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Diabetes Special Needs Factsheet

What Teachers Should Know

Diabetes affects how the body uses glucose. Glucose comes from the foods we eat and is the main source of energy for the body's cells. Glucose levels in the blood are controlled by a hormone called insulin. Insulin is made by the pancreas and helps glucose enter the cells.

There are two types of diabetes:

Having too much or too little sugar in the blood makes a person feel sick. Blood sugars can be checked with a blood glucose monitoring system. People with diabetes must check their blood sugar levels regularly throughout the day. Diabetes can be managed through medicine, diet, and exercise.

Students with diabetes may:

Because bullies often target students who seem "different," certain health conditions, including diabetes, can put kids and teens at higher risk of being bullied.

What Teachers Can Do

Students with diabetes may miss class time or be absent due to doctor visits and hospital stays. Your students with diabetes may need special consideration regarding missed instruction, assignments, and testing.

People with diabetes can exercise and play sports at the same level as anyone else. Regular exercise is an important part of diabetes management. You may want to remind students to check their blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise and to keep a snack handy.

Learn to recognize the symptoms of high and low blood sugar. Keep extra snacks, juices, and emergency supplies in the classroom in case your student starts to have symptoms of low blood sugar.

Make sure your students with diabetes have diabetes management plans and be prepared to respond in the event of an emergency in accordance with the plan.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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