Kortnie at the 2011 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Tempe Town Lake, Tempe, AZ

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School

It's that time of year when the kids go back to school.  For Kortnie, that means a little something different.  A few days before school starts I have a meeting with her new teacher and the school nurse to talk about the care I expect for her Type 1 Diabetes. 

We do not have a 504 plan, this is a K-3 school, she was diagnosed 3 months into her Kindergarten year.  When we took her back to school after diagnosis, we didn't know anything about 504 plans.  By the time 1st grade rolled around we still didn't know enough about 504 plans to know that we really should push the issue.  By the time we got to second grade I did know a lot more about the 504 plans, but I felt that we'd done so well with IEP's that we'd just stick with what we know, and we're doing that this year with 3rd Grade as well.  Next year when she goes to a new school, with new staff I will definitly be putting a 504 in place and will be making changes as she gets older. 

The staff at this school all know about Kortnie and Type 1 Diabetes, she is the only kid at the school who is diabetic.  No one has ever made her feel bad about her disease, no one has ever denied us anything that we've asked for, I've never felt like she was under cared for, and when we have issues come up, we've always been able to come to an agreement with our treatment options.  Eveyone has basically always given us everything we've asked for. 

This year things are a little different, Kortnie's teacher is facing some serious health issues and is kind of in limbo right now, not knowing if she'll be able to teach full time or not.  So, this morning I met with Kortnie's teacher, the School Nurse, and the Permanant Substitute teacher.   I am sad and concerned for the teacher's health issues, but am so glad to know that the teacher and school seems to be well prepared and they've nailed down a permanant sub and had her at our meeting this morning.  This sub has had Kortnie in previous years, so she already knows about her as well, but it was good to really sit down with her this morning and go over my plan with her. 

I went into school armed with a new updated plan to be kept in the classroom, the nurses office, and also 2 other copies for me and the sub to look through.  We went through my plan page by page, we discussed everything, they asked questions, Kortnie was there and she put in her 2cents and asked and answered questions as well.  I took an expired glucagon and showed them how to use it.  We discussed issues that had come up in previous years, I gave them permission to talk with Kortnie's previous teachers and to let Kortnie's classmates and their parents know about Kortnie's diagnosis.  I also took 2 kits with extra supplies, juice, candy, and snacks.  One to be kept in Kortnie's classroom, and one to be kept in the Health Office.  I signed the necessary paperwork giving everyone permission to give Kortnie her insulin, glucagon, and Tylenol. 

Her classroom kit -Juice, Smarties, Gel Icing, Alcohol Wipes, Batteries, extra Test Strips, Glucose Tabs, Glucagon, Diet Rootbeer, Sugar Free Jello, Low Sugar Gum, Crystal Light packets, (also after I took the picture I put in some PB Crackers) **The diet soda, low sugar gum, CL packets, and sf jello are in the case of treat days, most of the time they'll call me and she'll have the same treats as the other classmates, but for these few things I prefer she have the no or low sugar substitute.**

Health Office kit - Extra Meter, Smarties, Alcohol Wipes, Batteries, PB Crackers, Lancets, Juice, Pump Supplies, Glucose Tabs, Glucagon

I left feeling confident and we agreed to meet up again in January or sooner if need be to re-discuss our plan.  This year, we are giving Kortnie a little more independance than previous years, hoping to transition her to do a lot of her own care by the time she moves up to the Intermediate school for 4th grade next year.  The main thing we are doing is that for the first semester Aug-Dec she'll still go to the Health Office for her lunchtime check and bolus, but instead of the Nurse doing the bolus, Kortnie will do it herself and the Nurse will watch to make sure she's inputting everything correctly.  After Christmas break we'll probably let her start doing her lunchtime check and bolus in the classroom.  Most of her other care is done in the classroom already.

When I read about how other's struggle to get what they want at school, I always feel so lucky that we have never had any problems with our teachers and school staff. 

To see our IEP plan we have a tab at the top of the blog  where you can look through it.  I would love suggestions or questions as they will help me  when I make up the 504 plan next year.

**A 504 plan is a document that the Parents, Child, School and Doctors make together and file with the school, in the case of a school 504 plan, it protects the rights of the child under section 504 of the American With Disablities Act which states that Noone with a disablity can be excluded from participating in Federally funded programs including school.   You can read more about section 504 in the ADA here.