is an informational website developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) and the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group (CPEG). It is THE online resource for School and T1D.

Diabetes@School features bilingual (French and English) 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 communication between home and school, including: printable posters for Low and High Blood Glucose; links to existing policies in the provinces that have them; a role for the students, plus what is developmentally appropriate to expect from them at different ages; info on glucagon (what it is, how to use it).

Diabetes@School is a national initiative aimed at keeping students with type 1 diabetes safe at school. It 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 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.

Who: For educators with a student with diabetes under their care, and for parents of a student with diabetes.

Where: Canada

Tip from the Trenches:

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; 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”); and concise, bullet-point info on how teachers can help. 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!     -Michelle

Diabetes Canada has an excellent advocacy resource called Guidelines for the Care of Students Living with Diabetes at School. Its goals are:

  • To enhance the health, safety, emotional well-being and participation of each student with diabetes by providing information and guidance to the DCT regarding the student’s diabetes management.
  • To protect students with diabetes from stigma and discrimination by promoting a positive, caring, and inclusive learning environment through enhanced communication, education, and cooperation between all members of the DCT.
  • To promote a positive sense of self and belonging and help each student with diabetes feel empowered to manage their diabetes effectively during school hours.
  • To ensure each student with diabetes is not excluded from any school activities because of diabetes, unless indicated otherwise in the student’s Individual Care Plan (ICP).

The JDRF Canada offers a number of school-related resources including:

  • Basics to Share with Other Caregivers
  • Communicating with Schools
  • Educating the Educator
  • Treating Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia in School
  • Management Plan for Schools

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has a School Advisory Toolkit for Families (booklet). What we value about this resource is:

  • It's 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 those of us who live in Canada (such as 504 Plans). Still, enough of the information can be translated into “Canadian” for this resource to be useful. And it’s spot-on for those who live in the United States.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is a global organization of which many national diabetes organizations (such as Diabetes Canada, and the American Diabetes Association) are members. IDF has a Kids Diabetes Information Pack written to address the issues relevant to having a student with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) in their classroom.

Highlights include:

  • Myths about diabetes
  • As a teacher what do I need to know?
  • What do I need to know about low blood sugar?
  • Causes, symptoms and how to cope with it
  • What to do if a child has low blood sugar
  • What do I need to know about high blood sugar?
  • Causes, symptoms and how to cope with it.
  • What to do if a child has high blood sugar
  • What do I need to know about exercise and diabetes?
  • What about extra curricular activities?

The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic (scroll down to the School section) provides Back to School Tips, a powerpoint presentation on Type 1 Diabetes and School, a Teachers Diabetes Information Package, and a Letter for School Staff, as well as links to other School resources.

They also provide 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, this is one of our favourites.

STATUS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CANADA) INCLUDING COMPARISONS WITH AUSTRALIA, UNITED KINGDOM, UNITED STATES

This report from the Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation on In-School Support for Students Living with Diabetes contains recommendations for parents, ministries, school boards, schools, healthcare providers and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), and is intended to:

  • encourage more aggressive and timely action by those who have the leadership authority and resources to implement, improve and sustain in-school support programs for youth living with diabetes.
  • support the in-school program advocacy initiatives of the Canadian Paediatric Society.
  • provide information and frameworks to assist policy makers.
  • provide information and resources to assist parents of students living with diabetes.

They hope it will be seen as an informative and positive contribution to advancing Canadian capability for in-school support of students living with diabetes while reinforcing the advocacy initiatives of CPS.

Presentations & Visual Media

I Challenge Diabetes provides an in-person, on-site Diabuddies program  bringing their expertise and approachable style to schools across Canada to educate students and staff members about acceptance and proper T1D management in school.

The Diabetes@School video series makes it easy to learn about how to support students with type 1 diabetes in school. Each of these short animated videos covers a key concept in daily or emergency management.

If you are a health care professional or a parent of a student with type 1 diabetes, the videos can be used to train teachers and other school staff.

If you have a student with type 1 diabetes in your school or classroom, the videos will help you better understand what you can do during the school day to keep them healthy and safe.

The above list of resources for School & Diabetes is not exhaustive. If you have found a helpful resource, please let us know.