Miami, FL (August 18, 2006) –– The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) has produced an essential tool for all school personnel, childcare providers and any individuals entrusted with caring for a child with type 1 diabetes.
“Facts about Diabetes: A Guide for School Personnel and Child Care Providers,” features need-to-know information about the disease and how it is controlled, plus clear instructions on how to handle emergency situations, such as an insulin reaction. Most importantly, the eight-page brochure includes a diabetes management form that can be personalized for each child and stored for at-a-glance solutions.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a serious, chronic condition that requires constant monitoring of the amounts and times of insulin injections, food and activity. Due to a lack of information at their fingertips, many adults taking care of a child with diabetes may harbor misconceptions about the disease, resulting in a potentially life-threatening situation.
Understandably, many parents are fearful about leaving their child in the care of anyone but a trained professional who can immediately respond to a diabetes-related crisis.
“My biggest concern is that my daughter is safe when I can’t be with her, and, of course, school is a part of her life. I have to be able to put trust in the teachers and the staff to care for her while she’s there,” said Lynette Miller, whose 7-year-old daughter, Brooke, just entered the second grade. Miller distributes the guide to all of the school’s personnel that oversee her daughter at any time, including the principal, assistant principals, all classroom and special areas teachers, aides, and lunchroom attendants.
“I know that when school starts, teachers are busy. This manual only takes a few minutes to read, and it can be potentially life saving,” she said. Miller also provides the guide to the parents of Brooke’s friends, so that her daughter is able to enjoy play dates. “Everyone who is involved with Brooke needs to have this information.”
While other reference materials exist about caring for children with the disease, finding the appropriate information in a voluminous file can be daunting, and can take up precious time when there is a need to react instantly.
“Information about diabetes and diabetes management can be overwhelming. From what we have observed, teachers are very often afraid to get involved in a child’s diabetes management because of a lack of knowledge. This guide presents information in a clear, concise format so that teachers, or anyone charged with caring for a child with diabetes, can react appropriately and confidently,” said Jane Sparrow-Bodenmiller, RN, CDE, C.P.T., a diabetes educator at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
According to federal education laws affecting children with diabetes, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, diabetes is a disability, and children with disabilities are protected against discrimination in public schools and private schools that receive federal financial assistance.
This means that school personnel and daycare programs must take into account the needs of a child with diabetes, which include being aware of the child’s health plan; assisting in the treatment of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia; and allowing the child to test blood sugar, administer insulin, and eat whenever necessary, among others.