There have been many advancements over the years relating to the treatment and management of type 1 diabetes, but when it comes to how Ontario schools deal with the disease, they seem to be a long ways behind.
When we were first diagnosed our nurse assured us that Rainbow wouldn’t have any problems as she would be just starting Jr. Kindergarten a few months after being diagnosed, but as we got closer to the end of summer, and my wife was getting ready to have our third child, we found that nothing could be further from the truth (at least from our perspective). We were fortunate that our nurse was able to get the application in to have a nurse come in two times a day for nutrition breaks, but what would happen the rest of the time. Our principal told us that teachers would not touch her for testing etc, nor would they do anything other then call EMS in the case of emergency because of their contracts and unions.
We were prepared to go with her all the time if we needed to (and we know other parents who have had to do this or pull their kids from public schools all together), but when we met with the kindergarten teacher and ECE teacher we came to know that one of their spouses had T1D so they at least had a better understanding of what was going on, and was willing to test if necessary. It was such a relief and blessing to know that she would be taken care of.
I feel so bad for parents who don’t have that support. There are a bunch of parents in our area who are working together to lobby out public school board to make policy changes, even simple ones to more closely monitor them and test them periodically so that there will be no need for any emergency treatment.
Keep watching as we continue to push for changes. Provinces like British Columbia have just made new legislation for policy changes for the management of T1D in schools so that’s a great encouragement for us to keep pushing!
If you are interested in getting involved or would like updates on what we are doing with our school board please feel free to get in touch with me.