Diabetes in Children: Preparing a Care Plan for School
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To help your child with diabetes have an easier time with school, you need to know the issues your child could face and then plan how to help your child succeed. Remember that your child's experience with diabetes is not the same as another child's experience. A diabetes care plan will help teachers and school staff understand what your child needs to successfully manage diabetes at school.
It's a good idea to meet with the school staff, including the principal, teachers, coaches, bus driver, school nurse, and lunchroom workers, before your child starts school and at the beginning of each school year. Update the plan each year before school starts, and tell the school staff about any changes to the plan.
- The goal of a diabetes care plan for school is to meet your child's daily needs and prepare ahead of time for any problems. This means including all the information that the school staff needs to know to make sure your child's diabetes is under control.
- A diabetes care plan for school should include medical information as well as other information that the school staff needs to know, including emergency contacts, when to call the parents, and food information.
- Children with diabetes want to fit in with their classmates as much as possible. A diabetes care plan can also address how to handle special occasions, such as a school party or field trip, so your child won't feel left out.
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A diabetes care plan is a document that lists all the information that the school staff needs to know to make sure your child's diabetes is under control. The goal of a diabetes care plan for school is to meet your child's daily needs and prepare ahead of time for any problems. The plan includes information on how to handle:
- Insulin, if needed. Make sure you include information on how to give insulin to your child, how much insulin to give, and how to store the insulin. Your child may get it as a shot, use an insulin pen, or have an insulin pump.
- Oral medicine. If your child takes pills for diabetes, make sure you include instructions on how, when, and how much medicine your child should take.
- Meals and snacks.
- Make sure that your child's teacher and the school staff know that your child has permission to eat a snack anytime he or she needs it. You may want to provide your child's teacher with snacks to give your child when he or she has signs of low blood sugar.
- Make a list of foods your child can eat, how much, and when. You will also want to have a list of foods that your child can have during special occasions, such as a class party, a school assembly, or an outing.
- Blood sugar testing. This section of the plan lists how often and when to test your child's blood sugar. For example, your child may need his or her blood sugar tested before lunch and when he or she has symptoms of low blood sugar. The diabetes care plan should also say if an adult needs to test your child's blood sugar or if your child can do it. Younger children will need an adult to test their blood sugar, while older children may be able to test it on their own.
- Symptoms of low or high blood sugar. Your child's symptoms of low or high blood sugar may be different from those of other children. A change in behavior is sometimes a symptom of low blood sugar. In this section of the diabetes care plan, talk about your child's symptoms of low or high blood sugar and how to treat it. You can print out the following information to give to your child's teacher and other school staff:
- Diabetes in Children: Preventing Low Blood Sugar
- Diabetes in Children: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar
- Diabetes in Children: Preventing High Blood Sugar
- Testing ketones. This section of the plan will include information on when and how to test your child's urine for ketones. The school nurse and one or more other school staff members should know how to test your child's urine for ketones and know what to do if the results are not normal.
- Who to call. Include contact information for parent(s), other caregivers, and the doctor. You will also want to let your child's teachers and school staff know when to call for help in case of an emergency.
Give the school staff the right supplies to care for your child, including:
Make sure the school staff knows how to use and store the supplies you provide. Your child must be able to get to these supplies at all times. You may also need to check the expiration date and replace supplies from time to time. You can print out the following information to give to your child's teacher and other school staff:
- Diabetes in Children: Giving Insulin Shots to a Child
- Preparing a Glucagon Injection
- Giving a Glucagon Injection
It's also a good idea to give the school staff some general information about diabetes. This will help them understand the disease, its symptoms, and the treatment. You can use the following for information about diabetes:
As a parent, you want to know that your child is safe when you aren't with him or her. A diabetes care plan helps guide your child's teacher and other school staff about how to care for your child with diabetes. The plan will help your child keep his or her blood sugar under control so that he or she can focus on school.
Children with diabetes want to fit in with their classmates as much as possible. This includes taking part in class parties, field trips, and assemblies. Planning for these special occasions in a diabetes care plan lets your child take part in these activities and not be left out.
A diabetes care plan will help your child's teachers and other school staff know when and how to manage your child's diabetes. For example, if your child needs to eat shortly after taking insulin or to have a snack in class, then a teacher or other adult can make sure that this happens. At the same time, the teacher will know not to make your child stand out as "the kid with diabetes." Your child may also feel better knowing that his or her teachers or other school staff can help when needed.
The diabetes plan should also state that your child is allowed to:
- Use the restroom, eat, and drink when needed.
- See the school nurse whenever he or she asks.
- Miss school for medical appointments.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to make a diabetes care plan for school. You can also see a sample medical management plan and diabetes care plan (called a 504 Plan) at the American Diabetes Association Web site: www.diabetes.org.
Talk to your child's doctor
Write out a diabetes care plan, and go over it with your child's doctor. He or she may have ideas to include in the plan. If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.
For more information on making a diabetes care plan for school, visit the American Diabetes Association (ADA) website, www.diabetes.org, and search for "Diabetes Management at School."
|American Association of Diabetes Educators|
|200 West Madison Street|
|Chicago, IL 60606|
|Fax: ||(312) 424-2427|
|Web Address: ||www.diabeteseducator.org|
The American Association of Diabetes Educators is made up of doctors, nurses, dietitians, and other health professionals with special interest and training in diabetes care. The Web site can supply the names of these types of health professionals in your local area.
|American Diabetes Association (ADA)|
|1701 North Beauregard Street|
|Alexandria, VA 22311|
|Phone: ||1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383)|
|Web Address: ||www.diabetes.org|
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a national organization for health professionals and consumers. Almost every state has a local office. ADA sets the standards for the care of people with diabetes. Its focus is on research for the prevention and treatment of all types of diabetes. ADA provides patient and professional education mainly through its publications, which include the monthly magazine Diabetes Forecast, books, brochures, cookbooks and meal planning guides, and pamphlets. ADA also provides information for parents about caring for a child with diabetes.
|Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International|
|120 Wall Street|
|New York, NY 10005-4001|
|Phone: ||1-800-533-CURE (1-800-533-2873)|
|Fax: ||(212) 785-9595|
|Web Address: ||http://www.jdrf.org|
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International is dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications. The organization funds research on type 1 diabetes, including research on prevention and treatment. This organization publishes a wide variety of booklets, magazines, and e-newsletters on complications and treatments of type 1 diabetes.
|National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP)|
|1 Diabetes Way|
|Bethesda, MD 20814-9692|
|Phone: ||1-800-438-5383 to order materials|
|Web Address: ||http://ndep.nih.gov|
The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program's goal is to improve the treatment of people who have diabetes, to promote early diagnosis, and to prevent the development of diabetes. Information about the program can be found on two Web sites: one managed by NIH (http://ndep.nih.gov) and the other by CDC (www.cdc.gov/team-ndep).
|National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)|
|1 Information Way|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-3560|
|Fax: ||(703) 738-4929|
|TDD: ||1-866-569-1162 toll-free|
|Web Address: ||http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov|
This clearinghouse provides information about research and clinical trials supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. This service is provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
|Primary Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology|
|Last Revised||October 1, 2010|
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