Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Victory for T1 Kids in Alaska

When Bean was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 22 months ago, we knew that school was going to present some challenges because the first words out of the mouth of the nurse that trained us was "oh, she'll have to change schools because her school doesn't have a full time nurse."

Because of the commitment we had to the school and their commitment to helping us find a way to make it work, Bean didn't have to switch schools.

However, during the two months of school she was on MDI, I had to go to school every day the nurse wasn't there to watch her give herself her lunch insulin dose.  That was at least three out of the five days of school and most times I'd go on the days the nurse was supposed to be there because she wasn't always there.

It was a fight process to get the school to the point that some one other than me or the nurse could WATCH her give herself her insulin.  They couldn't help her, couldn't touch the insulin pen, they could only verify that she had 'clicked' it to the correct dose.

Thankfully, Bean started using the Omnipod insulin pump in October of that school year, which made things WAY easier for school, not to mention life with D in general.

But, there was still the issue of glucagon.  The life saving injection given to diabetics whose blood sugar is so low they are unresponsive.  This was something ONLY the school nurse or a parent could do.  NOTHING we signed giving someone else permission would allow them to give this life saving, non-harming injection to Bean if she passed out or had a seizure due to an extremely low blood sugar.


The following is copied from an email received today from the ADA:

I am proud to report that through the leadership of Janel Wright, Chair of the National Advocacy Committee and Alaska resident, we have won a great victory to make school a safe – and a fair – place for Alaska students with diabetes. This achievement would not have been possible without the volunteers, parents, and staff in Alaska who worked in partnership with school nurses, the local diabetes and tribal health medical communities, the diabetes prevention program staff and other stakeholders. Many thanks to everyone involved for their tireless efforts in helping Alaska students with diabetes stay safe at school.

Safe at School principles now in place in Alaska include:
Students able to do so are allowed to self manage at school – YES! The Alaska Department of Education will include the Association’s policy on self management at school in their guidelines along with a link to our Safe at School resources and the National Diabetes Education Program school guide.

Trained non-medical school personnel are allowed to administer insulin – YES! Non-medical school personnel are now allowed to be trained by school nurses to administer insulin to help children who need it. 

Trained non-medical school personnel are allowed to administer glucagon – YES! Non-medical school personnel are now allowed to be trained by school nurses to administer life-saving glucagon in the event of an emergency.

Now, our students with diabetes have access to the care they need to survive – and to thrive! School employees who are properly trained can now assist children who need help, and kids who are able to do so can manage their diabetes at school. 

Thank you for your advocacy and for everything you do to Stop Diabetes®!

Laura Keller
Alaska State Advocacy Director
American Diabetes Association"

This is SUCH an AMAZING thing!  Not only can non-medical staff be trained to help students with their insulin, they can give glucagon, potentially saving their life!

Truly a victory for kids and parents living with this disease and rearranging their daily schedule to do injections and worrying if their child will be OK until the ambulance or they can get there if the nurse doesn't happen to be working or present if their child loses consciousness because of a low blood sugar.


  1. that is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. So fabulously AWSCHUM!!!!!!

  3. Excellent! Printing it off and taking it to our nurse. :)

  4. That's great! I'd heard of difficulties around shots in school - but glucagon??? What about epipens, etc.? Sheesh. That must be a load of your mind!

  5. That's great, good thing our schools out here, didn't know of anything different, lol. The school secretary was doing MDI for two years. Glad to hear they put in place the new policy.


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