Starting School or Daycare
Sending your young child off to daycare or school for the first time can be a stressful
and emotional experience—for both of you! And when your child has type 1 diabetes
there are many additional concerns.
The good news is that most daycare and school facilities are already familiar with
diabetes care. And, if they are not, they will need to get up to speed very quickly.
That's because, by law, they are required to meet your child's diabetes care needs.
You will want to take an active role to ensure that this happens as smoothly as
possible. We're here to help you with this process.
Putting your child's care plan in writing is always a good idea. You don't have
to do this all on your own. Reach out to your child's diabetes care team and school
or daycare staff to create a plan that's manageable and that everyone can understand.
This way, everyone will know what to expect and how to help. Here are some of the
plans that are available.
This stands for Diabetes Medical Management Plan. One will need to be created for
your child so everyone involved in his or her care understands your child's individual
diabetes care needs. You and your child's diabetes care team will need to work together
on this and present it to your child's school or daycare facility.
Your DMMP will contain important information, such as when your child was diagnosed
with type 1 diabetes, emergency contacts, and specific instructions for:
- Blood sugar monitoring
- Taking insulin
- Meals and snacks
- Physical activity
- Dealing with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high
blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
- Checking for ketones
- Emergency evacuations
The DMMP goes into great detail, including what tasks your child can perform on
their own and what they will need help doing. It should be updated at least once
every year, or more often if necessary to keep up with changes in your child's regimen,
diabetes self-management ability, and school circumstances. For information on creating
a DMMP and to download a sample form, visit the American
Diabetes Association website.
Section 504 Plan
The Section 504 Plan is the next step to take after creating a DMMP. It is a written
strategy to help make sure students with diabetes have access to the same education
as children without diabetes. Based on the DMMP, the Section 504 Plan clearly outlines
the responsibilities of everyone involved: the student, the parents/guardians, and
school personnel. It acts as a game plan for working through challenges and avoiding
misunderstandings and problems.
It is called a Section 504 Plan because it was developed to meet the requirements
of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This federal law makes
it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities (under this law, diabetes
is considered a disability). Commonly referred to as "Section 504," it applies to
all public schools and to private schools that receive federal funds. For more information
on 504 Plans and to download a sample form, visit the
American Diabetes Association website.
This stands for Individualized Education Program (IEP). Usually an IEP is used to
outline what special education services or accommodations a child with a disability
needs. In many cases, children with type 1 diabetes do not need an IEP because everything
necessary is already covered in his or her Section 504 Plan. Other times, type 1
diabetes makes it difficult to learn. That's when it may make sense to work with
your child's school to create an IEP.
Special needs that you may want to consider including in your child's IEP could
- Having information repeated. Sometimes, especially during blood sugar highs
or lows, your child may not be able to concentrate and might need additional assistance
- Make-up tests as needed. If your child experiences a high or a low during
an exam, it should not be held against him or her. They should be allowed to retake
- Flexibility in attendance requirements. Especially in case of health-related
absences, including doctor visits
- Bathroom breaks. Approval to leave class to use the restroom as needed
- Diabetes management time. Allowing your child enough time to adjust or inject
their insulin, check their blood sugar, and complete meals and snacks
- Something to drink. Access to increased fluid intake as needed
For more detailed information on your child's rights in school or daycare, visit
the American Diabetes Association website,
the JDRF website, and the
Children with Diabetes website.