Communications between home and school
Regular communication between home and school is critical to managing a student’s type 1 diabetes, and will help foster a positive relationship between parents/caregivers and school staff.
Individual Care Plan
The Individual Care Plan (ICP) is the foundation for managing a student’s type 1 diabetes at school. The ICP will:
- Be completed by parents, using a standard template, with input from a health professional as needed.
- Be discussed among parents, the school principal (or designate) and homeroom teacher.
- Clearly outline “who does what”: roles and responsibilities of the parents, school staff, and the student with diabetes.
- Include critical information such as: contact names and numbers; what to do in emergencies and other situations; what supplies are to be available; timing of meals, snacks, blood checks, and insulin administration.
- Be updated as needed, and easily accessible at school.
- Be reviewed at the start of each school year.
Some provinces have sample plans. You can also use this one, which can be printed and completed manually, or filled in online and printed.
Starting the school year or going back to school after a diagnosis
When a student is first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, or at the start of a new school year, there will be a period of training and education so that everyone understands their role and what to do.
In many cases, parents will provide this training:
- All school staff should get an overview of type 1 diabetes, including how to recognize and respond to symptoms of low blood sugar, and what do to in an emergency.
- Classroom teachers and all school staff who are responsible for students with diabetes should get extra training in topics such as understanding blood sugar readings, and how insulin, food and physical activity interact and influence blood sugars.
- Staff helping with diabetes tasks will be trained in those specific skills.
Students with type 1 diabetes can be included in every aspect of school life, as long as there is enough notice to prepare.
Planning for special events or activities
Having a child with type 1 diabetes requires planning. Students with type 1 diabetes can be included in every aspect of school life, as long as there is enough notice to prepare. Here are some school occasions that may need extra planning or attention:
- Field trips, whether day trips or overnight.
- Physical activities that are not part of the usual schedule, such as a track-and-field day, fundraising walk, dance-a-thon.
- A special occasion involving food.
- Extracurricular activities, either before or after school.
- Changes to the daily routine that could affect meals or snack times.
Depending on the situation, parents may want to: make arrangements to be at the school; adjust insulin levels; provide extra or alternate snacks; request extra blood sugar checks.
Parents, with support of school staff, should provide a letter for supply/substitute teachers that includes:
- a photo of their child,
- parent contact information,
- the names of the school staff who help with diabetes management,
- details on what should happen during the school day (blood checks, meals and snacks),
- location of the emergency kit(s), and
- any other important information.
Parents and school staff should:
- Ensure all contact information in the Individual Care Plan is up-to-date: primary contact and at least one backup.
- Agree on a way to share blood sugar readings and other information related to daily management such as: through the child’s agenda, via text message, via phone, etc.
Regular communication is also needed to ensure that:
- Parents know when supplies are running low (such as fast-acting sugar sources, extra snacks, lancets, test strips, etc.)
- Schools know if parents have made any changes to the student’s routine.
Remember that type 1 diabetes is just one aspect of a student’s school experience. Frequent conversations between teachers and parents about a child’s social and academic progress will help keep the lines of communication open and positive.