I came across this photo the other day while looking through an old file marked “diabetes stuff”. It is a picture of Logan’s first day of school, only about a month after his T1D diagnosis. He was a little under three and a half years old. It made me realize how far we have come as a family and it also made me think “Was he really that little when he was diagnosed?”
It’s not the beginning of a school year, but it’s always a good time to revisit resources that provide helpful information to make the transition to school easier when it comes. It’s also a good time to think about how things are going in the current year and if there is anything that needs to be addressed.
We have had different experiences every start of a school year, not one has been the same so we continue to learn and adjust as we go along. All schools are different, and all children are different so there isn’t one best way to approach it, though I would say that diplomacy can be a good skill to have.
D-Mom’s are different too, and sometimes it’s hard not to let our emotions get the best of us when we are feeling frustrated in the middle of a 504 meeting or when we are butting heads with a faculty or staff member. (A side note- I was in the middle of getting my Special Ed teaching license prior to moving to Colorado. I have been on both sides of the fence and every situation is unique, in which I believe they should be treated that way. I write this entry from the perspective of me, the parent, the mom…the Mama Bear ;)).
This reminds me of a time when we were feeling challenged by a school situation. It was a combination of things and we were trying to sift through them to figure out which one should be addressed first, though the lack of regard for the seriousness of T1D was at the top of our list. Let it be known that it wasn’t everyone that we encountered at school that felt this way, only a few, but sometimes it only takes a few.
On the morning of the first day of school, we took Logan’s supplies in, and sent him on his way. Later that day we had to stop by with some paperwork and we found Logan in the hallway, all by himself. We asked him where he was going and he seemed a little confused. At first I thought it was because of his new schedule, but then I realized that it was his blood sugar. We took him into the health room and he was 42! Talk about emotional, I was irate. I looked at my husband and said through a clenched smile, “You’ll have to be the one to talk to someone about this because I am so mad that it will be completely unproductive“.
After getting Logan’s blood sugar back in range and getting him back to class, my husband talked with the staff. There had been some confusion as to when and who was going to check Logan’s blood sugar. I truly believe that it was never intentional, but it did not stop me from being angry. I don’t like to be angry, it doesn’t feel good and nothing is ever resolved. So instead of being angry I became even more diligent in making sure that everyone knew exactly when and where Logan would have his blood sugar checked, mind you that is why we have the 504 meeting, to make sure everyone knows what is going on and who is responsible for his care. It is a legal document.
We have experienced all types of scenarios in a school environment, what we have learned over and over is not to let your emotions get in the way and to make sure the roads of communication are open and working. It takes everyone’s involvement and active participation to make sure all goes as planned, and if doesn’t go as planned, then to know what to do in that scenario as well.
Both the JDRF and the ADA websites have some wonderful resources and tips on working with your child’s school. Every situation will be different, you will be able to take the information and apply it to your own personal situation.
We have experienced situations in school where the staff is very open about us advocating and have allowed Logan talk to his classmates about T1D and then we’ve had situations where the school preferred that we didn’t share the information. However it may work out for you and your family, always trust that the right people will be there to help you along the way, and most of the time, they are the ones that you would least suspect.