Getting Ready for School
By Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, diabetes nutrition educator, patient education writer, and winner of the Washington State Diabetes Educator of the Year Award, and Riva Greenberg, diabetes patient-expert, author, speaker and Huffington Post columnist.
What Your Child Should Pack Every Day to Care for Lows
Make sure your child is always prepared to manage his or her diabetes at school, including preventing and correcting low blood sugar. To help your child prepare to manage a low, pack these items in the bag he or she takes to school, and keeps nearby, every day:
- Glucose tablets, a glucose drink or a glucose gel
- One or two 4 or 6 oz. juice boxes - these require no refrigeration
- Your completed hypoglycemia Quick Reference Emergency Plan*
Tips and Tools for Parents and School Staff
School nurses, teachers, coaches, office support, and other staff members play an important role in helping students manage diabetes and care for lows. Through communication and collaboration with members of your child's school staff, you can provide support and assistance for your child's health, safety, and educational progress at school.
Helping your child's teacher, school nurse, and other school staff members know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar is very important. It is also important to involve your child in their diabetes management. Young children with diabetes need the assistance of their parents or caregivers, but as the child grows, so does their role in managing their diabetes.
Regarding your child's ability to prevent low blood sugar in general you can expect:
- Preschoolers need to rely on school caregivers for their diabetes care. Young children cannot recognize the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar.
- Children in grade school through middle school can begin to take responsibility for their diabetes care. Most children in this age group can independently perform many diabetes self care tasks such as checking their blood sugar. However, they still need teacher-staff involvement and support.
- During the high school years it is not uncommon for some teenagers to struggle for independence. Experts advise that parents work as partners with their teens to help them manage their diabetes. Teachers and school staff may still be a part of some teens diabetes care team.
*The Quick Reference Emergency Plan pdf was extracted from The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) guide: Helping the Student with Diabetes to Succeed in Schools: A Guide for School Personnel, page 53.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...