While James has had a few brushes with schools that have been less than ideal, thankfully, I would say that at this point, his positive experiences with diabetes in school outnumber the negative ones. I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few of our favorites.
No discussion of amazing teachers is complete without talking about James' very first one -- his preschool teacher. She had a mother's heart. I've never seen a person without a child with type 1 handle type 1 responsibilities so well. She had a curious mixture of competence and concern, paired with caring and compassion. As moms of children with diabetes, leaving our kids is hard to do! We always worry, with few exceptions. I never worried with this teacher. She helped us to navigate the preschool world of lots of snacks and frantic activity in a way that permitted James to run and play and eat and learn like every other kid there!
Then, there was our favorite school nurse. Understanding, caring, laid-back, and diligent, she was such an amazing force for good in James' life. She understood the principles of treating diabetes. She had great communication skills and an incredible understanding of the particulars about James. She instituted the policy of testing him not just in the classroom but at his desk while he was doing his work! ("I just let James do his work with his right hand and come up and test his left hand," she told me. "He doesn't even stop writing!") Consequently, he missed absolutely no instructional time. She took my direction well and did her job in an amazing way. She was a friend and a mentor to James and a huge blessing in both of our lives.
Finally, I need to talk about our current school again. Not only do I love the programs and the teacher at this school, I love the attitude from the staff -- all of them!
James is in a really good place now. While we had an amazing experience home schooling (and we didn't home school because of diabetes -- that needs to be said again), I feel like he is better off for having left home and encountered some really amazing grownups. Now I can have confidence that he is safe in school and not only when he is home or with me.
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.
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