Parents should attempt to educate their children as early as possible on the details of their own diabetes care. This is important because they need to understand the importance of glucose testing, food and exercise in the management of their disease (you won’t be there forever!)
Work to have your child able to take the lead in implementing their diabetes care at school. This will obviously depend on the student’s age, development and experience with diabetes. The extent of the student’s ability to participate in diabetes care should be agreed upon by the school personnel, the parent and the health care team, as necessary.
The ages at which children are able to perform self-care tasks are very individual and variable, and a child’s capabilities and willingness to provide self-care should be respected.
Preschool and day care. Preschool children are usually unable to perform diabetes tasks independently. By 4 years of age, children may be expected to cooperate in diabetes tasks.
Elementary school. The child should be expected to cooperate in all diabetes tasks at school. By age 8 years, most children should be able to perform their own finger stick blood glucose tests with supervision. By age 10, some children can administer insulin with supervision.
Middle school or junior high school. The student should be able to perform blood glucose self-monitoring under normal circumstances and administer insulin with supervision. They may require assistance if experiencing low blood glucose levels.
High school. The student should be able to perform self-monitoring of blood glucose under usual circumstances (when not experiencing low blood glucose levels). In high school, adolescents should be able to administer insulin without supervision.
At all ages, individuals with diabetes may require help to perform a blood glucose test when the blood glucose is low. In addition, many individuals require a reminder to eat or drink during a hypoglycemic episode and should not be left unsupervised until such treatment has taken place and the blood glucose value has returned to the normal range.