School Issues

Hi. I joined to try and find out if anyone else out there has a young child in school and are having difficulties getting them to understand your childs needs. My daughter is 5 years old and in kindergarten. She is the youngest diabetic they have ever had, and it seems that they don't understand that she needs extra care compared to an older child. For example, she has 'silent' lows; she rarely shows signs or symptoms of a low and can seem to be fine, but can be in the 40's. I am very worried about her while she is at school. I feel that she needs adult supervision at all times while at school, but they do not agree. Am I expecting/asking too much of the school?

Hello, 1st left me give you heads up that I don't have children but I do work with youngsters with diabetes during the summer. Since no one else has commented for you yet I'll go ahead and give it a go.

1st off I'm so happy that you are here asking questions! and congratulations on having a child in school! What an exciting time and nerve racking time! Question number one is have you filled out a Section 504 plan for your daughter? If you live in the USA (not Texas) Section 504 is a law that makes it illegal for programs that receive federal funds to discriminate against people with disabilities. Because almost all schools receive federal money, they are covered by Section 504.  Section 504 requires schools to make their classes, programs, and activities accessible to students with disabilities and injuries.

It is a great thing to fill out and if you have not done so I'd contact the school ASAP to get one filled out.

Now, your grievance gets tricky because you are looking for someone to be with her/ adult supervision at all times. That generally is a service granted for children that qualify for an IEP (the child's disability must have an adverse effect on the child's educational progress.) I've seen children with lung diseases that must have a privet nurse with them 24/7 to suck the fluid out of the lungs but the child learns well and is not behind so does not qualify for an IEP.

Now for the good news caring for her can require community involvement! Lots of moms on this site have gone into classes and given presentations about diabetes and their children. Your daughters best support is an educated class that can watch her back- the nice part about kinder gardeners is they are curious, learn fast, care a lot, and that they watch each others back well when asked to. As for teachers and other people in the school- you can have all of them that will interact with your child aware that she is diabetic and has a tendency for impaired hypoglycemia awareness. In your 504 you can also ask that her sugar be checked at intervals during the day (say every 2-3 hours) and write them down and send them to you- which would actually be much more accurate way to keep track of your daughter then what you are asking and they are denying. Also make sure someone in the building is trained in how to use a glucogon pen for if something does happen, For me I trusted the principal with mine above everyone else and just made sure that the teachers knew to get him. So again, best thing to do is fill out a 504 plan for a strategic plan of care that can really protect her and get results.

One last thing, try not to be upset at this suggestion, but it is ok to be held back a year so that she can mature just a little more in her self care before she moves a grade. Next year as the focus gets more academic driven this may take away from her time to focus on learning about her body that she could really use. The other option is interview the teachers in 1st grade and find the one that feels the most confident to have a diabetic in their class.

I hope that helps, at least a little. Why don't you post your question on the main forum so that more moms and dads can read your post and comment.

good luck!

I just wanted to offer some support and a little advice. We went through a very difficult Kindergarten year with my daughter. It was just last year and was very hard. The school didn't take her condition seriously and her care wasn't good at all. She would have lows often because her teacher wouldn't give her a snack and seemed bothered by the "burden" of a Diabetic child. It was horrendous. Schools definitely don't always know the severity of Type 1, especially in small children that can't always communicate their issues. Speak with the doctor and see if he/she would be willing to share information with the school/teacher/etc in person.

