How to manage Type 1 diabetes at school

After your child receives a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, you may wonder, “What about school?” It’s understandable for parents to be concerned about how their child will manage Type 1 diabetes at school. Federal law gives students the right to receive the diabetes care they need to be safe and participate in school activities. Learn about your child’s rights and what you can do to make sure your child is managing Type 1 diabetes at school.

 

Your child’s rights at school

Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as other state and federal laws, outline the legal protections for children with diabetes. According to federal law, schools should provide:

  • Trained staff to monitor blood sugar levels and administer insulin and glucagon
  • Trained staff to provide diabetes care during field trips, extracurricular activities and all school-sponsored events
  • That capable students be permitted to self-manage their diabetes anytime, anywhere

 

Schools should not:

  • Make parents or guardians go to school to care for the student’s diabetes
  • Transfer a student to a different school to get needed diabetes care
  • Prevent a student with diabetes from participating in activities such as field trips, sports and other school-sponsored events

 

Under Indiana law, non-health care professionals are allowed to provide diabetes care. Additionally, if a school has a child with diabetes:

  • The child is allowed to self-manage the condition anytime, anywhere.
  • The child is allowed to carry diabetes supplies, such as needles, insulin and testing devices.
  • A principal must recruit a volunteer, unlicensed health aid to be trained by a health professional to:
    • Check glucose and ketone levels and record results
    • Administer glucagon, insulin or other emergency treatments as prescribed

 

Under Kentucky law, non-health care professionals are allowed to provide diabetes care. Parents must provide the medication, give the school written authorization to administer the medicine and submit written authorization from the student’s health care provider. School districts must have at least one school employee on duty at each school to administer or help administer care to students. A school district must allow children to attend the school they would attend if they didn’t have diabetes, unless they require care by a licensed health care professional at a different school. Additionally, if a school has a child with diabetes:

  • The child is allowed to self-manage the condition anytime, anywhere, upon written request of the parent or guardian and the authorization of the child’s health care provider. A private area to perform diabetes care can be made available upon request of the parent or student.
  • The child is allowed to carry diabetes supplies, such as needles, insulin and testing devices.

Wendy Novak Diabetes Center

UofL Physicians – Pediatric Endocrinology
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes care

Call (502) 588-3400

Things you can do to

It’s likely your child isn’t the first child with Type 1 diabetes the school has experienced. If needed, there are steps that you and your child’s diabetes care team can do to coordinate your child’s care:

Join the Type 1 Club

It’s a place for kids and teens with Type 1 diabetes and their families to turn for support, education and fellowship.

Learn more

  • Set a meeting to create a plan. Schedule a conversation to go over your child’s diagnosis and specific needs to develop a care plan to be followed during the school day. Consider inviting the principal, your child’s teacher(s) and any school medical staff. The Wendy Novak Diabetes Center can help provide recommendations for its patients.
  • Set up a 504 Plan. Under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, schools are required to accommodate any special needs your child with diabetes has. A 504 Plan formalizes what your child’s school must do to accommodate your child’s condition at school. See a sample 504 Plan from the American Diabetes Association.
  • Make sure all health forms are up to date.
  • Know your child’s schedule. It may sound simple, but a child’s school schedule, such as times for lunch, extracurriculars, early dismissals or half days, etc., will affect the child’s insulin schedule.Knowing the schedule can help you and your child plan, so you both know what is supposed to happen — and what to do in case there are last-minute changes.

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