Talking about diabetes at school
So your child is starting school, attending a new one, or switching classes? If they’re living with diabetes, one thing’s for sure: they will have to talk about their disease with those around them. Let’s take a look at a few tips to smooth out communication as much as possible.
Talking about diabetes will come naturally to some, and not so much to others. Children don’t want to be treated differently from others, and many fear rejection and mockery. It’s important to discuss the issue openly at home and make it clear to your child that they don’t have to be ashamed of diabetes. Make sure they know that with a bit of planning, they can do all the same activities as their classmates.
Provide leads and ideas
Of course, discussions on diabetes will be more or less sophisticated depending on your child’s age. However, here are some things you can encourage them to cover with their acquaintances at school:
- What everyday life with diabetes is like (blood glucose monitoring, diet, medication)
- What happens and what to do when blood sugar is too high or too low
- Why they need extra snacks and drinks
Ask for assistance
Some people have to be informed that your child has diabetes (their teacher, school management, the bus driver, the nurse, their close friends, etc.) so they can react appropriately to an emergency.
Younger children can sometimes have difficulty finding words to talk about the disease. In that case, you can ask your child’s teacher or the school nurse (for example) to explain the basic concept of diabetes to their classmates. Your little one will feel well supported and more comfortable with the situation.
Going to school is a great adventure for your child, and diabetes should certainly not take away that fun. Learning how to talk about their disease from an early age will also build their self-confidence and autonomy, which will be useful to them throughout their life. And what’s more valuable than that? Have a good year!
AboutKidsHealth, “School-Aged Children with Diabetes”: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/en/resourcecentres/diabetes/athome/growthdevelopment/pages/school-aged-children-with-diabetes.aspx. Accessed February 13, 2015.
AboutKidsHealth, “Teenagers with Diabetes”: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/en/resourcecentres/diabetes/athome/growthdevelopment/pages/teenagers-with-diabetes.aspx. Accessed February 13, 2015.
Diabetes Québec, “Diabetes at School”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/understand-diabetes/practice/school-and-daycare/diabetes-at-school. Accessed February 13, 2015.
Jean Coutu, “Diabetes and school: how to prepare your child”: https://www.jeancoutu.com/en/health/health-tips/diabetes-and-school-how-to-prepare-your-child/. Accessed February 13, 2015.
Roche, “How Teens Can Talk to Their Friends About Diabetes”: https://www.accu-chek.com/life-with-diabetes/diabetes-basics?utm_campaign=Diabetes_Link&utm_medium=Inactive_URL&utm_content=accu-chekdiabeteslink.com&utm_source=Inactive_URL. Accessed February 13, 2015.
Roche, “Talking About Diabetes at School”: https://www.accu-chek.com/life-with-diabetes/diabetes-basics?utm_campaign=Diabetes_Link&utm_medium=Inactive_URL&utm_content=accu-chekdiabeteslink.com&utm_source=Inactive_URL. Accessed February 13, 2015.