If you have a school aged child with diabetes you get to add an extra challenge to your list of things to do: preparing to send your diabetic child to school.
You aren’t alone. More than 176,000 children and adolescents have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In addition to having diabetes, they also have one other thing in common: most spend the bulk of their day in school, away from the protection and care of their parents or adult caregiver.
As you know, most children with diabetes take medication to control it. These medications, especially insulin, must be carefully balanced with food and exercise to achieve good glucose control each day. Health and safety are at risk when these are not balanced.
Diabetes management in children and adolescents requires complex daily management skills which can challenge parents and cause them to worry. This can be even more pronounced when their children are in the care of school personnel who may or may not understand diabetes and its management to ensure the safety and well being of students who have diabetes.
Fortunately, three federal laws provide protection for children with diabetes and require school districts to ensure access to educational opportunities in a medically safe environment, without discrimination. These federal laws are: the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA).
Any school that receives Federal funding must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 and IDEA. A child need not require special education to be protected.
Parents can use these laws to ensure that, while at school, their children with diabetes can fully participate in all school activities, while at the same time caring for their medical needs.