What Make the Grade looks Like – By Sarah Christie
As a Mum with a teenage son who lives with Type 1 Diabetes. I wanted to share as part of the Make The Grade Campaign exactly what great Diabetes care looks like to us. As a family we have been incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful supportive team around us.
This amazing team is lead by the East Lancs Children’s Diabetes team; the East Lancs team consists of pediatric diabetes specialists, nurses and dieticians. People whom we could not have managed Jacks condition without.
When Jack was diagnosed he attended a local village primary school and I must say they were wonderful. The East Lancs Children’s Diabetes Team was amazing and hit school with military precision, ensuring school had the training and support to be able to support Jack. School was 100% behind us, as a result it was a raging success and he hit the ground running. Jack even attended a one-week educational trip within 6 weeks of being diagnosed, with the support of his team and school.
The next big step was high school, where would he go? Would they support his love of sport? What if he had a hypo, how would school deal with it? We needn’t of worried of any of these scores. A soon as we visited Jacks high school we knew it was the school for him. The staff went out of their way to address any concerns and question Jack had. He left the open evening with a smile on his face, I could have cried at the sheer sense of relieve he clearly felt. He was excited for the next stage of his education.
He is now in year 9, four and a half years into diagnosis, with a HbA1c of 7.2. Jack is in nearly all-top sets for his studies and loves school. I truly believe this is due to the steps that both his Schools and his team put in place to help him Make The Grade.
Jacks wonderful pediatric nurse Vicky has built a great relationship with School, they work as a team to ensure Jack the best possible care and support available. All this is done silently in the background, which prevents Jack feeling different, singled out. He has a confidence in his Schools’ ability to support him that fills me with so much gratitude to all these wonderful people involved.
Between Jacks team and his two wonderful Schools they have put the following steps into place to support him and other children reach their full potential at school.
• Seamless communication between school, the diabetes team and us.
• We are been invited to meetings to discuss Jacks care plan, Jack has been fully involved in this.
• Full training of all staff involved in Jacks education, thus allowing him the same opportunities as every other child in the school.
• Understanding; this is so important. On the rare occasions when he thinks his sugar is low in class, he is able to eat a snack to get him back on track. He is also able to telephone me from class if he has any health concerns.
• Jack has a dedicated room to administer his injections that he has constant access to.
• School keep two emergency kits stocked with energy drinks, snacks and lucozade for emergencies. One in the office and one in the P.E department.
• His injections are stored safely, so he only has to carry his testing kit. Carrying insulin was a huge concern for me, but School ensured it is kept safe, but accessible.
In short he has a normal, healthy school life, just like any other teen. This has given him confidence to be a typical teen. And what has it given us? Well that is priceless, we have been given the ability to go to work and know our child is in safe hands. We know school is committed to ensuring Jack is kept safe and supported, yet not singled out.
And do you know what both schools tell us? It’s just not an issue; it’s their job to keep him safe, he manages so well and doesn’t make a fuss. Well John Fisher and Thomas More High School and Higham St Johns Primary School. That is down to you, you have helped our Son to make the grade, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have no idea how vital your part has been in maintaining Jacks long-term health.