Young people with diabetes are able to participate fully in school life. However, there are aspects of school life that can affect diabetes, for example sports, break times, school camps and exams. Because of this, it’s important that the school knows whether a student has diabetes. The school has a duty of care to create a safe environment and adequate supervision.
As a parent there are resources you can provide teachers or coaches listed at the end of this page to help them understand diabetes management.
Tips for students on how to tell their teacher and friends is available on the MyD site, a dedicated website for young people with diabetes, developed by NDSS.
Information for teachers
There are around 16,000 children and young people in Australia who are living with diabetes. Most children have type 1 diabetes, although increasingly we are seeing type 2 diabetes in children and young people. There are now nearly 1,000 young people aged 20 or under in Australia with type 2 diabetes. The increasing prevalence of diabetes in younger people means that as a teacher it is highly likely that you will have a student with diabetes in your class at sometime.
A student with diabetes can do everything their peers do, but, because of their diabetes, they may need:
- special consideration
- extra supervision
- extra toilet privileges
- to eat at additional times, especially with sport
- extra consideration if unwell
- special provisions for privacy if testing blood glucose levels and injecting insulin at school is necessary.
Duty of Care
Schools have a legal responsibility to provide:
- a safe environment
- adequate supervision.
When the school knows that certain students have diabetes, staff (including relief staff) need to know enough about diabetes to ensure the safety of those students (especially in regard to hypoglycaemia and safety in sport). Parents/guardians have a responsibility to advise the school of their child’s medical condition and the particular requirements for the management of their child’s diabetes. For children with special requirements, a written individual management plan incorporating medical recommendations should be developed with the school in collaboration with the parents/guardians and doctor. This should be attached to the student’s records.
For more information and resources for young people, please go here.