Youth and diabetes

Children with diabetes need to be able to manage their disease when they are away from home, especially when they are at school. Your child may need help checking blood sugar levels, getting meals and snacks on time, or dealing with any complications, such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. It is important to provide the school with information about your child’s health and making sure it gets to the right people.

Before the school year begins, schedule a meeting with teachers and school nurse to discuss your child’s diabetes treatment. You should also work with your diabetes educator and the school to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that details how your child’s diabetes will be managed in school.

The IEP should include:

  • Your emergency contact information
  • Contact information for your child’s doctor
  • Details of your child’s blood sugar monitoring schedule
  • You child’s target blood sugar range
  • Your child’s medication schedule
  • Details on who is responsible for administering medications and other treatment (usually the child or a school nurse)
  • A list of diabetes-related supplies to be kept at school
  • Meal and snack guidelines
  • Exercise guidelines
  • Symptoms and treatment for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

Here are links to download PDFs of a Sample IEP and the school forms required in NYC: Request for Accommodations and Diabetes Medication Administration.

Three main federal laws protect your child’s rights:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504 for short) prohibits schools from refusing to administer medication, denying your child participation in sports or other activities and prohibits denying credit due to absenteeism related to the child’s condition. It also allows parents to work with schools to create a plan to accommodate the child’s needs.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents public schools and day care centers from discriminating against people with disabilities, including diabetes.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that schools create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to accommodate children with disabilities, including diabetes.

For kids only

If you’re a young person with diabetes, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Nearly 200,000 young people in the United States have diabetes. You probably already know the basics about diabetes and how to stay healthy. This section is about how to deal with the emotions that come with having diabetes and how to deal with diabetes in school.

Being a young person with diabetes can make you feel angry, sad or upset.

Here are 3 tips on how to manage the emotional side of diabetes:

  1. Remember that you’re not alone. A lot of kids have diabetes and other health issues.
  2. Talk to a family member or friend. Just talking to family members like parents, brothers and sisters or your friends when you’re feeling down can make you feel a lot better.
  3. Find a support group or camp. Support groups are places where people who have the same problem talk about their feelings and offer advice. Ask your diabetes educator about support groups for kids with diabetes and their families. There may even be camps in your area just for kids with diabetes.

It’s important to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range no matter where you are – and that includes school. You probably know a lot about diabetes, but other kids may not.

Here are 3 tips on dealing with diabetes at school:

  1. Teach your classmates. Before the school year starts, your parents should talk to your teachers about diabetes and how to manage it. You might want to tell your classmates about your diabetes so they’ll understand why you have to test your blood sugar or eat snacks when they don’t. Some kids only tell their close friends about their diabetes and that’s ok, too.
  2. Don’t be bullied. Let your parents or teacher know if somebody is bothering you about your diabetes or anything else.
  3. Don’t be embarrassed. Having diabetes is not your fault, and a lot of other kids have it, too. Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from being happy and healthy.