How teachers can support students with type 1 diabetes

All students with type 1 diabetes—no matter how independent they are—need the support of trusted, caring adults at school. If you have a student with type 1 diabetes, whether for all or part of the day, there are many simple ways you can help. Here are some suggestions:

  • Learn about type 1 diabetes. Start by exploring the resources on this website, or have a look at some of the other resources we have gathered.
  • Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and know what to do in an emergency.
  • Be familiar with the student’s Individual Care Plan. Know who at the school has been designated to provide day-to-day support.
  • Ensure the student has easy access to supplies for blood glucose monitoring and treating low blood sugar (their “diabetes kit”).
  • Ensure the student eats meals and snacks on time.
  • Talk to the student’s parents at the start of the school year (or right after diagnosis), and agree on a way to share information as needed.
  • Provide parents with as much notice as possible about field trips, special events and changes to the school routine, especially where food or activity is involved.
  • If a student experiences a low blood sugar before or during a test/exam, allow a reasonable amount of time to treat and recover from the low (they may need up to an additional 30 to 60 minutes to complete the task).
  • Ensure that information about the student is available to supply teachers.
  • Support the student’s self-care by allowing blood sugar monitoring at any time or anywhere, respecting the student’s wish for privacy.
  • Know that a student may need to eat outside a planned meal or snack time.
  • Ensure that the student has unrestricted bathroom access, as well as access to water at all times. This is especially important when blood sugar is high.

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