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From Illinois, USA:

I am a school psychologist in a district with a new kindergarten student who has diabetes. I don't know what type she has, but the teacher says the student does not take insulin. I've been asked how her diabetes might effect her educationally; for instance, she seems to have fine motor difficulties due to poor circulation in her hands. What other affects might we see and how can they be addressed in the classroom?


Sorry, but there are some things in your question that don't make sense:

  1. Kindergarten students with diabetes mellitus are almost always on insulin, although they are unlikely to take it at school: maybe she's taking it at home. Or maybe she has another disorder, diabetes insipidus, which is another situation entirely.

  2. "Poor circulation" is not expected from diabetes mellitus in a child this age.

  3. "Fine motor difficulties" are not caused by "poor circulation" (and most 5 year olds don't have fine motor skills completely developed).

Children who happen to have diabetes should be treated like anybody else.


Additional Comments by Jeff Hitchcock

As the parent of a child with diabetes, I would like to add a few general comments for teachers and other school staff who might be new to children with diabetes:

  1. Children with diabetes must be allowed to use the restroom and and have access to water when they feel the need.

  2. Some children with diabetes require mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks as part of their diet. These snacks are part of the medical treatment of their diabetes and must be allowed. Disallowing snacks for children who require them can cause hypoglycemia.

  3. If a child with diabetes feels low (i.e., is hypoglycemic) and performs blood sugar testing at a school clinic, always send another student to accompany the child with diabetes to the clinic. Severe hypoglycemia can cause loss of consciousness.

  4. Diabetes should have no effect on a child's education or performance at school.


Original posting 5 Jun 97


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