Type 1 and Field Trips

My 13 year old nephew was diagnosed with Type 1 this summer. He has a great handle on it, and I’m really proud of him. I have Type 1, too, but I was diagnosed in my 30s so I don’t have any experience of being a kid or young adult with this disease. My sister met with the nurse and school officials yesterday. It went well for the most part, but they told her that my nephew wouldn’t be able to go on any field trips. I was floored. I have no problem chaperoning the trip nor would his parents, but does a 13 year old kid want his parents or uncle to chaperone every trip? Also, what type of message does this send out… you are being ostracized because of a disease. It’s difficult enough I would think at that age. There are also 5 other type 1 diabetics in his class. My question is if this is the usual case with diabetic kids and field trips. Thanks.

I’m not a T1 parent but I’m almost certain that that’s not true. The parents should be filing a 504 plan with the school to iron out all this kind of stuff. Here’s a good intro to what that’s all about (field trips included):
https://beyondtype1.org/whats-a-504-plan/

ETA: Six T1’s in a class seems like a lot!

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My sister is a T1D, diagnosed at age 11. She is permitted to go to field trips as long as a chaperone is present ( either nurse or guardian). My sisters class has one other boy T1D, and they just get grouped together with the nurse.

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Thank you for this information. It is very helpful. It’s the whole 8th grade that has the 6 Type 1’s. I’m not sure how big his class is.

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Do you live in the U.S. and is it a public school?

If you are in the U.S. and it is a public school, they cannot do that. There is no debate or deal-making or anything like that. They cannot legally exclude a kid because of a disability.

They can do it for behavior, or attendance, or grades, but NOT a disability.

Don’t play with this, don’t let the nurse do that or say that or get away with that. There is absolutely not gray area here.

Sub part D of the Section 504 regulations prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities. This means that public schools must provide services to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the schools meet the needs of students without disabilities.

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Thank you. Yes. It is the US and a public school in a good district. My nephew is an easy kid and very respectful so that certainly wouldn’t be an issue. I felt same way as you in that the school shouldn’t be getting away with this so this information is helpful for his parents. They are a bit overwhelmed so I can understand that right now. Another thing that was mentioned during meeting was that my nephew will have to go to the nurse whenever he needs a shot. Currently, he’s on MDI. Again, I think this is a bit of an inconvenience, but I guess if he starts a pump, this would be taken care of, and he could administer his own insulin.

Depends on the state.

Quite a few states have very specific laws on the books that can be quite helpful.

My child is legally allowed to provide any diabetic treatment to themself any time any place. This did require a Doc sign-off that my child was experienced and competent in D care. In my opinion this is the correct approach. The Doctor and the Parent make the decision about when the child is ready to take on their own care. The school abides by that decision. In our state it is state law that the school must abide by that decision.

In terms of field trips, I LOVE field trips. I have gone on every field trip as a parent chaperone.

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Thank you. I’ll have them check in their state.

I doubt there will be any issues, but if there are you can call your state American Diabetes Association for legal assistance. in general, a school field trip is the same as a classroom experience and the same protections apply. However, it is always best to work with not against the school, but in 90% of all cases it works out, if people on both sides are willing to give a little.

For additional information about employment, public accommodations, police and airline issues you can also consult the local ADA office.

https://www.diabetes.org/resources/know-your-rights/discrimination

Here is the link for the ADA at school assistance specifically,

https://www.diabetes.org/resources/know-your-rights/safe-at-school-state-laws

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Many public schools do not have full time nurses. The nurses have to cover multiple schools. One has to give shots at one school and then drive to another school to give meds,. The kids essentially are self medicating in some schools, I believe if they have a medical condition. This is not right.

The school is way overstepping their bounds. I was excluded from field trips during kindergarten (this was in the 90’s so the laws may have been different) but my mom eventually got them to give in and let me go. Sometimes she chaperoned and sometimes my teacher was in charge of me. As previously recommended a 504 plan should iron out all of these issues. I would recommend watching this video on how this family handles in school diabetes care.

