A while back I wrote about my anxieties regarding Kaitlyn starting kindergarten. I remember that I was so worried about what her teacher would be like, how often the nurse would be able to check her, how she was going to feel about approaching her teacher if she wasn’t feeling well, and how they would deal with having treats and parties in the classroom.
Looking back, I can happily say that we’ve had a great experience with public school so far. However, it wasn’t an easy transition at the beginning. During the first week, I drove between my house and the elementary school five times every day! I would drop off my kids in the morning, meet the nurse to help with Kaitlyn’s snack time, and meet her again at lunch. After that, I would pick up Kaitlyn (kindergarten gets out earlier) and finally, I would pick up my two older kids. By the end of the first week I was completely exhausted, and I wasn’t getting any of my normal work done. By the second week, the district hired a new nurse that was assigned to our school and specifically assigned to take care of Kaitlyn throughout the day. What a difference that made! Our new nurse was so kind, attentive and quickly became familiar with all of Kaitlyn’s needs. I realize how rare this is and how lucky we are, since some schools don’t even have a full-time nurse, let alone one so dedicated.
These are some of the other highlights so far this year:
- We’ve had a great open relationship with Kaitlyn’s teacher. I’ve made it a point to have a lot of conversations with her about how things are going, and she has been really up front with us about when to expect special food occasions in class.
- Kaitlyn’s nurse and assistant nurse have been wonderful. I especially remember the day that she came home with a little princess notebook, which her nurse would fill out every day with blood glucose numbers, carbs eaten and insulin given.
- The children in Kaitlyn’s class have been so caring! At the beginning of the year our principal sent a note home to all the parents in the class telling them about Kaitlyn’s special medical concerns. Instead of making Kaitlyn feel alienated, the little girls in her class have taken her under their wings to make sure she always feels OK.
I feel especially lucky to have fallen into such a great situation with Kaitlyn’s care at school. Although this might not be the case for everyone, I have no doubt that school can be a better experience with a supportive approach, open communication and an optimistic attitude.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.