What I’d love to write to my son’s school

Hey

Yes it’s me again. The one whose eye you very carefully avoided when you saw me at school the other day. For your information, I didn’t even want to talk to you. I was there with another of my children. It was their moment. I respect that and so should you.

I know you saw me. I’m aware that you consider me to be a pain in the arse and quite frankly, I don’t give a flying duck!

Since my child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago, I’ve become an advocate for his rights. I have to because you don’t really look after his needs and I know for a fact that there are several other students at his school with Type 1 diabetes. I wonder if you treat them with the same disdain? 

I have never once been rude when I’ve approached you. I am direct as I’ve given up on the subtlety I previously favoured (see here)

Is it really that much to ask that the diabetes educator be allowed to come and talk to all the staff once a year? Can’t you schedule it in to one of the staff meetings? I find it incredibly rude that every single year I have to make multiple requests, with increasing forcefulness, before it is finally done. 

Last year, I ran out of energy and guess what? No visit from the educator! 

I have three children at your school and because of your lack of ability to deal with training, I have to be the one to send my child’s emergency care plan to teachers when there is an excursion. This doesn’t bother me but, as a consequence, I feel judged and I often don’t contact the school when there are issues with my other children, as I don’t want to be seen as ‘one of those parents’. That bothers me at times! 

I would not send them to this school if I didn’t believe it offered a good education and that most of the teachers really do care about the students, so come on! Step up and shoulder your responsibility in this!

In one of our conversations, you told me my child needed to speak up when he was in trouble with his diabetes. This phrase haunts me in rare dark moments and tells me you do not understand what happens to someone who, for whatever reason, and often through no fault of their own, has blood sugar levels which are very low or very high. I wonder what needs to happen before you realise? That is the question that rolls around my brain when I send off my child to your care.

It has, however, felt really wonderful to get this off my chest!

Yours,

Resting bitch face

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7 thoughts on “What I’d love to write to my son’s school

  1. This is why we need a consistent approach across all schools – I’m desperate for protocols to follow with our type 1 kids, as it varies on the child and their parents, and that shouldn’t be the case!! You’re in the same boat as me, it must frustrate the hell out of you too! I don’t know what the answer is, but I think it needs to be figured out soon. (also, can DNEs come in for free? I know that my school couldn’t afford it if we had to pay! I’ll fill in haha)

    HOWEVER, some parents don’t promote the independence that you do with your son and expect all teachers to basically be their child’s pancreas…can you pleaseeeee have a talk to those ones please hahaha, we’re all there to care for the kids and you’d think that we were the devil by simply saying “No I cannot follow your 13 year old around to every class and check that he has done his BGL check and insulin” hahahaha. With all that time I have every day, I’ll definitely help prevent your child from developing his own independence around his diabetes and ensure he relies on you past adulthood…

    The report on t1d in schools has been done, so I’m hoping something springs into place soon! I’m sick of pushing for the type 1 kids also, it’d be great to have something to say “This is what we have to do, let’s do it”.

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    1. I have an awful feeling that it will take a tragedy before something is done. It seems to have been that way with anaphylaxis training, asthma training, making sure kids can swim. All compulsory on the back of a loss of a young life.
      My son’s DE is local to his school, goes in for free but does require notice as she is run off her feet. There are 6 kids with T1D at his school . There is no one person there to take responsibility .
      There are four kids at my school. We’ve set up a system for checking supplies of back up hypo gear, extra insulin etc are always there. One quick text to parents if supplies are low. All teachers on duty have a popper in their bumbag. For sport carnivals and excursions there are packs made up with emergency plans and hypo treatments included. The library and PE base keep poppers and shapes and all teachers can send for those of required. Etc etc. two parents cried with relief when this was set up! What does that tell you about the stress those families felt.
      Teenagers are teenagers and the human factor will always result in imperfection but we create the safety net that catches them when they fall. That’s duty of care!
      I resorted to sending my son’s school links to documents on this and questioned if they were fulfilling their duty of care towards the kids with diabetes. They got the educator in quickly after that ! Like you say Georgie, it should be mandatory!

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  2. Hi Mum of T1d, been there done that for the last 30 years since my son was diagnosed with T1d in early primary school, also living in a country area with no back up at the time. I got lots of support from Kids Hospital in Sydney that allowed me to do what you are now doing ( there was no internet in the 1980s) and schools Duty of Care is the way to go. Always go armed with the information and hand it over personally, keep headbanging, it is something I still do even though my son is now an adult, yet I still advocate for PWDs and their needs ( I am on several area health committees). I was once told by staff at Kids Hospital that the movers and shakers are ALWAYS the parents of children with chronic health conditions. Sad to see that 30 years later we still have to do the hard yards, however, keep the faith …. keep at and GO GIRL!

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  3. Thanks Jenny! I have become fearless in ways I thought I never would yet every year it’s like Groundhog Day! I am full of admiration at you for sticking at it for 30 years. What a trooper! Being in country NSW means I feel so remote from other families in the same situation so you supportive comment means so much!

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