Things to know:
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) protects children with diabetes. Under these laws, diabetes is considered to be a disability. This makes it illegal for schools or daycare centers to discriminate against kids with diabetes. Any school that receives federal funding or any facility considered open to the public must reasonably accommodate the special needs of kids with diabetes. The needs of the student with diabetes must be provided within the child's usual school setting with as little disruption to the child or school as possible.
Diabetes Medical Management Plans (DMMPs)
You should be familiar with your individualized diabetes medical management plan (DMMP). The DMMP should be developed by your personal diabetes health care team with input from you and your parent or guardian.
The DMMP includes specific instructions for:
- Blood glucose monitoring
- Insulin administration
- Meals and snacks
- Symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia
- Symptoms and treatment of high blood glucose
- Checking for ketones
- Participating in physical activity
- Emergency situations/school evacuations
You and Your Parents' Responsibilities
You and your parents or guardian are responsible for providing the school with everything you need to take care of your diabetes:
- Blood glucose monitoring machines
- Insulin if needed and administration tools
- Urine or ketone testing materials
- Supplies to treat hypoglycemia
- Your meal and snack schedule (worked out at the beginning of the year with the school to make sure it can be maintained as closely as possible)
- Emergency phone numbers
You and your child are responsible for maintaining blood glucose monitoring equipment. For example, making sure it's cleaned and calibrated. You also have to ensure that materials are disposed of properly.
- Staff training
- Immediate accessibility to hypoglycemia treatment materials
- Ensuring insulin availability at the time set out by the students' DMMP
- Providing privacy for the student when monitoring blood glucose or taking insulin
- Storage space for blood glucose monitoring equipment, insulin, and glucagon
- Giving student permission to:
- Carry equipment, supplies, snacks
- Eat a snack anywhere to prevent hypoglycemia
- Miss school without consequences for illness and doctor’s appointments
- Use the restroom and have access to fluids if necessary
Optimally, the school nurse helps check blood glucose and ketones. The nurse may also administer insulin, glucagon, or other medications. More often, though, it's backup trained school personnel who's responsible for these aspects of your care.
It's helpful to have a separate logbook at school to keep track of blood glucose and ketone readings. It’s also useful to log when the blood glucose monitoring device is calibrated. You might also record this information on an app.
Usually, a signed release of confidentiality from the legal guardian or parent is required if you are under age 18 so the health care team can communicate with the school. Copies of these should be maintained at the school, at the health care professional's office, and with the parent.