The other advice is to BE YOUR CHILD'S BEST ADVOCATE and never back down if you feel something is wrong. I made the mistake of allowing too much to happen at her school before removing her from there. Trust your intuition and you will make good choices. Bless you and your family!

hi i am a mother of a son with type on he is going on his 4yr of dx . we went through 2  schools that was a lot like yours i was so worried and frustrated  the teacher sent my son to the nurse by him self and his blood sugar was 32 not good  when i found out i went to the school and that never happened again .  my son new more then the school nurses and he was only 9 yrs old . we moved and he had to go to a different school and they have never had a diabetic there only a type 2 so made me more frustrated i didnt know what to do . and half the time at that school there was no nurse so he was taking care of himself . so my husband stared looking for a better school for him . god blessed us with the school he found . we got lucky this was his first year with the pump at school he got it during the summer . we got to meet his teacher and we found out her son has the same insulin pump as my son . i was so relieved and that is were i found out about the 504 plan it is a great plan he was only in school for a week and they already had a meeting with us and all the teachers and staff  of the school we talked about the way he acts when he is high when he is low . the plan is a great plan for our children and you will want this when your daughter gets older because with my son if he is too high our too low he can retake his test . i know my son is older then your daughter but i went through what you are going through you just need to be persistent and ask for that 504 plan by law they have to do it and all the staff has a picture of all the diabetics in case they see them acting  different they can take them to the nurse there are 5 diabetics in my sons school . its hard everyone says it gets easier it does but you still have those days that you just wish by one snap of your finger you could fix your child . i hope and pray you get that school to have a 504 plan keep at them til they do it . good luck and if you ever need to talk im here .                     michelle

Thank you for responding to my post, everyone. It's comforting to know that I am not alone. Your words of encouragement and advise are greatly appreciated. I'd like to let you all know that my daughter does have a 504 plan. It wasn't easy to achieve, but with persistance and help from a district diabetes resource nurse and an ADA advocate, we finally did get one. Sometimes I feel like it's easier to pull teeth than to get through to the school. However, I guess I failed to emphasize the fact that she has hypoglycemia unawareness clearly enough for them to realize she needs adult supervision because another 5 year old isn't going to know what to look for and how to help her. I think  that's too much to expect from any 5 yr old. As a result, I feel that I need to do my best to keep her blood sugars at a slightly elevated level before she leaves for school and while she is there just so I don't have to worry so much. But sometimes even that doesn't always work. Thank goodness she doesn't get low at school too often because of it. However, she is in half day kindergarten this year and so I worry about next year when she is there full time. I don't want to keep her blood sugars elevated all day while she is there next year.

Since the last time I was on here, a new issue with the school has came up...I received a letter from them stating that she has missed 10 days this year and is in danger of being habitually truant according to the Colorado School Attendance Law. They want me to set up a conference with them to discuss her attendance and to set up an attendance contract. The principal had reassured me that this is standard distrct policy and I have nothing to worry about as long as I have Dr.'s notes for all her absences. Our ADA advocate recomends not signing the contract and sending an email to the principal. He suggested that I request for them add in her 504 plan that absences due to diabetes related issues can not be held against her or considered truent, and add adult supervision to her health care plan or at the very minimum have her BG tested before sending her anywhere alone. Even though I've already been told no on all the above. I had no idea school was going to be such a complicated issue. Can anyone relate to the attendance issue? 

Once again, I guess I will have to be persistant and hope and pray that they will reconsider these issues in my daughter's favor to ensure her safety at school.

Melissa - thank you for sharing your experience. I'm happy things have worked out for you after all you went through.

Michelle - thank you as well for sharing and offering your hand in friendship. What an incredible blessing to have a teacher for your son that understands. I am happy things have worked out for the better for you also. Sometimes I do wish it would all just dissapear with the snap of a finger and she would be healed. If only it were that easy. I just keep reminding myself that this too will come to pass and will somehow all work out for the better.

My 6 yr old daughter was diagnosed October 5, 2010. We are in year round school so she has been attending school since the beginning of July. As of today she has missed 42 days of school. We did receive a letter the first quarter of the school year prior to her diagnosis because she had missed 11 days. Our data manger at the school had me bring her a letter from the Dr. and she took care of excusing those absences for me. I did not have to go to the school board. Once my daughter was diagnosed the data manager fixed it so that we will not receive the letters any longer and it is not an issue. Our endocrinologist told us in the beginning that we should not have an issue with her absences once our 504 was filed. It could be that out school districts in NC have different policies. I am surprised that they are giving you a hard time especially considering this is a lifetime diagnosis. I would definitely fight them on this!

