In our household, as in many others with a child who has diabetes, there are additional preparations taking place:
- Writing a letter to the new class teacher (here, every year the kids get mixed up between the classes and they get a new teacher too),
- Updating diabetes school management plan,
- Packing fresh supplies into the hypo kits for the school bag, classroom and the office,
- Making sure all the spares for blood glucose meter, pump, infusion set and emergency glucagon are packed to be handed in to the school’s office.
Thank goodness I had my husband read it. He asked me to simplify it and stick to the key points only, to tone it down before I gave it to the school. It was very hard to control such fresh emotions. It is very hard to trust somebody else to take good care of your child, particularly when that child had only just been diagnosed with a lifelong chronic condition that even you do not know enough about.
That year it was just one page I gave to the school. With time, I learned more about managing diabetes, the hours at school became longer, PE and sports activities got added on and the information I wanted for school to have grew beyond one page. The “management plan” seemed the way to go.
Over the years I have also realized that having the protocols in writing is necessary, but it is even more important how you present and convey the key facts and tasks that need the teachers’ attention to the teachers and school staff. I found out that meeting with the class teacher and relevant staff in charge, giving them a brief demonstration and overview of key elements of diabetes care and what to look out for has the biggest impact.
Every year, in my letter to the class teacher I kindly ask her to give me a chance, preferably before the school starts, to meet with her and give her a short live demonstration of the daily routine Mr T needs to perform before each break. I also explain and show her what needs to be done in case of a low, as well as what is NOT to be done ever (such as sending Mr T to the sick bay when he is low, regardless of how many kids would be assigned to go with him).
Mr T is now self sufficient and can do the whole BG testing, food choosing, carbs counting and insulin bolusing routine by himself, so this initial demonstration is very brief. However that initial chat with the teacher is only the beginning of a yearlong education for all of us.
We all learn through situations we face and manage to overcome.....
.............. and all that so our kids can enjoy the school, their childhood, the life.