If your child has special medical needs, starting school can seem overwhelming. Having the correct information and resources in place will help make the process smoother for you and your child.
Prepare for school by taking these steps:
Contact the school.
Before your child’s first day, see what resources the school has available and what your child will require. Here are questions you should ask:
- Is there a school nurse available on site?
- Can a home care nurse accompany your child to school for the day, if needed, to tend to your child’s needs?
- If no school nurse is available on site, are there staff available who can be trained to provide the care or supervision your child needs?
- What paperwork needs to be filled out by the family or medical providers?
- Will the school require a letter of medical necessity from your child’s healthcare provider?
- Will your child require an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) or 504 plan to be in place so they can receive the accommodations that will ensure their academic success?
Contact your child’s healthcare provider.
Request a letter for the school staff that will allow them an understanding of your child’s diagnosis, symptoms to look for (such as signs of low blood sugar) and treatment. Include a phone number where the provider can be reached to answer questions the school staff may have. Sign a release of health information, so the school can talk directly with your provider if needed. Your provider can also help put together an Individual School Health Plan, which is often part of the IEP.
Meet with your child’s teacher before the school year begins, if possible, to start building a partnership.
Discuss your child’s needs. Explain what symptoms or events should trigger a phone call to you and how they should take action in an emergency. Consider making a cheat sheet of key points for the teacher. (Read Kaylee’s story to see how the mom of one of our patients did this.)
Pack all the medical supplies your child needs to bring to school. Include:
- A letter from your provider outlining a plan of care
- Glucometer, supplies, medications
- Treatment for hypoglycemia such as: snack, juice, glucose gel, glucose tablets, dextrose, glucagon, etc.
Make sure there is a plan in place for an emergency
- Who should be called in an emergency?
- Is the staff trained and knowledgeable in the administration of glucagon, if applicable, for your child?