With the growing childhood obesity epidemic, more children are developing Type 2 diabetes. Keeping them safe while at school and away from home has become an important topic among health experts, especially because there is no oral medication approved by the FDA for diabetic kids.
“I do track and field and marching band,” said Ashley Nash, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in fourth grade.
“It was a shock because the week before your little girl is running around happy and healthy," said mom Aime Nash.
Because Ashley’s diagnosis came at such an early age, her mom relied heavily on school nurses and teachers.
“The nurses… would help me to... bring my blood sugar back to where it needed to be,” said Ashley.
These days, between insulin shots and pumps, there’s not one cookie cutter treatment for kids with diabetes, making the job of monitoring diabetic kids with a range of needs at school even more important.
“Even things like playtime and sports activities have to be accommodated whether they use less medication or more medication,” said Dr. Saleemah Fahmi, endocrinologist with Methodist Charlton Medical Center.
Fahmi adds that structure is essential. Know what to do if your child’s blood sugar is too high or low, and be certain that your child’s school knows how to handle that, too.
If your child is too young to administer insulin or check his or her blood sugar levels, make sure your school nurse can do that for them.
With a doctor’s note, schools may offer older students like Ashley educational accommodations.
“So if she does have a low at school -- or test day where she normally wouldn't be excused -- she can, if needed, make it up," said Aime.
Ashley is now old enough to give herself shots, carefully plan her food and closely monitor her blood sugar levels.
“She has an extra lunch bag stocked with supplies and snacks,” said Aime.
They’re habits she’ll have to stick with for the rest of her life.