Friday, August 12, 2011

Adam's First Week of School!

Well, ladies (and gentlemen?) I have to declare our first week at school as a success. It was a busy week, and I sure as heck didn't get any of that "down time" that I imagine other mothers get when their last child goes to school all day, but overall, the week went very well. (Okay, all 3 days of it.)

I have to give major props to the staff at our school. LOVE THEM. Adam's nurse and health assistant are phenomenal. They had a 6th grader with T1D last year, and they could have said, "oh, this is no big deal, we've got it covered." But T1D in a 5 year old is very different than in a 12 year old. And they knew that! Our health assistant is on her own 2 days a week while the nurse is at a different school, and she told me that she even had a nightmare already about giving Adam too much insulin through his pump. I felt so bad that she was having "diabetes dreams" like I do, but in a strange way I was happy, because it meant that she GOT IT. That diabetes is a big deal...and insulin is a touchy beast.

One thing that I would highly recommend to all moms of little T1D kiddos going to school is to put together an "All about me" letter. I gleaned information from Hallie and Reyna and came up with a flier that has Adam's picture on it and it starts out by saying:

"Hello! My name is Adam **** and that’s my photo. I am a student in Mrs. Goodman’s class, and I have Type 1 diabetes.  My body cannot make insulin, so I wear an insulin pump at all times. It is usually in a belt around my waist, or clipped to my waistband"
It goes on in bullet format, talking about the signs of a low, the signs of high blood sugar, the fact that he needs access to water and the bathroom whenever he wants, and most importantly, to BELIEVE him when he says he doesn't feel well and send him to the nurse. 
I handed these out to the nurse and his teacher, and they were very excited about it and asked if I could print more so they could pass them out to all of the staff that would come in contact with Adam - ie: playground aides, cafeteria aides, music teacher, etc. and I said sure! They handed them out in their meeting on the first day of school, and ever since then, I've had aides come up to me to say, "You are Adam's mom? We got his flier!" It was a GREAT way to build relationships with people I didn't know before and to make them aware of Adam's special needs.

I also made up "low kits" for Adam's music teacher and P.E. teacher - got the great idea from Donna to put them in clear pencil pouches so they are easy to carry. They have juice boxes, glucose tabs/gel and the above flier, outlining the signs of a low. They appreciated having these as well!

I think it helps that I do have a good relationship with the school already, since my 3rd grader has been attending for 4 years. But she has never been to the nurse (I know!) in her previous years, so I didn't have a relationship with the health staff. I also chose a different kindergarten teacher for Adam than Sydney had, so she was new to me as well. 

I was reading this post over at D-Mom today, and it really hit home. Building a relationship with your child's school is immensely important. On some level, I knew that already, but after only 3 days, I am seeing how important it is. They are willing to be so flexible with us, and I think it's because I didn't go in there with guns blazing, saying, "This is how it's gonna be." My favorite line from that post is, 

"It’s about being able to ask a favor without it feeling like a favor." Very true.

My goal in all of this is to make diabetes management as easy as possible for them, so that in turn, they will not look at Adam as a "burden." And I know that our health team would not think that, but let's face it, diabetes is a fricken' PITA most of the time. We live it day-to-day, and now so are they, especially with little ones.

Adam has had a fantastic experience at school. The health office is directly across from his classroom, so he has no trouble finding it for blood sugar checks (he goes with another person if he's feeling low) and both his teacher and the nurses have already said that he's been a joy to be around (::proud mommy moment!::) 

He told me that his music teacher came up to him and said that she has diabetes too (Type 2) and he was excited about that (, know, not excited that she HAS diabetes...) I am thrilled that everyone is so open with him, and open to learning more about Type 1. I emailed his teacher a great Power Point that my mom found off of the American Diabetes Association website - it is a great, simple, short presentation about diabetes - and it really gets the point across regarding the difference between Type 1 and Type 2. She was very receptive to it, since she wasn't familiar with Type 1. 

There are so many tools out there to help your child at school. But the best tool of all was my wonderful friends of the DOC. You guys helped me SO MUCH. The nurse was impressed with all of the information I had ready for them, and there is NO WAY I would have been able to do it without y'all. Seriously. 

(((Group Hug!!)))


  1. So glad every thing went so great! Sounds like you have a wonderful support system at his school. I hope we have the same experience when it's time for Elise to go to school.

  2. Glad things went well! Bean starts on Tuesday and I still have a list of 'stuff' to do. Kinda nice that it's year two at school with D, but LOTS of things are different this year (which is good, but!) so it still feels like we're doing it for the first time!

  3. that is wonderful to hear and I'm so happy to hear that school is off to a great start!!

    and btw LOVE the pic...handsome little man!

  4. SO glad to hear that the first days have gone well! I completely agree about how having a good relationship with the school staff is SO important. Great post!

  5. WoHoooo!!! So happy to hear that things are going well. You did a wonderful job prepping Mama Pancreas. xo

  6. Awesome job mama! We start on the 22nd --- I'm so nervous and excited at the same time!!

    I'm so thrilled things are going well for you guys! Totally thrilled!!!!!!!!!

  7. He is such a cute little man! I am SO happy that the first week went so well. I have been following your facebook updates everyday anxiously awaiting to hear how each day went. Your blog post jumpstarted me to get going on preparing all the documents to have at the school, especially the Diabetes ID sheet. I feel your pain from all the work you were doing a couple weeks ago! Thanks for the link to ADA as well. All this crap is starting to get to me and I don't have any wine chilled! Did you read the book to the class yet?

  8. yay! so glad to hear how well things are going! knowing you can rely on the staff is essential! rock on!