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Type 1 Diabetes in Children: Caring for Your Child - Topic Overview

School

School can also present a particular challenge for a child with type 1 diabetes. Because of the need to take insulin injections throughout the day (or use an insulin pump) and the need to eat on a regular schedule, children who have type 1 diabetes stand out from their peers. It may help if you encourage your child to explain diabetes to his or her friends and show them how the equipment works. Most children are merely curious and are eager to learn.

It is also important that you meet with your child's teacher, school nurse, and school administrators to discuss diabetes care at school. The Americans with Disabilities Act covers children with diabetes, so your child's school must assist you with his or her diabetes treatment. Make sure that the school has on hand the correct type of supplies and insulin for your child.

You should also meet with your child's gym teacher to discuss how diabetes is affected by exercise. Most gym teachers are not trained to recognize signs of sudden high or low blood sugar. So you must explain what symptoms your child may have and how to deal with them. Encourage your child to play sports and be physically active, because it positively contributes to his or her diabetes treatment. But physical activity will now take more planning than before. Your diabetes team can help you adjust your child's diabetes treatment plan for physical activity.

Independence

As children with type 1 diabetes grow, encourage them to take more control over their treatment. As a parent, you may want to be there every time your child gets an insulin injection. But it's important that you let your child develop independence.

There are many summer camps for children who have diabetes. Such settings can help children learn about their disease and about how to manage it. Also, the camp setting introduces them to other children who have type 1 diabetes. If you arm your child with the proper knowledge, it not only empowers him or her to take responsibility for self-care but also provides a greater understanding of the disease and why it's important to treat it.

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