You have just found out that your child has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. You and your family spend the next two days getting a crash course in how to take care of your child so you can prepare him or her for living with type 1 diabetes the rest of their life. Then it dawns on you. Who is going to take care of my child while they are at school? You think surely the school nurse is well trained and able to handle anything that comes his/her way. Right? That is what I thought when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We quickly learned that our school does not have a nurse on staff to give injections. Our health room aide was only able to monitor my son checking his blood sugar.
My first reaction was anger! How could one of the largest school districts in the state of Missouri not have a nurse at my son's school? Should I take legal action? No, my wife and I decided the best way to handle this was by educating the health room aide in diabetes care. She even graciously agreed to attend a diabetes class hosted by our local Children's Hospital. We then came up with a health care plan that outlined when and how our son was to be taken care of while at school. This plan included us meeting with the principal and teacher before the school year started. The teacher was given an alarm clock so she could set it to the times when blood sugars needed to be checked. A children’s book about juvenile diabetes was also provided to the teacher as a tool to educate the other students on our son's disease. One of the most important items we gave to the teacher was a laminated picture of our son. It is used to identify our son for when a substitute teacher is in class. These are just some of the things we used to administer his health plan. Be creative and adapt to the situation. Now you are probably wandering who ended up giving my son his daily injections at school. As luck would have it the school district hired my wife as a teacher at his school. This gave her the ability to be there when he needed a shot.
My suggestion is to do your research when making plans for diabetes care at school. We got lucky when the school district hired my wife. Jump on a search engine and search for diabetes bill of rights. This will give you lots of ideas on how to handle your school. Legal action is not always the best or right answer. Every situation is different but being and advocate for Type 1 Diabetes is important as your child progresses through school.
Brad Stott is the father of a child with Type 1 Diabetes. His goal is to help inform other parents and children to the issues that may arise during the care of your child. His goal is to support Type 1 Diabetes research through education and advocacy. A website has been created that contains information on Type 1 Diabetes at http://www.andrewsarmy.com