Students with Diabetes

With the childhood obesity epidemic, it comes as no great surprise to health officials that the rate of diabetes is soaring too. Yesterday, National Public Radio’s Rob Stein reported that in a study of more than 3,000 teens the percentage of teens with diabetes or “prediabetes” increased to a whopping 23%. Scroll down for a link to the complete story.

To be fair, diet and weight are not the only factors in the increase in childhood diabetes and not every child with Type 2 diabetes is overweight. Diabetes can also be caused by viruses that interfer with the body’s ability to produce its own insulin.

No matter what causes diabetes, as the rate of the disease grows among children, those children and their parents must learn to manage the child’s diabetes both at home and in the school setting.

Students with diabetes in North Carolina public and charter schools are permitted a care plan for their diabetes called an “Individual Diabetes Care Plan.” Parents need to make a written request for a plan, as the school may not offer it otherwise. The plan should be made involving the parent or guardian, the student’s health care provider, the student’s classroom teacher, the student if appropriate, the school nurse if available, and other appropriate school personnel.

A diabetes care plan should include the responsibilities and appropriate staff development for teachers and other school personnel, an emergency care plan, the identification of allowable actions to be taken, the extent to which the student is able to participate in the student’s diabetes care and management, and other information necessary for teachers and other school personnel in order to offer appropriate assistance and support to the student.

The information and allowable actions included in a diabetes care plan need to meet or exceed the American Diabetes Association’s recommendations for the management of children with diabetes in the school and day care setting.

Schools need to make available information and staff development to teachers and other school personnel in order to appropriately support and assist students with diabetes. N.C.G.S. §115C-12(31) and §115C-375.3.

Schools also need to comply Section 504 of the Rehabiliation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794, which prohibits discrimination based on disability 

The American Diabetes Association has a comprehensive campaign for parents and kids called “Safe at School” which can be utilized by parents and school personnel to educate themselves about the legal rights of students with diabetes and how to meet their needs in the school setting.  Here is the link.

Parents need to effectively and appropriately advocate for their child, not only to protect their child’s health but to model that appropriate advocacy for their child. Their child will need to learn to advocate for their own health care needs in order to stay safe and healthy.

Here is a link to the obesity news story: