We asked Debbie Butler, a clinical social worker, who works in the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Unit at Joslin, for some useful tips on how parents, teachers and children can help ensure that the transition back to school goes smoothly for all involved.
What parents of children with diabetes should say to teachers:
Debbie recommends that parents arrange a time to speak with their child’s nurse and teacher before school starts. This allows the school staff to gain a general understanding of diabetes and what is involved in their student’s diabetes management plan and who is responsible for each diabetes task.
What children with diabetes should say to teachers:
While Debbie encourages parents to cover most of the communication and preparation with the teacher, children should feel comfortable speaking with their teacher when they are not feeling well and when they need to check their blood sugar.
What questions teachers should ask parents of children with diabetes:
It is also important for the school staff to communicate with the parents as well.
“The school nurse and teachers should communicate with the parents and ask the child’s parent(s) what precautions they should take,” she explained. “Every child with diabetes is different. Also, some children can be very private about their diabetes so the teacher may want to discuss this with the parents as well, and how diabetes should be handled in the classroom.”
She stresses that open and ongoing communication among parents, children, and the school staff is the most important aspect of diabetes management at school.
“Communication is critical between the parents, the child, and the school nurse and teacher(s)throughout the school year,” she commented. “We suggest that parent(s) check-in with their child occasionally throughout the year to see how things are going at school and if there is anything that the teacher or school nurse should know about."