Advice from the PEP Squad: Back-to-School Support
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Ok, so school is starting next month. Already having anxiety! My 7 yr old is unaware of lows. Looks, acts, and talks the same for all lows. What are your thoughts and suggestions? What about when there is a substitute? Any other suggestions, what works for you?
Try getting a pump pouch that's big enough for him to carry it with him at all times. I think that would work out great!
My daughter has a bag she carries with her through school. She uses one of those cinch sport backpacks for ease of carrying. The school should have a folder specifically for subs that has information like that about each student. Every teacher my daughter has isn't trained on glucagon, but they have a good number of staff that is trained and not far away at any given time.
Due to HIPPA rules, they say they can't disclose a student's medical issue to the whole staff. I told them that I would gladly sign a waiver. I wanted everyone – teachers, custodians, cooks, etc – to be aware of her dx so if she's slumped in the hall, they would have a good idea why.
Some of the kids in our school district have an aide assigned to them specifically for their diabetes. Call a meeting with the team. Bring a letter from your physician. Hopefully things will go smoothly but also be prepared for the battle with copies of your logs to prove your point. You have to be your child's advocate don't sit back and expect the school just to offer. With school budget cuts they try to squeak by with the least amount of costs as possible.
My guy is 7 also and sometimes doesn’t know when he’s low. We had certain testing times and he also had to have his diabetes back pack with him at all times with his extra supplies. My child is pretty shy and quiet, but we worked on a reward system with stickers. It worked very well.
Also, my son’s tester was on his desk at all times. He did really well last year and is getting better at recognizing lows. He also has a watch that is set and goes off before the nurse gets to the room to test. So, when the alarm goes off he tests whether or not the nurse is there yet.
My daughter, now 15, was first diagnosed at 9. She does not recognize any symptoms. Her blood will all of a sudden drop low. She has nonverbal learning disorder and ADHD. I had a container in every room that she went to with juice boxes, granola bars, and a glucagon.
Also, in every room that she went to, on the wall, just above the light switch I had a picture of her with a postcard under the picture listing what to do in emergency, so that substitutes could see it.
My daughter has nursing orders and a 504 which allows for a nurse during school hours and testing accommodations. I also request a meeting with all teachers and at least 1 AP at the beginning of the school year to go over protocol and emergency procedures. My daughter carries a shoulder bag on her with all her testing supplies, glucagon and glucose tablets. I also leave juice and water in the classroom. Good Luck!
Jack carries a bag with him. He checks in class and is never to be in the halls alone. We also had the whole school trained on glucagon. The nurse calls the room and let's it ring once for check time then he does what the pump says, treats high or low in class. He stops down at lunch for help with carbs
When my son was in elementary school, the school nurse was fantastic. She helped in so many ways - would even go on field trips with him if I couldn't. School nurses are an invaluable resource!
They need to notify you about any subs so you can be there if needs be. I don't think you can demand who learns the glucagon. It has to be a volunteer situation, but hopefully they will have a good handful of teachers and office staff who learn.
Buy a fanny pack that he keeps his monitor and a few supplies in that he takes with him. That's what my kids do. And yes, request the teacher carries it. You can also fill some small containers to have in specific rooms with supplies/snacks for lows. Also demand the recess aides carry the pack at recess, or minimally a walkie-talkie to call for help if he goes down. Quick response is key.
Focus on education of all key school personnel. I prepare a folder at the beginning of the school year for everyone...trained back-ups to the nurse: PE teachers, music teacher, art teacher, classroom teacher. Remember we live with it 24/7....they don't. I use quite a few forms from the American Diabetes Safe at school site.
My daughter's picture is included in the folder. It is a full description of how to recognize highs and lows with her and what to do, who to call and when to call. It is the same folder they leave for substitute teachers. Teacher sends me a note for her planned absences. When I know she will be out, I drill my daughter on speaking up and paying attention more to the time. I also let school nurse and back-ups know there is a sub that day.
I will give you the perspective from a teacher's point of view, since I have aT1 child in my class. (I am a bit prejudiced because I always keep my own T1 child in mind.) Anyhow, the most important aspect of this situation for me is to have contact with the child's mom. I e-mail her when anything is different or food is involved with any activity. She will come on all field trips with us too. I always check with the nurse at lunch for any unusual readings. I feel like the school nurse, mom and I are a team and that's the way it should be.
Make friends with the teacher and let her or him know that you want to work with as a team. That way even though your child doesn't know the lows, the teacher knows. Good luck with this challenge!
I know when we have 504 meetings or IEP meetings and the parent brings an advocate, the administration pays attention. It's sad if it comes to that, but your child is #1!