First, when planning for the school year it is always a good idea to seek support from your child’s diabetes team. The diabetes nurse will help with tips on when to blood glucose monitor in school and suggests targets to aim for, what advice to give to the school regarding glucose monitoring and insulin administration. The diabetes team should help with writing up the plan for diabetes (Personal Pupil’s Plan) care during school hours.
Personal Pupils Plan is a template that includes Contact Details, Insulin Administration information, and detailed info about Hypo and Hyperglycaemia of your child with diabetes. You can download it from HERE, print it and take for your next diabetes clinic appointment to discuss how and what to fill in. Then you can bring it to the school, so all concerned have the same understanding of the goals of diabetes management, the minimum safety requirements and describes when teachers/SNA’s interventions are necessary.
Such a plan is age-sensitive and should be regularly updated. It has been created and published by the HSE National Clinical Programme for Paediatric Diabetes guideline: Meeting the Care Needs of Primary School Children with Type 1 Diabetes during School Hours and is fully supported and co-authored by Diabetes Ireland.
The paediatric diabetes team is also best placed to determine the level of school support needed, as they know the diabetes management schedule and the child’s capabilities which may be influenced by age, time since diagnosis, family support, other medical and social issues.
For younger children the diabetes team may give a letter of recommendation for the need to have access to non-teaching support such as a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) to help with diabetes management during school. Read more about SNAs role at schools here https://www.diabetes.ie/special-needs-assistants-and-non-teaching-support
The dietitian will be able to offer helpful advice about suitable school lunches, snack ideas and what to eat around exercise and play time. If you have not had a chance to see a dietitian, see more information about what to include in a lunch box here https://www.diabetes.ie/lunchtime/
Also, talk to your child, make sure that they understand the importance of eating their lunch and snack, make sure they know that they need to eat extra on days of activity, be satisfied that they will inform the teacher if and when they feel unwell and talk to them about how they feel about testing blood glucose and/or giving insulin in school. Decide whether it should happen in a class-room, or a separate, quite room and agree on a common plan.