“This year I have a diabetic child in my class and I don’t really know what to do. I want to make him feel supported but I also don’t want to make a big fuss about the fact that he’s diabetic – he seems to be managing it very well… What do you suggest?” Linda Nkosi.
I think it’s great that you want to lend support to your learner who has diabetes. However, being in charge of children with diabetes can be a challenge unless you know about the condition – it’s a good start for you to get more information on diabetes.
Children with diabetes often feel isolated and alone. Having to test your blood sugar several times a day, keep tabs on what you eat, and give yourself insulin shots or other medicine is enough to make anyone feel self-conscious and different.
If he is willing to do an awareness project with you, it could be very helpful for the whole class. It’s very important to first talk this idea through with him and his parents, though – some people prefer to hide their diabetes and pretend that it doesn’t exist. If you tackle this project in an exciting way, the child will feel involved and the other children in his class will enjoy the topic and then, like children do, just move on to something else. Children are like that. They soon move on, but the message of hypos, testing and shots will be stored in their memory banks.
Remember that this child must always be treated like his classmates. Don’t make exceptions. Always remember, he is a child first. He has diabetes, but that doesn’t give him more or less rights than the child next to him.
Like everyone else, kids with diabetes get along better with a little help from their friends. What a lucky person he is to have a supportive teacher like you!
– Jeannie Berg, Diabetes Educator