To ensure that your child gets appropriate medical care at school, you'll want to make sure you've set out a diabetes school plan. To do this, you'll need two important documents. The first is a Section 504 Plan, which should specifically state what is expected of each school staff member who interacts with your child. The other is a diabetes management plan, which specifies the orders from your health care provider regarding your child’s diabetes management needs.
What Should Be in a Section 504 Plan?
Each Section 504 Plan will be customized based on the specific needs of the child. It might address issues on accommodations such as:
- Allowing the child to test his or her blood sugar levels and administer insulin, as well as the person(s) who will take over these tasks if the child is unable to do so.
- Designating a place (nurse’s office) where blood sugar levels will be tested and insulin administered.
- Allowing the child to eat as needed. This includes snacks and eating lunch at a designated time.
- Making extra trips to the bathroom or water fountain.
- Permitting extra absences for medical appointments and sick days.
All plans should also include designated staff members trained to recognize and respond to high and low blood sugar reactions and administer glucagon, if necessary. This would include staff members such as teachers, coaches and bus drivers.
The American Diabetes Association offers a model Section 504 Plan [PDF] for a student with diabetes that you can print and use for your child.
What Is a Diabetes Medical Management Plan?
Along with the Section 504 Plan, each child must also have a diabetes medical management plan. This is a document signed by your health care provider that describes the specific health care services your child is to receive at school. The Section 504 Plan sets the parameters for your child’s care and who will perform them. The diabetes medical management plan can be thought of as a type of doctor’s order and goes into the actual health care management of diabetes. It includes information such as:
- Times when blood sugar should be checked
- When and how much your child should eat during snacks and meals
- Your child’s behavioral symptoms of high and low blood sugar
- Specific actions to be taken during high and low readings, which could include giving food, insulin or glucagon
- Any modifications to routine diabetes management before or after exercise
- Which diabetes care tasks your child is able to do on his or her own
- Emergency numbers for parents, health care provider and others and when each should be called
The American Diabetes Association also offers a model diabetes medical management plan [PDF] for a student with diabetes that you can print and use for your child.
To make sure that your child is properly evaluated for coverage under Section 504 and has a valid diabetes medical management plan, contact your child’s principal or guidance counselor. He or she will help you set these up for your child.
Major Federal Laws Affecting Children with Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. Accessed September 8, 2009. http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/know-your-rights/for-lawyers/major-education-laws.pdf
Laws Protecting Children with Type 1 Diabetes. Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Accessed September 8, 2009. http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103473