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[IPp] Our school experience - good (sorry so long)
<<<Can you please describe to me how you make it work so well
with your school?>>>>
Well, first of all, our school has had 4 children with diabetes
for the past couple of years - one just moved up this year to middle school.
Out of 450 kids, they become a very noticeable part of the population. So with
4 sets of parents requesting help, we've all gotten it. Luke was the first
pumper, and I have spent hours at the school going over the pump details,
initially w/ the nurse (thankfully she's been a constant for 3 years now) and
each teacher Luke is in contact with, as well as the office staff, one of whom
is married to a man w/ Type 2 diabetes. We have a part-time nurse RN &
nurse's aides LVN - every day either the RN or the LVN is there at lunch. The
secretary married to a Type 2 got trained on glucagon, so we have all day
coverage for glucagon. We did request this coverage but she was more than
willing to do it - she watches closely over these kids and worries a lot about
any of them passing out because they had this happen with one child on
injections about 7 years ago. This way we don't have to get each teacher
certified each year - just her & the RN.
Also, we have not had Luke testing in classroom yet because he needs help
interpreting his numbers & we'd rather it be w/ the RN/LVN or office staff who
have time to page us if he's high or low. Our experience is that the teacher
just really does not have time for this plus the other 20 kids in her class
wanting lunch. My husband & I both wear pagers & carry cell phones, and we
respond immediately if they have page us. These folks then confirm Luke's
bolus amount for lunch, but he does the button-punching on his pump. If he's
in class & has a snack, we send the carb count & bolus amount to the teacher.
We don't ask them to calculate boluses only because we don't really trust
anyone - this way if the bolus is incorrect, it's our mistake, not theirs.
My husband does pick up the kids every day from school, too, so they see him
when there are problems - and when there are not problems. I think this aspect
helps us more than anything - it makes us approachable.
But the older kids do test in classroom if their parents request it, as well as
all of the std 504 requests for access to water, bathroom, testing provisions,
etc. At some point during the day, they do need to get their #'s & bolus
amounts to the nurse to record. We plan to request classroom testing next
year when Luke is more independent about it. It's only been in the past year
that he could tell the difference between a number of 55 and 255.
I don't know why it works so well. We've really benefited from the presence of
older kids with diabetes and haven't had to fight. We did help them become
comfortable with the pump first but everything else they were doing before us.
We do feel really good about the working relationship with the school - from
the principal on down, the attitude is take care of the kids, then worry about
the academics. So while our school scores well on standardized tests, our
principal emphasizes that kids need to be cared for and learning rather than
worrying about test scores. We think that helps set the tone for everyone.
The school has also held a Diabetes Walk (through ADA) the past 2 years, which
has helped to raise the level of awareness throughout all the staff. Our
family helps promote this because we've benefitted so much from the previous
families that we want to help maintain the openness at this school.
Because of all of this, we've even had our nurse go back and argue with the
district over some of their paperwork requirements (they want a dr's signature
for every bolus, stupid stuff like that). Anyway, I'll ask if they would mind
discussing their policies & will let you know. Of course, I'm anxious to find
out if the child entering middle school is doing okay - I'm dreading it already
with all of the class changes, etc. but it's a few years off.
Shelly V, Austin, TX, mom to Luke, dx'd 10/99, pumping 3/01 - entering 2nd
grade on Monday!
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