When Alissa was diagnosed at the age of 11, neither we nor the school staff knew much about diabetes.
We drafted the following information which we adapted and changed at the beginning of each school year, providing a sheet to the school and requesting that it be handed to all her teachers and posted on the staffroom noticeboard.
We included a recent photograph of Alissa so that visiting or supply teachers had a visual cue to help pick her out from the rest of the class.
Here are the key points that we included on the sheet:-
Brief info about your child – how long ago they were diagnosed, whether they’re on injections or an insulin pump
Symptoms of low blood glucose levels – these vary from child to child. Put the main three or four symptoms in a bullet pointed list, for example, dizzyness, sweating, confusion, etc
Sugar and snacks – ensure that the teacher knows that it’s essential that your child is permitted to eat snacks or sugar without drawing attention to themselves.
Feeling ill – if your child feels ill, the staff need to know that they should be accompanied to see the staff in the medical room.
How to help – usual location of sugar/glucose if your child is unable to locate it for themselves. Importance of giving a snack when your child is feeling able to eat it.
When to call an ambulance – this helps staff realise that this is not an overreaction to an unconscious child, but the right and appropriate response.
Contact information – for parents, also phone number of diabetic nurses in emergencies.
It's also worth getting to know the staff who handle day to day medical care - usually support staff, in Alissa's case, the reception team.
Getting to know them means that they'll be happy to 'phone you in an emergency or just to chat and let you know that your child wasn't feeling well, but is bow happy to go back to their lesson.
Hypoglycemia & Hyperglycemia - what happens during a hypo and what you can do to help prevent them
Type 1 Diabetes - what it is and what's known about it
The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin