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From Kentucky, USA:

I'm sick of educated ignorance! Our daughter is diabetic, and you would not believe the crap that our school system puts my daughter through. Each new school year is hell. She recently was in the hospital with ketone acidosis, and two of her teachers wanted to know what she ate to put her in the hospital. They cannot grasp the situation with not feeling well to not doing well in school, either.


I imagine, as a parent, you feel that you are at the end of your rope! In my work, I made it a priority to go to the schools of my patients and speak to every staff member who dealt with them (from the coaches to the janitors).

Ignorance in others can be maddening to deal with, especially when it has an impact on your child. I wonder if there is a local person in health care who could assist you in educating the school system?

Do you have an ADA or JDF chapter near you? Do you have a Diabetes Team in your town? These people can be of help. Who do you have to talk to when things get so frustrating?

Many of my kids with diabetes made a "science project" out of educating their school personnel. This generally not only helped clear up the ignorance, it got them a fabulous grade!


Additional comments from Dr. Lebinger:

It sounds to me like you are having a difficult time with your daughter both medically and in school. I don't understand why you were mad at the school for asking if your daughter wound up in ketoacidosis from eating too much. It is a very reasonable "misunderstanding." I don't know why your daughter wound up in ketoacidosis, but perhaps you could explain to the school the circumstances and make sure to work with your child's physician, dietitian, and nurse to help prevent this from happening again in the future. Most of the time, after the initial diagnosis, ketoacidosis is preventable if you identify the circumstances which lead to it (illness requiring extra insulin, stress, or poor compliance in a child).

Perhaps the school was trying to communicate with you their concern that your child may be eating more than you realize in school. They may be wrong, but it is important to encourage the school to express their concerns and educate them if they are wrong. Most children with diabetes are able to control their diabetes well enough so that they feel well enough to participate in school both academically and athletically. If your child's diabetes is interfering with her school work (other than an occasional low blood sugar), you need to be working with your child's physician, dietitian, nurse, and possibly a social worker or psychologist to get the situation under control. There are handouts for school personnel published by both the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation that might be of help. Also, it is important to remember that each child with diabetes may have different needs and problems in school, and if the school has had another diabetic child, they may think your child has the same needs. Again, communication without anger is the best solution.

Although it is wonderful if you live in an area where a medical person can come to the school and help educate the staff, this is rarely possible in most communities. If you are not seeing a pediatric endocrinologist, you should try to if there is one near your home. Most pediatric endocrinologists are very experienced in dealing with school issues. Even if they can't come to the school, they would probably be willing to speak with the school nurse by phone (with your written permission).

Good luck and I hope things work out for you and your daughter.


[Editor's comment: Also, call the nearest Children's Hospital, and ask if their nurse specialists make presentations at the local schools about children with chronic diseases. If they do, perhaps their diabetes nurse specialists can help by making a presentation about diabetes at your daughter's school. WWQ]

Original posting 17 Mar 1998
Posted to Social Issues: School and Daycare and Daily Care


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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