Managing School: Tips for Teens with Diabetes (page 2)
There are a bazillion things to think about every school day. You wake up and drag yourself out of bed. Then there's breakfast
and brushing your teeth. Figuring out which shirt to wear. Tripping over the cat. Finding your homework (under the couch?). Well,
maybe that's not quite a bazillion but it's still early.
At school you have to remember all kinds of things: Show your work but not your doodles on math problems. Read that short
story by Monday. Get the field trip permission form signed and returned. The list is getting closer to a bazillion. Whatever you do, don't forget the after-school activities. Soccer practice. Babysitting, work, newspaper, and guitar lessons. Hanging out with your friends, volunteer work.
And just in case your list of things to remember hasn't quite reached a bazillion, there's this thing called diabetes. Blood sugar meters. Snacks. Insulin. Low or high blood sugar. Exercise, gym class. Being thirsty. Bathroom breaks. Lunch. A bazillion.
Am I the only one?
It may feel like you are the only kid in the world who has to worry about these things. You're not. Although you may be the only
one in your class. And this might make you feel very different and alone. If you look around your class, you will see a room full of differences. Big, little. White, brown. Talented, clumsy. Different languages, religions, beliefs, interests, and abilities. These things often make other kids feel different and alone, too. They may not have to worry about insulin or blood sugar levels but their worries make them feel alone too.
Some people find that talking about diabetes reduces the feelings of being alone and different. Sometimes they find someone else has diabetes. Or the people you talk to learn more about diabetes. They understand how you handle it and they realize this is just another part of you and your life. It's important for some people in your life to know what's going on in case you need
some help. But remember that for the most part, you get to decide who you talk to about your diabetes. Do what is comfortable for you.
Let's talk about some things you can do about those worries and concerns. Things that will help you manage your life as a person with diabetes.
Your Diabetes Team
Before we go any further, we should talk about your health care team. Everyone who has diabetes should build a health care team. You, with the help of your parent/guardian, should be the team captain. Other team members might be your doctor, nurse, diabetes educator, or dietitian. Your team might also include others who teach you and help you make decisions about your diabetes.
It’s very important that you be an active player on your diabetes team. It’s easy to leave diabetes care to your parents and not
pay much attention. But the more you participate in your care, the more healthy and confident you will be. Only you can know how you feel while you’re on your plan. If you often feel a little low after school, you should bring that up to your team and work together to make some changes. Being the captain of your team doesn’t mean that you do everything yourself. It’s up to you to work with your team to take care of your diabetes.
You Be the Teacher
Most people don't know much about diabetes, especially how young people deal with it. As you learn, you can help teach others. By doing that, you’ll make them smarter and the time you spend with them easier.
To help your principal, school nurse, teacher, and coach learn about what's going on with you, you and your family can put together a packet of information for them. The American Diabetes Association can give you suggestions on what needs to go
in the packet and point out some of the legal do’s and don’ts. Call 1.800.DIABETES and ask for an education discrimination packet. This packet explains diabetes, how it's treated, and how to recognize hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). You should add your personal information to the packet. This includes a description of your diabetes plan including a list of times you need to do a blood check, and the insulin or medication you take and when you take it. You should also include daytime phone numbers for your parent or guardian, and instructions on when to call them.
When you and your parent/guardian meet with your teacher, school nurse, coach, and principal, give them the packet and tell them your plan for taking care of your diabetes during school.
Your school needs to make sure that you are medically safe at school and that you can be a part of all school activities. Depending upon your age and how long you’ve been dealing with diabetes, you may be able to do all or most of your
diabetes care on your own. Or, you may need help from an adult at school who’s received training in diabetes care. Either way, at school you should be able to:
- Check your blood sugar any time you need to.
- Stick to your eating plan. This might mean snacks during class and changing your lunch period.
- Treat your low or high blood sugar any time.
- Give yourself insulin shots or other medicines that you’ve described in your diabetes plan.
- Get help if you need it.
- Go on field trips.
- Participate in sports and other activities.
The medical stuff, like when to check your blood sugar, when you need insulin, should be written down and signed by your doctor. You and your family might also choose to put other things down in writing ahead of time, like what happens on field
trips, that you can play on sports teams, and what to do if your blood sugar is really high or really low when its time to take the
final exam. Your plan should also cover after school detention, just in case, and your teachers should include information
about your diabetes care plan in their notes to substitute teachers.
So, you can see there are a lot of bases to cover in order to let everyone know what's going on with your diabetes at school.
That's why you should be sure to make diabetes education an annual thing with everyone at school.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Diabetes Association.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List