Kids and Diabetes

Mount Sinai’s highly skilled physicians diagnose and treat infants, children, and adolescents with diabetes and endocrine disorders. We teach you, the families of these children, about managing your son's or daughter’s diabetes. We also work with pediatric endocrinologists to transition children from their pediatricians to adult services when appropriate.

Youth and Diabetes

Children spend many hours in school. It is critical that you work together with your child’s teachers and other school employees to keep your child’s diabetes under control.

You may want to start by meeting with your child's teachers and school nurse to discuss your child's needs before the school year even begins. You can bring pamphlets or information from this web site to provide an overview of diabetes and the warning signs of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and other complications. You should also work with your diabetes educator and the school to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that details how the school will manage your child's diabetes.

The IEP should include:

  • Your emergency contact information
  • Contact information for your child's doctor
  • Your child's blood sugar monitoring schedule
  • Child's target blood sugar range
  • Child's medication schedule
  • Details on who is responsible for administering medications and other treatment (usually the child or a school nurse)
  • List of diabetes-related supplies to be kept at school
  • Meal and snack guidelines
  • Exercise guidelines
  • Symptoms and treatment for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

Three main federal laws protect your child's rights:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504 for short) prohibits schools from refusing to administer medication, denying your child participation in sports or other activities, and denying credit due to absenteeism related to the child's condition. It also allows parents to work with schools to create a plan to accommodate the child's needs.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents public schools and day care centers from discriminating against people with disabilities, including diabetes.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that schools create an IEP to accommodate children with disabilities, including diabetes.

For Kids Only

If you are a young person with diabetes, it is important to know that you are not alone. Nearly 200,000 young people in the United States have diabetes. You probably already know the basics about diabetes and how to stay healthy. You may not be as aware of how to deal with the emotions that come with having diabetes in general and in school.

Diabetes and emotions. Being a young person with diabetes can make you feel angry, sad, or upset.

Here are three tips on how to manage the emotional side of diabetes:

  • Remember that you are not alone. A lot of kids have diabetes or other health issues.
  • Talk to a family member or friend. That can make you feel a lot better.
  • Find a support group or camp. Support groups allow people who have the same problem talk about their feelings and offer each other advice. Ask your diabetes educator about support groups for kids with diabetes and their families. There may even be camps in your area just for kids with diabetes.

Diabetes in school. It is important to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range no matter where you are, including school. You probably know a lot about diabetes, but other kids may not.

Here are three tips on dealing with diabetes at school:

  • Teach your classmates. Before the school year starts, your parents should talk to your teachers about diabetes and how to manage it. You might want to tell your classmates about your diabetes so they understand why you have to test your blood sugar or eat snacks when they do not. Some kids only tell their close friends about their diabetes and that is ok, too.
  • Do not let yourself be bullied. Tell your parents or teacher if somebody is bothering you about your diabetes or anything else.
  • Don't be embarrassed. Having diabetes is not your fault, and a lot of other kids have it, too. Diabetes doesn't have to stop you from being happy and healthy.