In exactly 2 weeks from today my daughter Aly starts the 3rd grade and even after the last 4 years of her going to the same school (she was in Kindergarten for 2 years) I still always wonder if she is safe at school.
We found out last week that we will be having a NEW nurse AGAIN! This will be the 4th nurse in 4 years to come through our school. Each year I have to go in and explain T1D, make sure they understand my daughters’ management plan, and make sure they understand proper treatment of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
If you have a child who is going to school and has Type 1 Diabetes I am sure that you probably have dealt with the school nurse more than you ever imagined that you would before diagnosis. The school nurse and school staff are the safe keepers of our children when they are not in our supervision while at school and extra-curricular activities. They are the ones that we must trust with our children’s safety and well-being while they are not in our hands.
When you are discussing the management of your child’s Type 1 Diabetes with the school nursing staff the 1st thing that you are going to want to have laid out is a Diabetes Medical Management Plan. Each child with diabetes is unique in his or her treatment, developmental and intellectual abilities and levels of assistance required for their management. The goals of the Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) is to promote normal or near normal blood glucose with minimal episodes of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, normal growth and development, positive mental health, and academic success. The Diabetes Medical Management Plan should be completed by the student’s personal diabetes care team, including the parents/guardian. It should be reviewed with relevant school staff and copies should be kept in a place that can be accessed easily by the school nurse, trained diabetes personnel, and other authorized personnel. Managing Type 1 diabetes at school is most effective when there is a partnership among students, parents, school nurse, health care providers, teachers, counselors, coaches, transportation, food service employees, and administrators.
A 504 plan is another necessity when talking to your child’s school about their diabetes management. A 504 plan is a plan developed to meet the requirements of a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly referred to as "Section 504"). The 504 plan holds the school legally responsible for following what is written in it and if items in the 504 plan are not followed legal action can be taken against the school where a DMMP cannot because it is just a guideline on how to manage Type 1 Diabetes and does not incorporate the who, what, where, and when of management
Section 504 applies to all public schools and to private schools that receive federal funds. The same plan would also be appropriate under another law that protects students with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA covers all public schools and all private schools except those run by religious institutions. (If the religious institution receives federal funds it is also covered.) You can view a sample 504 plan here
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL CHILDREN DIAGNOSED WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES QUALIFY FOR A 504 PLAN If your school denies you a 504 plan, or tells you that it is not necessary, remember that your child has the right, under federal law, to receive one. Crystal Jackson is the American Diabetes Association's Manager of Legal Advocacy. She can help you determine the appropriate steps to take in resolving this issue. She can be reached at (888) 342-2383 Ext. 2108. You may have to leave a message, but she will get back to you.
We all want to know that our children are in great hands while they are at school so I hope these few tidbits of information can help you and your child have an amazing school year.