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This was where we ran into an issue.

We had made the erroneous (and in hindsight foolish) assumption that the regular school nurse who knew exactly what to do would be attending a field trip.

Obviously the one nurse can not simultaneously be at the school taking care of all her other children patients while at the same time on the field trip. So a substitute nurse was brought in for the field trip. Medicine is a very large field and it is not realistic for every medical professional to know everything. In this case, Diabetes Type 1 care was obviously not a strength of the substitute nurse on the field trip.

To avoid this situation in the future, I went on every field trip after that as a parent chaperone.

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@typ1 It adds on a huge expense to have a full time nurse at each school. A lot of districts are poorer than others so it makes it harder to afford it. If you think about it, 10 schools, 10 nurses, quite expensive for some districts to handle.

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I went on field trips. I went downhill skiing. I went to Washington DC.

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I agree with everyone here on this one! There is no reason any child should be told no field trips due to a “disability”. He should have a 504 in place and this should be addressed. My son had different “disabilities” and had an IEP and I went on most field trips. But even the ones I couldn’t do, they made it happen. No reason he should sit in the classroom while the rest of his class goes on a filed trip. You have to fight this one! All kids live for field trips!

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I was diagnosed at age 12 many years ago, and I can personally attest that if I could do it then, an intelligent young man aged 13 today is fully capable of providing his own diabetic care. I agree that modern laws mean that he needs to have the 504 in place, but he should be able to test his own blood sugar, take his own injections when needed for highs or for meals, and treat any lows he may encounter. He knows his own body and diabetes better than any full or part-time school nurse. Does he have to go to a nurse in school if he needs a glucose tablet? That could be very dangerous if he has to “wait” to see him or her. If his parents can afford to do so, I would suggest that he get a continuous glucose monitor, and at age 13, he should be able to handle an insulin pump. Both of those items will help him more easily keep control of his own diabetes management… and enjoy every single school field trip! (P.S. As a child, I never missed one field trip, and as an adult, I took my own students on many field trips, too!)

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This really is different state by state.

Perhaps a 504 is required in some states but definitely not all.

In my state, there is State Law that allows the combination of the Doctor, the Parent and the Child to determine which aspects of care are appropriate for the child. Each child is an individual with their own maturity level and their own experience which can be significantly impacted by how long since their diagnosis.

The schools in our state are legally required to follow the direction from the Doctor in terms of allowing a child to manage their diabetes anywhere anytime without any need for a 504.

Any parent with a school age child who has diabetes needs to examine the laws in their state as the laws can vary significantly from state to state. Plenty of websites that make this very easy to do.

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Thanks to everyone for your excellent advice and experiences. They do have a 504 in place, and it seems like in their state my nephew can take his own insulin shots, etc. so I passed all the information on to his parents. Thankfully, they have good insurance so my nephew is excited to get a CGM. His parents enrolled him in a Type 1 teen group so tonight is the first get together so I am happy he will have a support group his age to interact with. Today was his first day of school so I’m anxious to hear how it went. I’m sure it was fine, but I’m still anxious.

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Please keep us posted. It’s bad enough that us adults get T1 but for kids…that breaks my heart every time I hear about yet another youngster having to deal with it.

I was dx in the second grade in 1959. My teacher was told and I wasn’t kept from doing anything with my class. I took one shot a day when I woke up, so giving insulin wasn’t a problem at school.

When I felt low at school, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a butter rum lifesaver. Maybe 2 if I felt like I needed it. If I felt like I was getting low in P.E., I sat down. I never passed out in school all the way through college.

None of this was ever a big deal. I never tested my urine at school.

The daily shot was a torture for me because of the big, thick needle which needed to be frequently sterilized.

My mom never kept junk food in the house, so I didn’t really have to change the way I ate much at all. It wasn’t fun having diabetes, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal either.

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