This is a really tough question to address but I feel it important enough to discuss. My goal here is not to open up Pandora’s Box but rather, to create an important dialogue. I understand each family is different and each parent must make the call on a case-by-case basis. Let’s respect what others do, and accept it may different from what anyone else does.
When it comes to diabetes, when do you keep your child home for school?
What can you share with us that can help others make THAT call?
I can share with you what we did, and we certainly did not know more than anyone else but perhaps it can begin the dialogue. We always went back to our goal when Kaitlyn was diagnosed; to make sure her life was as normal as other children and to try to get her life to be as close as possible if she did not have T1D. This was our goal. Now of course we would never put her in harm’s way but we found her to be A. Certainly more resilient than we could ever be; and B. She would have had to be up almost all night for us to keep her home and this happened, maybe a small handful of times throughout her entire schooling.
It may be that if your child is missing 20-30 days a school year, you may want to check if that needs to be the case? Ask around. Bring it up in support groups. It may be completely justified; I do not have the answer. But we should always have a check and balance to our own actions. We always lived by the rule; we do not know what we do not know……but we can surely find out.
You could almost imagine that I would bring in the name of my dear, great, late Richard Rubin. Richard, who coined the phrase Diabetes Overwhelmus, always made these type decisions about being a choice. What is the choice? It is a good choice? What would happen if you did A vs. B? Ask yourself.
We were always taught that it should be a very rare occasion to keep Kaitlyn home from school. It’s important to also remember, that they are kids. They can learn to use something if they know it will work. It was going to be our call if Kaitlyn stayed home from school, not hers. She was diagnosed so young that it was an easy call when to do and not to do. When Rob was diagnosed, it was more of a discussion because he was a teen-ager already upon diagnosis.
Look, there are times that you need to do what you need to do. But if your child is missing two or three days every week or two; the attempt should be to change that trend. Also make sure IT IS DIABETES when you keep your child home. Make sure there is not something else going on.
Ask a lot of questions. Ask if they are missing a test that day, and make sure that the test and the missed homework is made up right away. They will learn that it is better to get it over with at the due time instead of putting it off and taking up their personal time to make up lost work, if this is a cause they try to stay out of school to avoid.
Kids spend more time at school than anywhere else outside the home. Much can happen at school that we have no idea; and it can ‘come out’ in many different ways. From the subject matter that can not be grasped, to being bullied for a list of reasons, to getting changed to go to gym class…….we just have no idea. So know that a change in personality a trait, may not even have anything to do with diabetes.
Almost all parents have a similar goal in making sure our kids can take part in every aspect of life as they could if they did not have diabetes. Figure out what is right and always ask yourself, “Do others with diabetes go through this and what do they do?” When you ask a lot of questions, you will see many trends starting to occur. Bring your concerns to others and to your health professionals. When you have enough information before you; you will be able to figure out what is best for your child, and soon these type of decisions will become second-nature to you.
We really do not know………what we do not know.
I am a diabetes dad.
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