Parents of children living with type 1 diabetes can now breathe easier when waving them goodbye at the school gate, thanks to the launch of a $6 million initiative.
The Diabetes in Schools program, coordinated in Western Australia by Diabetes WA, will ensure principals, teachers and school staff will have access to better training, tools and support that will enable them to confidently assist and care for students living with type 1 diabetes.
The program is an integrated package, offering school staff access to differing levels of training – both online and face-to-face. Staff will also be able to draw on the expertise of health professionals to assist them in managing more complex cases.
The move has been welcomed by parents, including Corrine Moseley whose seven-year-old daughter Lara attends Safety Bay Primary School.
“This is a really exciting program!” says Corrine. “There are moments when going into a new school year with a new teacher or starting a new school it is a bit nerve wracking to leave a young child there for the day when there’s just such complex things going on.”
“Having effective training means all the teachers are going to be confident and have a clear plan,” she says. “It makes me happy to know that all parents are going to feel confident leaving their kids at school, knowing that their children are going to be in good hands with the correct procedures in place to make sure they are kept safe.”
Lara is one of an estimated 1200 students in WA who will benefit from the scheme which statistics show is sorely needed.
A national survey of parents who care for a child with type 1 diabetes showed that more than three-quarters of them had visited their child’s school in the past year because of a low or high blood glucose episode.
“Sending a child with type 1 diabetes off to school can be a source of great anxiety and stress for parents – they never know if they are going to be called into the school to help manage their child’s condition,” said Diabetes WA General Manager, Health Services Deborah Schofield.
Diabetes WA has been heavily involved in the development of the program over the past 18 months, and is now coordinating the program in WA.
“This is an extension of our strong partnership with Perth Children’s Hospital and schools over the last ten years, supporting kids and families living with type 1 diabetes”, Deborah added.
“This program is going to mean principals, teachers and school staff will be trained and supported, and ultimately, better equipped to confidently support students with type 1 diabetes. That will mean a massive burden will be lifted from the parents – they can kiss their children goodbye knowing they will be safe, healthy and able to enjoy school like any other child.”
To find out more about the program, visit the Diabetes in Schools website or call Diabetes WA on 1300 001 880.