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    Diabetes
    By Julie

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    Tay,

    The other teachers have offered you excellent advice on having a diabetic in your classroom. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was four years old, so my entire schooling involved my lifestyle around diabetes.

    First and formost, please, do not be too worried about it. Yes, there is a lot to learn about diabetes, but I am going to touch base on a few main pieces. The advice is not all inclusive. It's just a basis of some information regarding type 1 diabetes. Forgive me if I repeat some of the advice that was already given...

    Low blood sugars: This is what you should become most familiar with. The most common symptoms with be shakiness, fatigue, odd mood swings (anger or crying), and odd/altered behavior (like someone who is almost drunk). If s/he has a really low blood sugar in class, s/he might be tired when her sugar is finally elevated. Low sugars typically happen when their is an increase in activity, not enough food eaten, or too much insulin is given.

    High blood sugar: While this is very serious as well, it should not cause you anxiety in your class. If the child has high blood sugars, you might notice extreme thirst and frequent urination. You might also notice a "fruity/acidy" smell in the child's breath. High sugars happen with there is not enough insulin given or too much food is eaten.

    Like I mentioned, low blood sugar symptoms are what you should be familiar with. High sugars happen, however, low sugars are able to be readily handeled in the classroom.

    Ask the student (and parents) about his/her own symptoms for each type of sugar level. The child should have food available in the class when needed. My teachers always allowed me the freedom to be able to get to the food when ever I needed it. Because I grew up with the disease, the disease was really only explained once to classmates. After that time, I would go onto the next year with many of the same students. Classmates didn't really question on why I was allowed to eat my afternoon snack when they weren't.

    Classroom parties will happen. Please do not think of it as your responsibility to monitor/police what your student will eat (and his parents should not expect you to). There are dietary substitutions that can be made for an occassional cupcake. If that is not a road that the doctor or family does not want to go down yet, would it be possible for you to make a different type of concession? A teacher used to allow me to chew gum while the others had their cupcakes.

    Tay, there's a ton more advice that I can think of but do not want to ramble on and on. Please feel free if you (or anyone) has any questions.

    julie



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