Transitions for children alone are challenging, but taking diabetes into account too can make this process really tough. This is why it is vital to give children living with diabetes the most support we possible can, to make this process bearable.
I thought it would be great if I shared some first-hand tips that really helped me when I went through the process of starting secondary school while managing my diabetes.
So keep reading for my tips on supporting the transition into secondary school while living with diabetes!
1. Educate the school
This might be an obvious point, but the school must be informed about how they can help and what they can do to support living with diabetes in every way. So arranging an in-depth meeting is super important to establish how the school will work with you to meet the child’s needs.
Some points to consider are:
- Where the child feels comfortable injecting
- Explaining how to use the technology the child is using (FGM’s, CGM’s, pumps)
- Hypo plan – informing teachers, access to snacks and so on
- Educating students and teachers about T1D
A good point to note too, is that even if the school has had previous students living with diabetes (which is great!), it doesn’t necessarily mean they know it all. It is really important that the school recognises that your child might have certain areas they need support with. For example, they might need support with opening up and talking about T1D.
Everyone needs to be clued up during a transition period. All relevant teachers need to be aware of the condition, and know the hypo protocol. The last thing a child needs on top of transitioning into secondary school is inadequate support if they need it, so make sure the school has informed everyone who needs to know about diabetes!
Also make sure you chat with your diabetic consultant/team as I’m aware they sometimes have a designated member of the team who will go and talk to the school, provide education about living with T1D and ultimately ensuring the child’s needs are met.
Get a buddy!
I would absolutely recommend allowing your child to choose a friend who will help and support your child if they have a hypo, or any other need related to diabetes. This was particularly useful to me during the younger years of secondary school as I was shy about my diabetes.
This also really helps to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation, which every person living with diabetes has experienced. Having a good friend to rely on also helps to build confidence when talking about diabetes.
Learn 3 phrases!
This is a tip that has helped me for a very long time, and still does now!
So, come up with, and learn 3 phrases you or your child can use when people ask ignorant or difficult questions about living with diabetes.
For example, if someone asks ‘should you be eating that with diabetes?’, a good phrase which would work with this is, ‘thank you for your concern, however, I know my body, and I know what it needs.’
Knowing these phrases means you are prepared for any situation, and stops you from having to think on the spot.
For more information on this topic, check out my post on Dealing with annoying questions about diabetes!
By this, I mean speaking up about any issues you or your child is having regarding diabetes. Choose someone you are comfortable with, whether that be a teacher, another family member, or a specialist.
I am a huge advocate for speaking up because this is what enabled me to accept my diagnosis, spread awareness and to be successful no matter what!
A huge topic many people living diabetes find trouble with is talking to other people about living with diabetes. Whether it’s lack of understanding, or ignorant questions, speaking up will help to overcome the issue. A problem shared is a problem halved and often people can give you some really useful advice that helps to build confidence and reduce anxiety!
Ultimately, it is the schools duty to help ensure that the transition into secondary school is smooth, and every child has the support they need to succeed and maintain a healthy mindset.
Thank you so much for reading my tips on supporting a child transitioning into secondary school while living with diabetes! I really hope you find this useful and it will make the transition a bit easier! If you have any questions at all, drop me an email! And be sure you follow me on Instagram!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out my Chicken Stew Recipe! and Has your child been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes? Read for my top tips!