School's Open… Arrrghhh!
A parent's guide to all things back to school
By Tom Karlya
March 2013 — Well, even though it is the middle of summer for most kids, clearly we will hear the sound of that school house bell in the not-too-distant future.
There is always excitement and nervousness as kids return to school. "Will I really be pushed into a locker?" is the thought of many elementary kids beginning middle school. (Truth be known, I have never heard that has actually happened.)
New school, new grade, just beginning, just ending — I honestly believe that in all of the gatherings that we face with our children with diabetes, it is school that intimidates us the most. Every year, from start to end, I am sent stories that enlighten me as much as they frustrate me, humor me as much as they anger me. So I have some tips and some websites for you to take a look at as we get ready for school.
One of the best places to start your search on what to do is the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) ‘Back to School Tips.'
Here you will find:
Back to school checklists
Information on standardized testing
Other informational links
You should also look at the ADA's page about the 504 plan. It is a must read before you begin school.
These plans are important to discuss with school officials so that your child with diabetes has everything he or she needs for the school year.
During the summer months, start working with your children on having them check their own blood sugar levels. If they are not ready, don't push the issue, but the more they can take on themselves, the better they will feel about themselves.
Call the school nurse and meet with her to find out what you should provide for your child as far as ‘all of the extra' items that will be kept in the nurse's office. Label whatever is holding the supplies, as well as each item, with your child's name.
Do not forget to meet with the physical education teacher, the bus driver, and anyone who will be working with your child in after school activities, including coaches.
Diabetes does not care when and/or where it wants to dish out a severe low or high, but you should care greatly. A simple conversation can do much to ensure your child is well taken care of until they reach home.
Your child is in school. It is SO CRUCIAL to make sure your child is as involved as they want to be — diabetes should NOT hold them back from anything (Kaitlyn was even on cross-country running for a while). Anything and everything can be figured out and worked through.
As you get ready for school to begin, take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. Millions of kids have gone before you and millions more will come after. Our kids can do anything with diabetes, we just have to help them reach their goals.
A note on parties at school: Jill used to send a letter home to each parent in Kaitlyn's grammar school about what to do for parties. If you would like a copy, feel free to email me and I will share it with you.
I am a diabetes dad.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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