Your teenager may find that hiding their diabetes may seem to take less energy than explaining and confronting it.
Usually teenagers tell a few close friends, but they may not be keen to tell their teachers. This may cause problems if they have a hypo in class – if they eat something in class it will draw more attention to them. It is therefore important to encourage them to tell their main teachers, especially those who supervise sport. Telling these teachers can prevent misunderstandings, for instance, when they have to suddenly leave the game to treat a hypo.
Three good reasons for your teenager to let the teachers know about their diabetes are:
- Safety – so that the staff are aware that a student has diabetes.
- Convenience – they may have to eat a snack in class or on the sports field or leave the room for an injection. A hypo may make them lose concentration and appear inattentive. An understanding teacher may make life a lot easier.
- Because they want to – one teacher may be someone they particularly relate to and talking about their diabetes is part of talking about themselves.
If your teenager doesn’t want diabetes mentioned, they have a right to privacy. However, their school should have official notice, with a letter in their school medical records. If they don’t want their diabetes mentioned during class, they should let their teachers and friends know that this is their wish.
Despite your teenager being reluctant for you to speak to their teachers, it is important to stress to them that the school should be notified of their diabetes from a safety/legal point of view. Your diabetes educator or an educator from Diabetes NSW or Diabetes Australia in your State or Territory may be able to help. Alternatively, one of your teenager’s friends may help persuade your teenager to tell the school.
Your teenager may have to be the teacher regarding diabetes. Teachers and friends cannot be expected to understand problems relating to diabetes until they know more about it.
For more information on diabetes at school please go to the Teachers and Schools page.