Parents with a child living with diabetes starting school this year urged to begin planning now.
Sending a child to school after a diabetes diagnosis or for the first time can be an anxious time for the child, parents and school staff. Good early communication and common understanding between parents and the school are key.
For parents, the challenge of leaving your child on their own and/or under the care of others can be very stressful so good preparations and effective communication with the school staff could help to reduce the feeling of uncertainty.
New guidelines prepared by the National Clinical Programme and recently published by the HSE provide useful information and a number of tools and easy to follow actions to help school staff to understand Type 1 diabetes and the needs of their pupil. Diabetes Ireland strongly recommends involving the child’s diabetes team early in the process and the guidelines will be of great help.
The ‘Meeting the Care Needs of Primary School Children with Type 1 Diabetes during School Hours’ document sets out clear guidelines that will help structure the conversation and preparations between the family, diabetes team, and school staff. It explains diabetes and diabetes management to teachers and school staff and sets out clear lines of responsibility for all partners.
It also helps to helps to determine the need for non-teaching support (Special Needs Assistance) and for the first time presents different levels of support needs for children with diabetes based on age and diabetes management skills.
Professor Nuala Murphy, Consultant Endocrinologist and National Clinical Lead in Paediatric and Neonatology who led the team that developed the guidelines said: ‘I hope that school leaders and every family of a child with diabetes will familiarise themselves with these recommendations and find the practical tools helpful in managing the care needs of children with diabetes during the school day’.
Diabetes Ireland was heavily involved in the development of this document. ‘We are delighted, that after years of preparation and the involvement of many people, to see the document finally launched. Parents of children with diabetes, teachers, SNAs call us frequently for support and advice. This document will be a tremendous resource for everyone in ensuring the safety of the child and their happiness in school’. highlights Dr Kate Gajewska, Diabetes Ireland Research and Advocacy Manager.
Diabetes Ireland has developed a very informative information section for parents and teachers on their website https://www.diabetes.ie/living-with-diabetes/child-diabetes/school-and-diabetes/ where you can download the Meeting the Care Needs of Primary School Children with Type 1 Diabetes during School Hours document and find lots of useful information on caring for a child with diabetes in the classroom.
Prof. Murphy also adds: ‘We hope that this document will improve the communication between the paediatric diabetes teams, families and school staff, and it will be used as a helpful resource in maintaining the safety and diabetes control of the child with diabetes during the school day.”