Thursday, May 5, 2011

School Involvement

My son loves school and I wanted to get him back into his normal routine as soon as possible. 

He felt fine and I wanted him to have a sense of normalcy and not feel isolated because of his illness. He needed to know he was the same little boy he was a few days ago only better, healthier. I packed up his testing kit, strips, needles, insulin, and orders from his pediatric endocrinologist and took him to school.

The fact is, he can live a fairly normal life with proper care and continual monitoring of his blood sugar. It'll will be a labor of love for sure, but definitely worth it.

My husband and I paid a visit to the school nurse and informed her of Sawyer's situation and gave her the instructions that we'd received less than 24 hours ago. There is a period of adjustment in getting his sugars stabilized and knowing how much insulin will work for him. 

With his blood sugars in the sixties at lunch time, we worked out a plan with the nurse to schedule a snack for Sawyer in the morning. He still had lows and had to have treatment. The scary thing was he had no hypoglycemic symptoms. 

Generally, a person who is experiencing low blood glucose will exhibit symptoms such as shakiness, rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, anxiousness, hunger, blurry vision, weakness or fatigue, headache and irritability. When this occurs, the person will need to check their blood glucose. If it is under 70 and they are not unconscious, they should be given 4 ounces of fruit juice, 4-5 pieces of hard candy, or 3-4 glucose tablets. After twenty minutes their blood sugar should be re-checked. It should have increased by 40 points. If not, treatment must be repeated. NEVER give food or drink to anyone who is unconscious. If you do not have access or training on how to administer Glucagon, call 911 immediately.

I learned through this experience that there is legislation that protects children with disabilities from discrimination at school, both public and private, and daycare facilities. (This excludes religious schools who do not receive federal funding).

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, "Students with disabilities have a right to a 'free, appropriate public education' without discrimination." Additionally, children in private schools and day care centers fall under this umbrella of protection. These rights are protected by the federal civil rights and education law.

We didn't experience any troubles with our school and, in fact learned that the nurse took the initiative to consult with the principal and trained the high school nurse on the procedures necessary in the event of her absence. She also spent time researching information, on her own time, to get up to speed with his treatment and administration of shots. (Thank you for caring!! ♥) Nurses Rock!!

Section 504 "protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistant." 
Parents have the right to develop a Section 504 plan with their child's school. School's failure to comply with the law can cost them federal funding.
Parents/guardians of a child with a qualifying disability have the right to meet with school staff and administrators to explain the condition at one meeting and put together a plan that best suits the need of their child. Section 504 ensures the child's right to participate in all activities without feeling 'different' from his classmates.

Your child spends most of his/her time under the care of the school. It is vital to maintain close contact with the school nurse and those who will be caring for him/her when you can't. It is a relationship that will benefit your child and their overall well-being.

More information regarding your child's civil rights can be found at the Web site of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights: or toll free at 1-800-421-3481. 

*Photo courtesy of
**Information obtained form American Diabetes Association and "Safe at School" pamphlet

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