Letter About Diabetes for Your Child's Teacher

Parent typing on the computer

The following information was created by the parents of a child followed in the Diabetes Clinic at SickKids. They are happy to share this document. It has been altered to remove the child's name. Where it says "NAME," insert your child's name. Change the his/her and he/she wording as needed.

CHILD's NAME: Supporting his/her diabetes at school

Our daughter/son NAME is a happy, playful, and energetic child and he/she is thrilled about starting school. He/she has type 1 diabetes. We have compiled the following information to support those who work with him/her.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong disease for which there is no cure. There are several forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is often called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin. Insulin unlocks the cells in the body so that sugar can enter and transform into energy for body function. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. Sugar buildup in the blood is a problem for long-term health.

How is NAME's diabetes treated?

The treatment of diabetes is a balancing act. On one side, food increases the level of sugar in the blood. On the other side, exercise and insulin lower the blood sugar. NAME's parents test and monitor his/her blood sugar. When it is in balance, he/she feels well and is able to function normally.

Balancing Blood Sugar
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The treatment of diabetes involves balancing blood sugar. Food increases blood sugar, while insulin and exercise lower blood sugar.

When does NAME receive insulin?

NAME gets 3 needles of insulin each day, in the morning, at dinner, and at bedtime. He/she will not require insulin during school hours.

When does NAME eat?

NAME eats 3 meals per day, as well as 3 snacks per day. While he/she is at school, NAME must eat his/her entire snack at the same time every morning. He/she can participate in field trips, class parties, or birthday celebrations, but he/she needs to be prepared. This means that his/her parents will need to compensate and make the appropriate adjustments and then discuss the simple modifications with the teacher. Examples of modifications:

  • NAME can have half of a cupcake instead of his/her regular snack.
  • A caregiver can come in for a party to select, measure, and monitor what NAME can eat.

How is NAME's blood sugar checked?

Throughout the day, NAME has his/her blood sugar checked with a hand-held meter. It is a small kit which contains a meter, a needle to puncture the skin, and strips that connect the blood to the meter. This meter gives a numerical reading that helps caregivers make a judgement about the next treatment.

Before checking the blood sugar, NAME must wash his/her hands to ensure that the blood reading is not compromised by any "sugars" on his/her hands. Whoever helps him/her to do the blood check must also wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer.

When does NAME's blood get checked?

NAME's parents check his/her blood at 5 scheduled times each day. As of yet, NAME does not recognize when his/her blood sugar is falling low. Low blood sugars can be dangerous if untreated. As a result, NAME has a blood check to confirm "low blood sugar" when he/she exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • mood changes
  • paleness
  • trembling
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • hunger
  • blurred vision

What if the blood sugar is too low?

Low blood sugars need to be treated right away. If the meter reads below 5.0, NAME needs to be given a full "Junior Juice" box. If blood sugar goes too low and is not treated, a person with diabetes can pass out or have a seizure.

If NAME passes out or has a seizure, DO NOT GIVE JUICE. Call 911 and then NAME's parents.

What if the blood sugar is too high?

NAME can also experience high blood sugar. The signs of high blood sugar are:

  • extreme thirst
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision

There is no need to treat these symptoms, but it would be helpful to inform NAME's parents of them so they can make the necessary adjustments.

What about extra activity during the school day?

NAME can participate fully in outdoor play and gym classes, but during these times the teacher needs to be aware of NAME's low blood sugar symptoms. If symptoms occur, please check blood sugar and give juice if the blood sugar reading is below 6.0.

Thank you so much for treating NAME as a "normal" child while still ensuring that he/she is healthy and safe! We are looking forward to a successful year. Your support means a great deal!



Marcia Frank, RN, MHSc, CDE

Denis Daneman, MB, BCh, FRCPC