From Hillsdale, Michigan, USA:
My seven year old daughter, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a month ago, likes to cry when its time to go to school. She doesn't want to go. She was low one day and didn't t tell the teacher that she needed something to help bring her blood sugar up. She told me she was scared and embarrassed. Can you help me? I feel for my daughter, but I know she needs to go to school too. However, she wants to stay home where I think she feels safe. Right now, we just push her into the classroom and leave. We do go back at lunchtime to check her sugar and give her insulin. She does fine and has a different attitude at the end of the day. Am I doing the right thing?
Separation anxiety is often a problem in your daughter's age bracket. Diabetes can complicate this anxiety for kids. My first thought is to have her evaluated by a psychologist with expertise in anxiety disorders to determine how much of the behavior is related to the diabetes and how much is generalized anxiety. Even the most normal and lovable of children can also learn to manipulate their parents with diabetes, but your child is so new to diabetes that I would not jump to that conclusion at this point.
Diabetes is a "family disease", and everyone has a stake in your daughter's successful diabetes management. Perhaps you and your spouse can join your daughter in meeting with a qualified diabetes team to assess what is going on within the family dynamics. This team should ideally include a counselor or therapist with experience in school adjustment issues.
"Pushing her into the classroom" may or may not be the best approach. I really recommend a full assessment with your diabetes team as soon as possible to lessen the long term results of this current behavior. The sooner everyone is clear on what is going on, the sooner the situation can be remedied.
Original posting 18 Dec 2000
Posted to Social Issues: School and Daycare
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