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October 24, 2016
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Middle School

Another question from a reader. Kat Diego asks: How was the switch to middle school? My daughter is very responsible and pretty much is in charge of her care while in school. But in midddle school, she won't have one teacher, she'll have 6 or 8. How'd your daughter deal with the transition? Do you have a 504 plan? Thanks for your help!

Olivia started middle school in the fifth grade and the kids were kept pretty segregated from one another at that age (which I loved). Fifth grade was fine for her, even with switching teachers. She was well looked after and I felt comfortable with her there.

The teacher thing was a bit daunting at first. What I did was make up folders with information - a one page sheet about type 1 diabetes, giving bullet points and stressing what diabetes ISN'T as well as what it is. I also wrote up a sheet of symptoms of high and low blood sugars and how to treat both. I put a page that had every conceivable phone number that anyone would ever need, up to and including her endocrinologist's number. I gave one of these folders to each of Olivia's teachers at the beginning of the year. I still do this.

Olivia doesn't have a 504 because she's on an IEP for learning delays. I could have fought to have a 504 kept in place at the same time, but so far, I haven't had any unsolvable issues, so I haven't pushed for it. I think she's had one teacher give her some grief but I got that nipped in the bud with a quick conversation and everything was fine. It's in her IEP that Olivia is allowed to test in class and allowed to treat lows in class, as long as they aren't anything below a 50. If she has one that low, she is escorted to the nurse's office.

If you don't have a 504, I strongly urge you to get one. STRONGLY. Before Olivia was on an IEP, she was on a 504 and while we never had any real issues with O's care during school, I have heard some absolute horror stories. The 504 will banish all of those. If you get any grief about getting one, there are people out there who are more than willing to help you get one put in place. Don't let the school system cow you - some of them will try. They don't like 504s.

Hopefully that helped a bit, Kat. Navigating middle school has been challenging, but more for the drama and angst than for the diabetes issues. Sometimes, I'd rather have diabetes issues.

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