Saturday, October 15, 2011
This year I was ready for school. So I thought...
We had new school policy and guidelines in place.
We had a principal that seemed to be ready to support Cara in every way she could.
We had scheduled a nurse to come in 3 times a day to take blood sugar and give insulin.
I thought we were A GO
But what I found out is that we are not ready...NOT AT ALL.
You know why? because the support that needs to be implemented in a school to properly support and ensure a safe learning environment for a child with type 1 diabetes is not being accommodated. As far as I'm aware it is not even being addressed within the level that it needs to be addressed.
GOVERNMENT of ONTARIO that would be you I'm talking about...
To have a nurse come into test blood sugar, administer insulin and then leave the school is just not enough especially for our littlest and youngest. Oh and trust me I know how lucky we are to have a nurse BELIEVE me, Cara and I would be lost if it was not for the nurse.
But what about the time the nurse is not there? Who is responsible for blood sugar test, treating lows, retesting after a low? Who is the one to make sure my type 1 child is safe at school?
Who's responsible when the nurse is not there?
I guess it depends on who you ask to find an answer.
The teachers and principals all believe that it is not their responsibility to take on "medical" procedures.
Parents on the other hand believe that it is the responsibility of the only adults that are in the building which are the teachers and or principals to ensure the safety of that child .
In any case the fact of the matter is the government is leaving it up to the teacher, principal and parents to fight this one out amongst themselves. And this is not getting us anywhere.
I have been fighting this fight since the very first week Cara was diagnosed.
The week of diagnoses it was time to enroll our 3 year old Cara, newly diagnosed 2 days earlier into JK (junior kindergarten) and that was our very first experience of this discrimination. We were told straight up that Cara would not be allowed to test her blood sugar in school because of the presences of blood.
And that was that... the fight between us (the parents) and the school was on.
The ultimate power struggle.
Our first year of type 1 and school we had a principal that would not attend any diabetic training and therefore non of her staff felt it was necessary. The only teacher that was the least bit understanding was Cara's teacher since she was the one being directly affected by Cara's type 1 diabetes.
That same year we had tremendous trouble with the nurses that our CCAC management team was sending into the school. It was a revolving door of nurses...many of them had very limited to no diabetes care experience. One nurse who was sent to the school for the sole purpose of checking Cara's blood sugar DID NOT know how to use a blood sugar meter. They had to call down Cara's older sister to show the nurse.
Last year was a bit better. We had a wonderful nurse, we had a new school that was on board with Cara's care however they still were without a policy but what we were doing worked....for them. We ran Cara HIGH that poor kid was in the high teens to 20's for the good majority of her school year. WHY? because the care that she needed to ensure her safety was not available.
So I guess at some point we had to weigh Cara's safety over her health and no parent should have to do this. No person should have to put their long term health on the line to ensure their immediate safety.
Type 1 diabetes does not only impact blood sugar, it causes damage. Damage to major organs and to the development of a child's brain.
This year we probably have one of the best care in Ontario (which is not saying much) and we are still having major issues. Our principal wants more support for her and Cara's teacher, I want more care for Cara and we just keep on going around in circles, each on our sides pushing for what we need.
It is time for this fight between the schools and parents to end.
We need to come together, work together and bring this fight to the Government.
Teachers need support in their classrooms to ensure the safety of these type 1 kids and our T1 kids need to be safe and healthy in their classrooms. Essentially we all want the same thing.