Managing Diabetes and School

Whether a child was just diagnosed with diabetes this summer, or has had diabetes for years, now that the school year is well underway, many families have questions about school resources available for children with diabetes. It can be frightening for parents to send their children off to school with a health issue, such as type 1 diabetes, that requires round-the-clock care. Students have a right to safe diabetes care in school and this right is backed by state and federal laws. Now is a great time to review some of the systems in place to help keep kids with diabetes safe at school.

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New Classification System of Type 1 Diabetes

For many parents of children with type 1 diabetes, the life-changing diagnosis comes suddenly: The child has become dehydrated, resulting in a trip to the emergency room and sometimes life-threatening complications. Recently, researchers developed a classification system for the different stages of diabetes to help them understand how the disease progresses and identify type 1 diabetes before it progresses to a dangerous level.

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Type 1 Diabetes 101

If you, a friend or a loved one recently had a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you know how overwhelming this time can be. There is a lot to learn very quickly while coping with a big life change for the entire family.

One of the most important things I tell families of patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is that they are not alone, and I hope they’ll find friends, neighbors and family members who will support you when they find out what you’re going through. Many communities have a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) chapter and/or an American Diabetes Association (ADA) chapter that can help connect families of newly diagnosed patients to other families experiencing life with type 1 diabetes. Patient families can ask their diabetes healthcare team for information about health psychology which can help everyone cope with the new type 1 diabetes diagnosis and learn more about how this will affect their lives.

Here are some “nuts and bolts” about diabetes that may help families, friends, teachers and babysitters who want to learn more about diabetes and how they can help.

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