Issue: March 2011
March 01, 2011
3 min read

Guidelines updated for managing children with type 1 diabetes at school

Issue: March 2011
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The National Diabetes Education Program recently collaborated with several organizations to update its manual designed to assist school staff in managing children with type 1 diabetes: Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel.

“The need to manage diabetes doesn’t go away at school,” Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the NIH, said in a press release. “This guide does a great job of explaining the critical role that school staff members at every level can play.”

The changes included in this version of the guide reflect the scientific progress that researchers and physicians have made since the manual’s 2003 iteration. The writing group responsible for the guide also took into account input from the public, according to Joanne M. Gallivan, MS, RD.

“We have now included three levels of training for school personnel [in the guide],” Gallivan, director of the NIH’s National Diabetes Education Program, told Endocrine Today.

The first of the three training levels recommends that all school personnel receive basic training on recognizing hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and whom to contact in case of emergency. The second level is a step-up from a fundamental understanding of diabetes to training how to perform individual responsibilities during emergencies. The final training level requests that at least one member of the school staff have in-depth knowledge and training provided by a diabetes-trained health care provider.

Other new features of the guide address issues brought up by nurses who often deal with students with diabetes.

“Now, we also have information [in the guide] on carbohydrate counting, continuous glucose monitoring and at what stage a child is ready to take on some of their diabetes care tasks,” Gallivan said.

The manual also stresses the importance of various tools required for successful management of diabetes. A child should have a plan generated by his or her own individual diabetes management team, as well as another plan created by the school nurse in collaboration with the child’s personal health care providers. Further, a list of how to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and what to do if an adverse event occurs should be distributed to all school personnel, according to the guide.

Although designed for use in schools, Gallivan said providers and families should also be aware of the manual and the information contained in the document.

The guide also provides parents with facts about schools’ legal responsibilities, as well as a list of organizations through which they can gain more information.

The overall focus, however, remains on bettering the student’s experience despite the disease. Hopefully, a child with diabetes will not have to worry about missing school time to perform tasks such as testing his blood sugar or visiting the nurse’s office to receive an insulin shot, Gallivan said.

“The purpose of the guide is to help the student, as well as everyone in the school, know how to best manage a child to keep them safe, but also to give them equal opportunity for learning,” she said. – by Melissa Foster


Once again, the National Diabetes Education Program earned an ‘A’ with the 2010 edition of Helping Students with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel. The multidisciplinary writing group has updated, expanded and enriched the guide, making it an even more valuable tool for students, parents, school staff and the diabetes health care team, including school-based health professionals.

New content, including the three-tiered diabetes training approach for school personnel, can help the team design and implement effective training programs. The guide also describes some of the emotional barriers and stages of developmental readiness that impact a student’s ability and willingness to self-manage diabetes. The Diabetes Primer, Actions, Tools, Laws, Resources and Glossary sections are packed with information that can help provide a framework for safe diabetes care at school that allows the student with diabetes to fully benefit from the school experience.

– Paula L. Jameson, MSN, ARNP, CDE

Pediatric Diabetes Program Coordinator/ Endocrine Nurse Practitioner

Florida Center for Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Disclosure: Jameson reports no relevant disclosures.