Hey everyone i am a 13 year old girl going into my first year of high school this year does anyone have any advice for managing diabetes a school and with the stress that comes along with it. Any information would be helpful?
I myself am T1D and I was diagnosed right before 8th grade so I know what it’s like to go into high school having diabetes. At first it’s kinda scary because beginning high school can be overwhelming and then on top of that you have to manage diabetes. So first piece of advice: Do NOT worry about other people might think or say. You do you and if someone has a problem with that then they don’t need to be around because they are not worth your time. Instead own it and be yourself ;). Secondly: Stress oof, ok so school can be very stressful and this actually can have an affect on blood sugars so the best thing to do is just try to relax and find maybe an activity that you can do to help alleviate some of that stress. It could be something you enjoy doing or etc. just whatever helps to get your mind off the worries and stresses of school. Thirdly: Don’t hold yourself back or be afraid to do things because of your diabetes. Go out, have fun, do things, and just enjoy high school because it goes by very fast. I am currently a junior and the years have flown by so enjoy it and don’t hold back. Hope this helps and if you have any other specific questions regarding high school and diabetes I’d be glad to help!
Hi @lisajyorke! I’m a senior in high school with T1D since the 4th grade. In addition to everything that Colton mentioned, I have a couple tips myself.
The first tip that I can give you is to make sure that you (and your parent(s)) are communicating with your teachers and other relevant school staff. Even though you’ll be much more independent in high school, it’s important that you don’t keep your diabetes a secret. Most everyone at my high school, teacher or otherwise, are willing to go to great lengths to make sure students are safe and successful but they need to know about each student’s needs (in our case, diabetes); I don’t see why this wouldn’t be the case at your school. Given how invisible T1D can be at times, it’s important that the right people are aware to make sure you receive the necessary attention and supports to be as successful and safe as any other student. Talk to your teachers after class on the first day (or even better, during an open house before HS starts) and give them a brief explanation of T1D if they need it, explain how that might affect you during class (“My BG might go low, that looks like _, and I need to do _ to fix it” or “My BG might go high, that makes me feel _, and I would use my insulin pump (which isn’t a phone) during class to fix it”) and agree on anything you need from the teacher (perhaps a gesture/signal for when you need to step out of the classroom to manage your pump/shots/BG/etc.). See the school nurse soon after school begins and make sure you two are on the same page in terms of what T1D is, what you personally need to be successful, what you expect the nurse to do and what your responsibilities are.
To formalize a lot of this, you and your parent(s) should look into getting a Section 504 plan in writing with your school. Most any school should have a process for this and it gives you an opportunity to sit down with school admin and staff to detail your needs during your time at school and what the school will provide to help you be successful. (i.e. accommodations like breaks, being able to eat in class, using your phone for your CGM, extended testing, etc.). This is a great way to protect yourself and your rights, make your T1D known to the right people, and to most importantly, get those people on the same page as you. You can’t make the assumption that they will just know what you need, so a 504 in conjunction with good communication during your time at school will make sure that diabetes isn’t a huge part of any stress that comes from the next four years.
Now, I’m not exactly the best person to ask about any stresses from the social aspect of diabetes because I was and still am fiercely independent through my HS career with more interaction with adults than my peers, but I can say that I am the person to explain away any problems or awkwardness that comes with my diabetes to anyone that is willing to listen (most people are in my experience) and that usually means that people don’t give you a hard time about it. Heck, I have a few people at my school that see me pull out my meter and want to push the button on my finger pricker/lancet because they think it’s cool or something (or just like poking me in the finger, I don’t know).
And this probably goes without saying, but please don’t use your diabetes as an excuse, even if it seems appealing/easy. Have people understand your needs but don’t use it as a bailout. People will notice and it doesn’t reflect well on you.
Now, if you’re looking for info on more of the general in-an-outs of high school and less of a diabetes focus, I and others can provide that to. Like Colton said, don’t let your diabetes get in the way and make sure you make the most of these four (believe it or not, short) years.
Best of luck and feel free to ask me/us any more questions. We’re here for you and each other.
(edit: this resource on 504 plans might help!)
I’m 23 years old and have had diabetes since I was 9 years old. I went through high school dealing with this along with some insecurities I had in the back of my mind. When it came to my diabetes I did fear that people would judge me for having it on display, but honestly everyone only had questions about it. I learned that the general public isn’t very much aware of basics of diabetes so more than anything you may have to inform them about what it is. Now if you are uncomfortable with doing that I learned many times there are nurse’s offices that will let you test your blood sugar and take your insulin shots inside. For stress I able to learn how to do yoga and meditation in order to me to be in control of my blood sugars. Stress is a big factor to how you blood sugar can change. High school can be tough, but you learn to adapt to it through different ways. I hope I was able to help and good luck!
My name is Brandon A. Denson. I’ve been living with T1D for 14 years. I was diagnosed with T1D the summer going into my senior year of high school. This was probably the worst possible timing ever. I was just coming off of a knee surgery, undecided on universities, sports, and overall just life after graduation. From my friends and family the support was at an all-time high. It felt weird at first, with my HS friends asking me a ton of questions all the time, but what I quickly realized is that they were just making sure I was fine. It’s very important like @Chancey said that you and your family look into a 504 plan. This will give teachers and specific admin a better understanding of what you could possibly deal with or need on a day to day basis. I played four sports in high school and if you looked at me you couldn’t tell I had diabetes but I wanted everyone to know because it’s be and it’s not going anywhere but hopefully soon we will find a cure. Until then just continue to live and love life. T1D sucks but just always remember this it could be worse. T1D doesn’t define who you are, you do. Good luck with everything as I’m sure you’ll be just fine. If you need/have any questions feel free to reach out. Have a great day!!!
@denson28y As a mother of an 11 year old son I am interested in your experience with sports after your diagnosis? For some years now my son has played football, basketball and baseball and to his luck he has always been quite good at all of them and as you can imagine we have wondered how this diagnosis may affect him now and in the future. He was diagnosed May of last year so we are still trying to learn and adjust. Any info or feedback if greatly appreciated