School

Your child's time at school makes up a major part of their life and their diabetes management. Your relationship with the school staff that will help take care of your child is vital to your child's well-being. Our care team is trained to help you facilitate this relationship for your child's benefit.

Catch up on our summer tips to make the most of your days off!

Read up on our tips and suggestions to get off to a great start this school year!

Is your child heading off to college? Read up on our tips for handling this transition smoothly.

Our guide for heading off to college offers specific advice for teens with T1D on what to expect and how to plan for the best.

 

Frequently asked questions

What do I need to do to go back to school?


Going back to school after a new diabetes diagnosis can be stressful. It is important that you are prepared to make the transition as smooth as possible. Be sure you have your supplies and tell the school what to do in case of emergencies, like extremely low blood sugars. Talk to your diabetes care team about developing a Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) and set up a meeting to create a 504 plan with your school administrators. If you have any questions about your child’s health, do not hesitate to ask us.




What is a School Plan (DMMP)?


A Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) outlines the specific care your child needs at school. Diabetes management is different for everyone. Some students inject insulin with a syringe and vial, some use insulin pens, and some use pumps and CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitors). Students often have different carb ratios, and require different amounts of insulin. Some students manage their diabetes independently, and some younger or newly diagnosed students may need help with all aspects of their diabetes care. Your pediatric endocrinologist's orders will be specific for your child's health and well-being. Drafting a DMMP takes place between you and your care team. This is typically done in the summer months before your child returns to school. Please do not hesitate until school is about to start to bring this issue to our care team, as we typically have higher volumes of forms to complete at this time.




What is a 504 Plan? Do I need one?


A 504 plan is a formal, legal action plan made with your child’s school that outlines the school's responsibilities in managing your child’s diabetes. For a sample 504 plan, click here.

It is a good idea for you to come up with a Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) with the school before each school year. The diabetes care team here at the University of Michigan can help facilitate this conversation if you would like. The 504 plan can help reinforce the commitments made in the DMMP.
Remember, the school staff are likely not medical professionals; be patient and remember that you are a team in taking care of your child's health and well-being.




My child's school won't let my child attend because they do not have a school nurse. What can I do?


It is not legal for your child to be barred entry to any public or private school that receives federal funding because of a T1D diagnosis. Even if your school does not have a nurse, all schools that receive public funds are required to train a responsible adult to carry out the Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP). They cannot exclude a child from school because of type 1 diabetes or force parents to come to school to handle the diabetes care activities. It is important to remember, the school staff are likely not medical professionals; be patient and remember that you are a team in taking care of your child's health and well-being. If you continue to have trouble with establishing the school's role in your child's care, you may contact us about creating a 504 plan.




My child's school wants me to come in and perform blood glucose checks and insulin injections. What can I do?


You are not required to leave work or disrupt your schedule to perform routine care for your child's diabetes while they are at school. Even if your school does not have a nurse, all schools that receive public funds are required to train a responsible adult to carry out the Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP). They cannot exclude a child from school because of type 1 diabetes or force parents to come to school to handle the diabetes care activities. It is important to remember, the school staff are likely not medical professionals; be patient and remember that you are a team in taking care of your child's health and well-being. If you continue to have trouble with establishing the school's role in your child's care, you may contact us about creating a 504 plan.




What supplies should I take to school?


Your Diabetes School Kit should include:

  • Extra glucose meter (if you don’t have an extra, ask us for one)
  • Blood glucose test strips
  • Juice boxes
  • Glucose tablets
  • Glucose gel
  • Glucagon Kit (if your school has a school nurse)
  • Granola bars or other small snack
  • Ketone strips
  • Bottled water (if your child won’t drink school water)
Your child should always have access to something to treat a low blood sugar. Snacks or glucose tablets should be kept in the on the student, in case of a fire drill/lock-down/shelter in place as well as in classroom, in the locker room and on the school bus. For younger children, ask the teacher to keep juice boxes or glucose tabs in their desk. Be sure any substitute teachers, including substitute bus drivers and office staff know about this arrangement. Older children should carry supplies in their backpacks or in their pockets.




Where should I keep my Glucagon at school?


It is very important that your Glucagon is kept somewhere accessible where others can find it in case of emergency. If you leave your Glucagon in your school's office, you need to have a plan in place for someone to retrieve and administer the shot. It is advisable that you leave your Glucagon on your person, possibly in a backpack or handbag.




What if my child gets low at school?


Highs and lows will happen at school, at home, and in many areas of your child’s life. Good diabetes management means responding quickly and calmly to correct blood sugar levels until they are back in target range. If your child is low at school, they should have access to a quick carb snack or glucose tablets or gel. Make sure your child’s teacher understands the need to have these supplies on hand and what to look for when your child is acting low. If your child loses consciousness, your child’s teacher or a responsive faculty member should have access to the child’s Glucagon Kit and be aware of how to give the injection. It is recommended that you review these steps with anyone who will be helping your child with their diabetes as a part of their T1D training.




What should I do during a test?


By establishing a 504 plan with your school, patients are allowed special accommodations during Michigan state tests such as M-STEP/PSAT/SAT/ACT. If you need a snack, you are allowed to have one present during the exam. You may have permission to use a cell phone to monitor CGM values, but you must receive approval for all test accommodations with the test proctor and the school staff ahead of time. For certain tests, a letter from your clinician must be provided to the College Board in order to receive these accommodations. The College Board approval process may take up to 8 weeks, so be sure to plan ahead. A good reminder is to discuss standardized testing dates during the fall at the same time you are reviewing your 504 with the school. Please contact the clinic if you have questions about these issues.




How do I tell my friends about my diabetes?


Talking about T1D with friends, family, and strangers can be difficult. Even if you are successful in managing your diabetes, it can be stressful discussing this personal information with new people in your life.
JDRF offers a free PDF on how to talk about T1D with friends, family, coworkers, and in a variety of situations here.




Who needs to know about my child’s T1D at school?


You and the school staff are partners in your child’s education and well-being. Strong and clear communication is crucial to the success of your child’s health. Staff you should consider educating about T1D include:

  • Principal
  • Nurse
  • Guidance Counselor
  • Teachers
  • P.E. Teacher
  • Latchkey / After-school program supervisors
  • Cafeteria staff
  • Coaches or extracurricular supervisors
  • Bus drivers

JDRF offers a free PDF that may help you in facilitating a relationship with your school here.




Are there scholarships for my college student with T1D?


There are several scholarships just for teens with type 1! Click below to learn more about the College Diabetes Network (CDN) and other scholarship opportunities.

Please note: These opportunities are typically open January-April. Check the Off to College (Teens) page for other opportunities.




How should I prepare for college life with T1D?


Moving away from home with T1D can be a scary thought, but it is very possible to have a happy and healthy experience at college with T1D. To prepare you for this new chapter in your life, please check out our Off to College (Teens) and Off to College (Parents) pages. Please also feel free to check out College Diabetes Network's "Off to College" booklets on their website and request a physical copy in clinic.





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