Explaining Your Child’s Illness to School Administrators and Classmates

So your child has been diagnosed with an illness – you’ve helped them learn all there is to know about their treatment and have set up a routine to ensure they are managing their symptoms. But your child still doesn’t completely understand their illness and certainly won’t be able to explain it to their teachers and classmates.

You’re not alone! 1 in every 400 children has diabetes, 1 in every 13 children suffers from allergies, and nearly 10% of children have been diagnosed with asthma. As a parent, sending your child back to school with an illness can be terrifying but you can help by letting their teachers and classmates know what’s going on.

Manage, Arrange, Coordinate

Coordinating a meeting with your child, their teachers and the school nurse is very important to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Provide school administrators with written directives including: medicines that can be given for certain situations, how to administer the medicine, how to get a hold of the parents, guardians, and emergency contacts, and when to call 911.

Allergies and Diabetes

In the case of allergies, avoidance issues need to be discussed. If the school doesn’t already have a system in place for protecting allergic children from peanuts, dairy and other common food allergies, have a conversation about how this can best be accomplished.

For diabetes, school caretakers need to be aware of how to recognize high and low blood sugars. Let teachers know that the child and nurse should be made aware of impromptu class parties so they can implement appropriate blood sugar checks, and necessary insulin dosage – let them eat cake, healthily!

Work with school officials to set up a routine for your child where there is a mid morning snack, blood check before lunch, and insulin delivery with any carbs they may eat. Checking blood sugar before exercise is also important because they may need a snack.

Involve Your Child

Encourage your child to talk to his or her classmates and teachers and not to be afraid to answer any questions they may have about the illness. It isn’t something to be ashamed of and it’s not who they are, just something they have to learn to live with. As a parent, what do you do to help your child’s teachers and classmates understand their illness?

Published on: August 20, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Maitland DeLand

Maitland DeLand, M.D. is a radiation oncologist who specializes in the treatment of cancer in women and children. In The Great Katie Kate series, Dr. DeLand calls on both her professional and personal experience to help children facing various illnesses. For more information, visit: www.DeLandBooks.com.

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