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Effective Type 1 Diabetes communication with your child's teachers

Edited: 17.04.2024

Phong Nguyen

HelloType1 Coordinator Vietnam, A4D

1. A safe environment for diabetes management in school

Children will spend most of their time in school and the teachers play an important role in the lives of students, especially those living with Type 1 Diabetes. To be a great support in creating a safe and inclusive environment for children with Type 1 Diabetes, teachers may need to learn about Type 1 Diabetes. Understanding Type 1 Diabetes helps teachers create a school environment where kids with Type 1 Diabetes feel safe and included.

One of the most important things here is effective communication among parents, children with Type 1 Diabetes, and teachers. Here, we'll present some tips on communication. The goal is to make sure every student has what they need to feel safe, be themselves, and be happy.

2. Effective communication with teachers helps with managing diabetes in school

If you have a child with Type 1 Diabetes, it is important to talk to your child's teachers about Type 1 Diabetes management in school so that your child stays safe and healthy. The first step is to inform the teachers of your child's Type 1 Diabetes so they can help handle your child's Type 1 Diabetes needs and emergency situations. Parents can show teachers how to do blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration. This way, teachers may act fast if something goes wrong, like giving them glucose snacks or calling for help.

By using visual images, like those on HelloType 1's website, teachers can better understand your child's condition to help with diabetes management in school. Other essential considerations for your child include letting him take snacks in class (even before the break time, whenever necessary), going for regular blood glucose checks, and modifying some physical activities.

From someone who has Type 1 Diabetes, "Making modifications has been very helpful to stay focused on one's studies. It is okay to help yourself, like eating (as long as you ask first), especially if you're feeling low during class. It is important to make these changes because not handling hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia could lead to emergencies. Balance is important for getting good results from learning."

Finally, declaring your child's Type 1 Diabetes to the teacher will encourage them to promote an inclusive and equal environment by educating other students about the condition. This will create an environment of kindness and understanding where no child is picked on and all have the same chances to participate and do well in school.

"Just because someone has Type 1 Diabetes does not mean we cannot do similar things. We can do it! To effectively manage our blood glucose, we need to think about a few more things. But it is very important to treat everyone equally," said someone living with Type 1 Diabetes.

3. Initiate an open conversation and keep communication going about managing diabetes in school

When your child is first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, it helps a lot to let the teacher know if your child needs special things at school, like snacks or water, or if they have to check their blood sugar regularly. Scheduling a meeting to discuss your child's Type 1 Diabetes management routine helps your child focus on learning and not worry too much about diabetes management in school. Giving teachers Type 1 Diabetes educational tools that are easy to understand can help them learn Type 1 Diabetes faster. In case the teacher is out, a secondary responsible person, such as the head of the school, may be appointed to support in handling diabetes emergencies.

Based on a Type 1 Diabetes point of view, "Since Type 1 Diabetes may not be well known, it was helpful when my parents told my teachers and nurses about my condition. One example is sharing about possible hypoglycaemia situations - how teachers may watch out and know how to help treat."

Keeping in touch with the teacher throughout the school year can help your kid stay on top of their schoolwork. Finding the right balance is the key to doing well in school and learning better. Ensure teachers know that they have your support and let them know of any updates in your child's diabetes management in school. This could be about changing the amount of insulin you take or your meal plans, or it could be about updating your emergency contact information.

4. Working together to empower your child

At school, it is important to let the teacher know if your child needs to inject insulin at a specific time (e.g. 15 minutes before lunchtime to pre-bolus). This will include regular checks on the blood glucose level and easy access to things like fast-acting glucose snacks. If you can, show the teacher how to check blood sugar with a glucometer. This will make it easier for the teacher to understand how it works. As much as possible, you may ask the teacher to support your child in handling their Type 1 Diabetes even if they are pretty young. This will help them become more independent and improve their self-care skills.

"I think it is normal for some teachers to worry about our Type 1 Diabetes based from experience. But telling my teachers that I am doing fine is helpful. We might just need extra help in case of an emergency. But we can still take part in physical education classes and other activities like any other student. Whenever I do sports training, I let the coach know ahead of time that I might need to check my blood glucose level and eat carbohydrates during breaks so that I don't get too low from continuous activity," said someone living with Type 1 Diabetes.

5. From the point of view of a healthcare professional

Being a caregiver for someone with Type 1 Diabetes can be both very hard and very satisfying. As a doctor, I understand the importance of effective communication when it comes to managing Type 1 Diabetes in a school setting. For parents or guardians of kids or teens with Type 1 Diabetes, staying in touch with their teachers is very important to make sure that they are secure and comfortable while they are at school. Having teachers on board when it comes to care can really help with diabetes management in school. Parents who voice their child's Type 1 Diabetes in school and communicate with the teachers are also fighting for their child's right to be treated equally and get a good education.

6. Being grateful and open

Being a Type 1 Diabetes may not stop your child from doing what other people do. Please remember to thank your child's teachers for all the work they do to help them learn and grow. Thank them for all the work they have done to help your child deal with the challenges of Type 1 Diabetes while still doing well in school and with friends. Caregivers and teachers who get along well and help each other can make a big difference in your child's general health and success. As parents of kids with Type 1 Diabetes, you can build a strong relationship with their teachers by starting open conversations, giving them all the information they need, working together, staying in touch, and giving them the tools they need.

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You are not alone!

There are many people who have the condition.

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