Thursday, August 27, 2009

Past Letter to the parents of my childs class

I recently found the letter I sent to the nurse at her request (from the private school) to send to the parent's of my son's kindergarden class, it may be helpful for others to utilize in some way or repurpose. (for example, Jared won't likely need me there at lunch each day anymore and someone else can now verifiy his carbs so I don't HAVE to be there as often as I did two years ago when the kids were asking why Jared's mom got to visit the class so often ;)

Dear parents of (my child's teachers) classroom,

We are writing to inform you that one of your children’s’ peers (Jared) has type 1 diabetes, it is a condition that affects his ability to absorb glucose (sugar) and turn it into energy.

So during the day, he does a few medical checks to make sure that he is in a healthy range and can study and play like the rest of the children. Treatment and maintenance involve finger pokes (in the classroom) and also some injections ‘medicine’ (occur outside the classroom), also he may have additional snacks during the day as a part of his treatment.

Jared needs for you and other people around him to know that he has diabetes. However, he should not be and does not want to be treated differently. Things we want you to be familiar with about diabetes are in this letter. Usually his diabetes is under good control, but he may have problems if his blood sugar gets too low or too high. To keep that from happening, we work with the doctors and teachers and have to do certain things.

It may help you to understand those things better if we tell you about diabetes. Please know that diabetes is not contagious. When a person eats a meal, the food is broken down into different substances, is absorbed, and enters the bloodstream. One of these substances is glucose, a sugar. The body cannot function without glucose. In turn, the body cannot use glucose without insulin which is produced by the pancreas. Jared’s pancreas, like that of other people with diabetes, doesn't produce insulin, so he has to take insulin shots every day. It's mainly insulin, exercise, food and stress that cause his blood sugar to go up or down. Sometimes he may have a low blood sugar or a hypoglycemic reaction.

Jared usually knows when his sugar is getting low, but sometimes he may not, so he counts on teachers and parents to recognize the signs.
glassy stare

If the low blood sugar persists too long, Jared may seem sleepy and withdrawn. If any of these symptoms occur, the teachers give him a sweetened drink, milk or orange juice to drink or something from his "Low blood sugar food stash in his locker." Food is used as his medicine in this case. Like any child, he may resist, but if you notice this behavior; please be firm and make sure he eats something with sugar. 15 minutes later he should be fine… if not however we (His parents) may get called to come in and check on him ~ Your children may notice “Jared’s mom comes to visit the class at lunch each day” This is to help with his care and treatment and is necessary at this point until he is older and can help with his own treatment.

We are writing not because this affects you or your child directly in any way, but we do ask that you save the packaging for snacks that may be brought for your child’s birthday celebration at school so we can correctly dose his insulin for his snack, so he can fit in with the rest of the kids in this situation. Also we realize since the glucose testing or ‘finger pokes’ happen in the class room your child may (or may not) ask questions. Hence this letter informing you of what is going on.
If you ever find Jared unconscious, anytime, and you cannot awake him, call 911 immediately.
We appreciate you taking the time to read this. If you or your kids have any questions, we are happy to explain further.

(Jared’s Parents)

The final countdown to school...

Well, we have had meeting one with the school nurse and today will be meeting two.. with the nurse (who is not at the school often as she has 6 schools and over 2000 students) and the principal, teachers, counsellor and volunteer aid.

Jared is quite nervous to be making a change of schools period. For those who have not read back posts, Jared had been in private school for the past 2 years as he was diagnosed with Type 1 mere weeks before kindergarten started and the public school was not able to commit (yes, I know it is illegal) to his safety. (Jared himself commented as he walked out the door after his first meeting with the school nurse at the time saying " does my new school not like kids with diabetes?!?!?" (this crushes me to even remember that day). Regardless, we were not prepared to test their lack of readiness to prove a point that no child should be left behind! We took out a loan and sent him to a private school where the teachers all volunteered on weekends to go to the hospital to take classes on diabetes and treating children and administering injections (Which otherwise is illegal in public school in the state.

All that being said, a new school is always hard, a new school with a history (as much or as little as he remembers from two years ago) is hard for both of us. Since then, with the principal change and a new school nurse, we are willing to give this school a good chance. My daughter is also starting Kindergarten there and so they will have eachother at lunches and recess if need be (they are buddies - for the most part ;)

The hard part for me is that they want me to be concise with directions, which is somewhat easy.. there is routine for the most part.. it is the results of those routines which (As most of you know) vary. And if you don't get specific, and you are dealing with a kid... things can yoyo from bad to worse or low to high, or vice versa.

Today, when I meet the teacher, I hope she wants specifics, all these forms are SO non specific, and general... And when you are dealing with a school that has not had a diabetic child there in 20 years, general does not seem to apply! Experience makes things general, lack of .. in my humble opinion requires specifics.

So cross your fingers for us, and hope that the teacher who was 'assigned' my son is interested and wants to know more, and ... I am an optimist (most of the time ;) in time, she will know the specifics and be able to wrap herself around the specifics, until they become generality... or routine. This should be a great year, with new learnings for all!