Middle Childhood Intervention: Module Two – Special Needs & Conditions

Category — 2.8. Children with Chronic Illness: Diabetes

Childrent with Chronic Illness: Diabetes

Children who are Chronically Ill

Parenting a child who is chronically ill can be very stressful for a family.  The family needs to deal with many medical appointments and financial costs are very high. The stress on family relationships may sometimes be too much. Each child and family is unique in how they deal with these stressors.

Children who Have Diabetes

Children with diabetes can be at a disadvantage in school, because they tend to be absent more often than other children. They sometimes perform less well academically than their peers because some of them miss many school days each year. Teachers can do the following to make sure that children with diabetes still feel that they belong in the classroom. The following can also help the classmates of children with diabetes feel that their peer is part of the classroom when he or she is not there physically:

  • Make outlines of class lessons and mail or email them to the family;
  • Write a “get well soon” card, get all the students to sign it, and send it to the family;
  • Periodically mention the child who is absent in order for his or her classmates not to forget about him or her.

Children with diabetes do not usually have Individual Education Plans (IEPs). The school nurse is usually involved in the child’s care and knows how and when to administer insulin (Fig. 1) (see ECI Glossary) (if needed) and what the signs of low or high blood sugar are.

Figure 1. Insulin

According to the BC Ministry of Education, children with diabetes are perfectly capable of fully participating in school activities and events. However, they:

  • May experience difficulty concentrating when their blood sugar level is either too high or too low;
  • May need to make frequent trips to the washroom;
  • May need to make frequent trips to the water fountain in order to get water;
  • May need to eat something before or after they engage in any physical activity.

Some children with diabetes will need to be monitored and extra help may be provided if the child needs it. Here are a few suggestions, adapted from the BC Ministry of Education:

  • Lines of communication should be kept open between the family and the school. Parents should update the school about any changes in their child’s condition;
  • An emergency plan should be put in place for what happens if the child suffers a medical setback;
  • Any change in the child’s behavior should be reported to the parents and perhaps to the school nurse;
  • The signs and symptoms of low and high blood sugar should be made known to those who work closely with the child;
  • Diabetes emergency kits should be made available;
  • “What to do in case of diabetes emergency” flyers should be posted throughout the school, while at the same time respecting the privacy of the child who has diabetes;
  • Classmates and other students should be made aware that they are not to share any of their food with the child who has diabetes, because he might be on a restricted diet.

Some children with diabetes may experience sadness because they may not be able to participate in certain types of sports or because they may be placed on a restricted diet. It is very important that the child’s mental health be monitored, and that regular session with the school counselor be provided, if and when they are needed.

To learn more about diabetes, please visit the birth to six section of this course.

Most children with diabetes grow up to become fully contributing members of society. They lead full and typical lives.

see References

August 26, 2012   No Comments