Back To School With Diabetes

African American boy eating school lunchStarting the new school year can be chaotic for most, but for parents of children with diabetes, it can be even more challenging. It means planning and preparing teachers and school staff to help keep your child safe during school days and at school-sponsored activities.

Whether your child has had diabetes for years or you are balancing school and diabetes for the first time, the following tips can help you and your child have an enjoyable and safe school year.

Take action. Notify the school right away that your child has diabetes. You don’t need to wait until the first day of school to ask for help. Schools are open over the summer to address any concerns you might have, including the specific needs of your child with diabetes. Share your child’s medical information and provide up-to-date emergency contact numbers. The best time to visit your child’s school is one to two weeks before school opens.

Understand disability laws. “Understanding disability laws for children with diabetes and knowing your child’s rights is crucial,” says diabetes educator, Sylvia White RD, CDE, owner of ParentingDiabetes.com, an educational site for parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is designed to help parents of students with disabilities in public schools, or publicly funded private schools, work with educators to design customized educational plans. These 504 plans legally ensure that students will be treated fairly at school. Diabetes will virtually always be found to be a disability under Section 504. Click here to learn more about School Responsibilities Under Federal Laws.