Well here we are, the first day of school!
Sophie is starting Year 6 at her new school here in Bristol. It is the final year of elementary school here so she’s only at the school for a year, and we soon have to start touring secondary schools and applying (like, in the next month!).
But for now, she’s at a fantastic small school that has welcomed her and her diabetes with open, loving arms.
We went to the school yesterday so Sophie could tour it and meet her new teachers, but also so we could meet with them and the first-aiders to discuss her diabetes management plan. The school couldn’t have been more accommodating. They were completely on board with our current management plans which included letting her have her mobile phone in class to monitor her blood glucose levels as well as to communicate with me regarding treatment decisions.
I made a few diabetes kits for the school like these:
They’re just clear, plastic boxes (not very big, only 3L in size) that I’ve labelled with her name. One box for the classroom only has some extra activity snacks (longer-acting carbohydrates such as granola bars, to eat before P.E. class if she needs to) and of course lots of sugar treatments like juice boxes and dextrose tablets.
Then I made another box to be kept in the medical cupboard in the office with again more sugar treatments, but also a back-up glucometer, extra supplies like glucometer strips and alcohol wipes, one extra pump in case she needs to do a site change at school and I’m not around to help and bring her one, as well as the ever-important glucagon.
The school was great and happy that I’d made these kits and found space for them in accessible locations.
I often hear horror stories about schools being difficult and not cooperating with parents about a diabetic’s care, so I’m so pleased that they’ve been so accommodating thus far.
Then finally, the teacher asked Sophie if she [the teacher] could tell the class about her diabetes because it’s understandable that a class full of 10-year-olds will not only be curious about the new girl, but wonder what these gadgets stuck to her are, why they’re beeping all the time, and why she gets to have a mobile in school!!! We decided that it’s better to inform them all in one swoop because while embarrassing and hard, if we don’t tell them, what they’ll be imagining is probably worse!
So the teacher told them some bits during morning introductions, then as well I went in to the class and gave them some information- I told them what type 1 diabetes is, why it’s not anyone’s fault that Sophie has it, how she can eat anything that they can, how her devices help her, and how they can help her (if she’s low, don’t leave her alone and please tell an adult). As I was in the class, I could tell Sophie hated this and wanted it over-with, so I tried to make it as short yet as informative as I could. The kids asked good questions and then seemed happy to send me on my way.
So that’s it, the first day.
How did it go? Well I didn’t get much more from her than I ever did (if anyone has a great tip to get more than single-syllable answers from your tween, please share!) but it seems to have gone quite well. She was paired with a buddy from the beginning of the day who was quite nice and introduced her to many friends and made sure she wasn’t lonely throughout the day. Sophie was even already throwing around the term ‘my friends’ in a few of her stories at supper tonight. It sounds like she still has to find a bit of footing around school and what is normal and how to sign up for certain things but that will come with time. All in all, a quite good report from her first day. This momma is pleased!