By. Martin Grandley
Your child has certain rights at school to protect him or her since diabetes has been classified as a disability. A recent court case from Connecticut ensued the right of a student to test her glucose level while she was in class, since it is necessary for the health of the child to maintain a certain glucose range, the family won the court case.
Both at home and at school, children who suffer from diabetes need special attention to manage their health needs. Since this care is necessary for their health, they are allowed to follow routines that other children would not.
There are many different types of diabetes, each requiring different considerations. Each child will have a specifically developed treatment for him or her. A program will have been be developed just for him or her by your child’s diabetes team. As a parent of a diabetic child, it is important for you and your child to know the rights of diabetic children within the school system. Whether your child is insulin dependent, or receives oral medications doesn’t matter.
You cannot make the assumption that your child’s school will initiate a program for your diabetic child, or even if they know the schools responsibilities. There are so many restrictions in schools about the use of medications that the diabetic child may be forbidden to do what he or she needs to do to stay healthy.
The best approach is to have a clear plan and begin by meeting with the school administration to discuss a plan for the child’s care during school hours. Make sure that it is in writing. This should be done as soon as the diagnosis is diabetes is known, and must be initiated as soon as the child’s treatment begins. Since diabetes is considered a disability, there are certain measures that must be taken and cannot be denied, in order to remain compliant with the law, under the Disability Act.
Here are items to have in the written plan:
- The school must have staff members properly trained in testing of blood
samples, and recognizing the symptoms of hypoglycemia (elevated blood sugar)and hyperglycemia (decreased blood sugar).This staff must be available to administer insulin or glucagons, as necessary;
- Your child must be permitted to routinely test his or her blood glucose levels, either in the classroom or some other designated area, and be able to treat the effects of hypo- or hyperglycemia (with a snack or medication);
- The child must be allowed to participate in sports, field trips and other
extracurricular activities, and any necessary supervision or assistance must
- The child must be permitted to eat a snack or lunch whenever it is
necessary, even outside of snack or lunch break time in the school program.
The child must be given adequate time to finish eating;
- Your child must be permitted to use the bathroom or go to a water
fountain whenever necessary, or be permitted to bring a drinking container
of water into the classroom. The school may require that the container be
- Your child must be permitted time off for medical appointments or issues related to the diabetic condition, without recrimination or harassment.
- The school must allow your child to go on school outings, and must also provide a trained staff person to assist with your child’s medical needs. You should not be told to take time off work to accompany your child or that you have to hire your own private nurse. The school is responsible to provide a nurse, chaperone or other adult staff person, that is properly trained in the diabetic needs of your child, as well as in medical emergencies that may arise as a result of your child’s disability.
Some schools may believe that meeting these requirements is not part of maintaining a strict learning environment, and that parents and children must simply adapt within the established framework of the school. In these situations, you should be prepared to fight for our child’s rights.
Martin Grandley runs the website Diabetes Firm which a site dedicated to diabetes issues and contains all the very latest news and views diabetes related. For more details please visit http://www.diabetesfirm.com