Back to school next week here! My daughter will begin her last year of middle school and my son heads into 4th grade. Wow.

We have a diabetes goal each year. Since Benny was diagnosed so young (before he was 2), he knew how to check blood sugar and give himself insulin before he started Kindergarten. Our goals tend to be: change your own inset at school, buy lunch once or twice a week (we’re less sure about the carbs when he doesn’t bring from home) and be responsible for remembering to check blood sugar at certain times.

This year, the goal is likely going to be some combination of counting his own carbs and giving most of his insulin before he eats. That’s the best way to do it. We just started so young – who knows what a toddler will really eat – that we’ve always given insulin after. For the past few years, we’ve been trying to transition, but it hasn’t really stuck. This is a good time to make it standard operating procedure.

Starting school with diabetes usually means lots of education for teachers, staff, even parents, especially if it’s a relatively new diagnosis. Here are some great tools we’ve used over the years to make it easier.

ADA’s Safe at School  The American Diabetes Association offers everything from training materials for school staff to information on legal protection and advice on how to make everyone feel their part of a team.

-T1D in School JDRF has a similar set of materials

Diabetes 101 (video) JDRF video featuring teens and kids talking about type 1 diabetes in a way their peers can understand.

North Carolina Law/Guidelines  – Info specific to our state which allows individual care plans (and link to the actual law)

I usually go in and talk to Benny’s class and I send home this email (click here) explaining what we discussed. I usually ask the teacher to send the letter through email, but I’ve handed out copies, too. It really helps; I’ve heard from many parents who appreciate the info, and it’s saved us from well-meaning people bringing sugar-free (gross) alternatives to school birthday parties. Yes, he can eat that.

Our biggest challenge this year may actually come in the spring. Benny has asked us to invite his entire school to join our JDRF walk team. Looks like we’ll be making up a lot more t-shirts this year!