School and Diabetes
Are you on your own at school when you’re dealing with diabetes? Not at all. Your teachers, coaches, school nurse, and even your friends can help you out. But they can’t help if they don’t know what you need — or if they don’t know that you have diabetes. So how can you let them know? Let’s find out.
Do People at School Know?
The best way to get started is for your mom or dad to meet with teachers and others at your school to talk about helping you manage diabetes. That way, teachers and other school staff will know you have diabetes. They will know you need to check your blood sugar, take medication, or maybe visit the nurse sometimes.
Your parents can bring a copy of your diabetes management plan to school so people there will know how to handle any problems that come up. Of course, you’ll need to do your part to take care of yourself at school. These steps will help:
- Be prepared. The things you need to take care of your diabetes at home, you’ll also need to have at school. Your parent can help you pack your diabetes stuff, like medicines, testing supplies, lunch, snacks, water, and any other things that your doctor recommends. And make sure to wear your medical identification necklace or bracelet.
- Speak up. You need to do certain things to manage your diabetes, like test your blood, have a snack, or take medicine. Sometimes you’ll be in a situation that’s hard to interrupt (like taking a test). But speak up anyway. When you can, let your teacher know in advance that you’ll need to step out. If a new teacher or coach doesn’t know about your diabetes, tell the person or have your mom or dad write a note.
- Know what to do if you have a problem. Find out who can help you if you have a question or health emergency. If the school nurse isn’t in, is there someone else who can help? Should you or the school call your doctor or your parent? Which kinds of problems can wait until after school and which ones need to be handled right away?
- Keep your parents informed. Let parents know about any changes, problems, or issues that you noticed during the day at school. They might decide to call your doctor about it.
Should You Tell Other Kids?
You don’t have to announce to the world you have diabetes, but you’ll probably feel better if people close to you understand. Your mom or dad might be able to help you come up with a way of explaining it. You might say something simple like: “I have diabetes, which means I have to check the sugar in my blood and take medicine. If I don’t do it, I’ll get sick.”
Some kids will tease anyone who is the slightest bit different from anyone else. Diabetes makes you a little different, so someone might tease you about it. If this happens, you might just tell the kid you have diabetes and give your short explanation. If that doesn’t work, feel free to ask for help from a parent, teacher, or counselor. Your friends can also help. For instance, they could say: “Knock it off. Diabetes is no big deal.”
But sometimes diabetes can feel like a big deal. If you feel that way, be sure to talk with a parent, counselor, or another person who can help. Just talking it out can help you feel better — at school, home, or wherever you are.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013