Educating the educator

In caring for children with type 1 diabetes (T1D), educational professionals must understand the key points in how a child manages their diabetes in a classroom setting, and also the proper procedures if a medical situation arises. Included in this section are suggested checklists and guidelines that will assist with educating school staff in diabetes management. It is essential that these tools be modified to suit your child’s individual needs.

  • Approximately four to five weeks before school starts (or as early as possible), call the school and communicate to the secretary that you have a child with T1D that will be attending their school. If your child is diagnosed during the school year, notify the school immediately.
  • Set up a meeting with the appropriate school staff when it is convenient for both parties. The goal of the meeting is to review and agree on an action plan to provide the best and safest learning environment possible for everyone, and to educate the staff about T1D. Many provinces will have a standard care plan for children with diabetes.
  • Contact your diabetes health care team and see if they are available to assist with the training. (This varies with each province. For example, in British Columbia, Nursing Support Services or a Community Health Nurse would assist.)
  • At the scheduled meeting, provide information to help the school gain an understanding of T1D and the daily management of your child’s diabetes. Topics of discussion may include:
    • What is T1D? (i.e. basic overview, symptoms)
    • Daily management of T1D (i.e. blood glucose monitoring, insulin delivery methods)
    • Review symptoms of hypoglycemia, treatment and emergency procedures/kit
    • Discuss the timing of snacks and meals, and the effects of exercise and illness
    • Discuss situations requiring communication/coordination (i.e. lessons with food, treats, birthdays, field trips, field day, early dismissals, substitute teachers, fire drills)
    • Discuss safety on the playground, recess, and lunch periods
    • Review the Diabetes Management Plan
    • Discuss expectations and roles of everyone involved
    • Time for questions and answers
  • Complete the Diabetes Management Plan/Care Plan and review it with the staff. Request that a copy be kept at the front of the teacher’s daily planner, in the classroom and at the school office. If there are changes to the Diabetes Management Plan during the school year, it is important to update all copies.
  • Review the Diabetes Management Plan on a regular basis and keep the lines of communication open.
  • Most importantly – let the school staff know that you are appreciative of their support.