We moved recently, and moving doesn't just mean teaching new school personnel about diabetes, it means teaching new Sunday school teachers, too. As the class only lasts an hour, and we always test before we drop James off, we're not too concerned about lows. We try not to overwhelm the volunteers with too much information. We just request that James not be given anything to eat without letting us know first. If the teachers plan a snack, we try to be there to give him insulin, and if we can't be there for some reason, James has been informed that he can have his snack at the end of class.
Well, we really like our new Sunday school teachers. Not only are they extremely nice to our boy, but they "get it" and make sure that we know about all snacks given in class. They also make all the kids wait (just a little while -- it isn't too difficult!) rather than just James, and I really love this. For some reason, it's really difficult for some adults to simply delay the sweet treats for a short amount of time so that James can eat with all the other kids.
I have to say, I also like their creative and sensitive style of informing the kids about the reason for the delay…although I confess the explanation is not the most medically sound. Recently they had an incentive, a sweet treat that they offered their little class. I know about this because James told me the whole story. When I came by the class to pick him up, I could see the lollipop in his hand. I tested his blood sugar and gave him insulin so he could eat it on the way home. In the car, I got the full scoop. "The teacher said we needed to wait to eat our lollipop because some kid in our class is allergic to sugar," James informs me earnestly.
He totally doesn't get that the lollipop consumption was delayed because of him and, specifically, the fact that he has diabetes! And that's why although the explanation of "allergic to sugar" is wholly inaccurate, I'm kind of loving it.
I love that his teachers are conscientious enough to provide an explanation that doesn't immediately single him out and make him feel bad (for the delay in consuming the treat) in front of his peers. I also feel like this is proof that a complex understanding of how diabetes works isn't necessary for everyone, and that your average person can, if they have a compassionate heart, find ways to help kids with type 1 feel just like every other kid.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.