Diabetes In The Real World: College

If not, by now, shortly, you and your child will have chosen where they will be attending college in the fall.

What an exciting time!

As you enjoy the excitement, and if you have a child with diabetes, the coming fall becomes a dreaded monster as you realize your child, AND THEIR DIABETES, will be left on their own without the help of mom and dad. How will this ever work?

You got this, and so do they: your child is not the first to enjoy this rite of passage.  Millions have gone before, and so have many with diabetes. You can do this.  Discuss going away to college with your child.  They will not magically understand everything they have to do once they get there if you have been doing everything for years.  That goes from their daily management to ordering supplies.  Start now so they are ready in September.

The rules differ: Where you had the ‘pro-activeness’ with programs like 504 and IEP coming from the school with your input, in college, the requirement is only that the school does not discriminate against a child with diabetes. It is a much different playing field in college.  There are rules and regulations, and I strongly recommend that you visit these sites: 

Safe at School State Laws Collge and Beyond

College Diabetes Network

Disability: As you investigate, know that ‘under the law’ you are a student with a disability.  If one is managing a disease daily and there is a chance to be unfairly treated, it is a disability.  It may not sound warm and fuzzy, but it is what one with diabetes has.

School’s medical Team: You should meet with your college’s medical staff before school starts. Ask any questions you may have and have them written in advance.

Roommates:  I have heard the pendulum swing on this over the years, from roommates being friends forever to switching rooms in the second week; whatever it is, deal with it.  Once settled in, roommates are one of the most exciting parts of college life.  Your child should not be shy in letting roommates know about their diabetes.  Make it more factual than emotional.

CGM: You and your child should be connected regarding blood glucose levels.  But…notice the word, BUT, here.  There should be boundaries.  Do not call every time your blood sugar runs low, but you both should agree that if the CGM reading you have reaches “X,” you’ll be reaching out.  You just want to have their backs, and they should welcome it. If you have a reading and they do not respond, tell them you will need to call one of the roommates.  None of this is because you do not trust them…it is only a ‘just-in-case moment.

College life: DO you remember freshman year in college?  Independence, new friends, and being away from home on a continual basis.  Do not make it all about their diabetes.  I had a blast in college, but I did not have diabetes.  Your children are dealing with a lot, but let them enjoy this time in their lives and let them know that you are asking these few things so they can enjoy it as much as possible.

And every time you speak with them, do not make it about their diabetes.  Make it about them in a wonderful world they can marvel at, ask about that instead.

Good Luck

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like.’

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