We have been very blessed with the staff at our school. They have gone above and beyond when it comes to the care of my daughter. There has never been a diabetic at her school before so I was concerned about what we would be up against. We have actually had to fight with the nurse over our school but with the support of the teacher and staff they pretty much put her in her place and have been advocates for our daughter. Our county policy is that at least 2 people be trained in how to care for her. She has 7 people that are trained including her teacher and TA. This is one of the things the school fought the nurse on. They felt 2 staff members was not enough. Especially since the staff also tracks out through out the year. The nurse felt it was not necessary for the special teachers (Art, P.E. etc) be trained on what to look for. Which is ridiculous! The school had them trained on the signs of highs and lows. They even talked to her bus driver. She rides the bus home in the afternoon and is only on the bus for 7 minutes. There have been 3 time where she was showing signs of being low. They checked her and called me because they were concerned about her being on the bus and I went and picked her up. they could have very easily had the attitude "Well she will only be on the bus for a few minutes." When the teacher was absent one day shortly after the diagnosis and the TA was tracked out, they could not find a sub that had any experience with diabetes and would know what to look for. The 5 office staff trained to care for my daughter took turns being in the classroom keeping an eye on her. She is also allowed to check her blood sugar in the classroom. The school felt like it was unnecessary to make her go to the office every time. If she does need to go to the office for some reason and the teacher or TA cannot take her, the teacher calls the office and they come get her. Because she is having trouble with her levels and is not on a pump yet she needs to have a morning snack. The teacher even changed the class morning schedule so that her snack time would be during reading time. She did not want my daughter to be embarrassed to eat snack at the table in front of everyone. Now the kids grab their books and find their corners or spots for individual reading and she doesn't have 22 sets of eyes watching her eat.

It saddens me and frustrates me that not all children and families are having experiences like ours.  I was shocked when in the hospital our Doctor told us we would probably have obstacles to over come with the schools and her daily care. He said to always be an advocate for her, fight every step of the way, never back down, to be sure she had the care and education she deserves. I thought how can schools not want to cooperate and help these children anyway they can? I am thankful every day for the people at our school who are willing to do whatever it takes to be sure my daughter is safe, healthy and happy. Who support us and are advocates for her as well. I hope and pray that things with the school will get better for you and your family!

LaurenElisabeth -

There is no doubt that you have been incredibly blessed with your childs school. I have tried not to be too critical of the staff at our school, and instead try to convince myself that it is lack of education about type 1 in especially young diabetics. However, when I try to educate them and even find others (such as the diabetes resource nurse), I feel like the teachers and office staff want to listen and learn, but it is the principal that is objective to everything - literally. So much so, that it is to the point that she consults with the school district legal advisor as well as the district nurse, either of which no very little about childhood diabtetes and are always in agreement with her on even the simplest of requests (like testing in the classroom). Obviously the rest of the staff has no choice but to go along with what the principal says. Your experience as well as the others makes me think maybe I am in the wrong school for my child. That maybe the right school is out there, so we can have the peace and reasurance that we deserve too. I refuse to give up hope. Thanks for sharing. 

well you might want to start looking for another school like we did . with my son's first school he went to after he got dx  it would drive me crazy the school nurses knew nothing at all i worried all the time . the next school he went to was not much better the nurse they had was better when she was there but half the time they had no nurse and my ten year old was taking care of him self not good! he goes to a excelling school now its public but they have to get accepted their and its free maybe where you live you have one .let me know what state and town you live maybe i can help you find one . i have to drive my kids but its a great school 


The principal said that??? Get that man on your side and have him there to help!! When my mum had this conference like the one you are going to that is when everything changed for me at school!

You have been told once, but with the principal as your advocate you are being set up for success and for your daughters!! great news.