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Banned from class trip

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by abrayome, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. abrayome

    abrayome Approved members

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    Here's the email we got from the head of high school at my daughter's private school. Not sure what he means by "current condition." How about "chronic condition"? I assumed she was going and met with the staff to request someone make sure she wakes up once a night to check her BG (she doesn't wake up with lows), to explain all the supplies she'd need to carry, and train on glucagon. I guess it backfired.

    BTW, even at 15, she's very responsible with her D management and her A1c has been below 7 since diagnosis.

    Thoughts?

    ----------------
    Agnes,

    I left a brief message on your cell phone but want to leave a bit more information here. Ms. C.[Director of Outdoor Education] had a long conversation with John Dockendorf [this name I will give, he's director of Adventure Treks in North Carolina,] who was not enthusiastic about including Graciela because of the difficulty of ensuring her safety. He has tried taking diabetic students on summer programs and on school trips, but about half of them ended up in the emergency room. Based on this experience and on Cynthia's description of Graciela's current condition. as you and she relayed to us, John is not willing to take this chance.

    He did tell Ms. C., though, that if it were possible to get Graciela up to Camp Pinnacle on Thursday afternoon or early evening, she could participate in the side trip to the Nantihala River, join in the rafting down the river, and return with the class. This would entail removing her port, I imagine, since there's a certainty of getting pretty wet on the raft and a likelihood of immersion. Joining for a short time might not feel worthwhile to either of you, and finding transportation might not be possible, but at least it's a possibility from John's perspective.

    We would have been so happy to find a way of including Graciela in the full trip, but the consensus was that we would be putting our teachers in a position for which they would not be prepared, thereby putting Graciela at risk. That proved more than we felt we could ethically take on. I wish there were a viable alternative, but we just can't find one.

    Let's talk by phone about what makes most sense to you at this point.

    Mr. R [Head of High School]
     
  2. MomofSweetOne

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    I would be asking to accompany my daughter on the trip. There's too many variables at play in such a trip, and I've seen first hand this summer that while my daughter also is great at d-management, trips like this are more than a 14-year old brain can process while also just being a teen.

    One of the trips we went on stressed me to the limits, it was so intense. I was thankful I was there to manage D. If it stressed me, what would it do to someone without any diabetes experience? I think the information that half of the T1 teens have ended up in the hospital also tells you that it's not wise for a teen of that age to be unaccompanied. Some of the best advise we've been given was by two different adult T1s is to NOT put my daughter into situations that we have not observed firsthand that she can handle on her own. They've both lived with T1 in their teens & know its demands. I value their advise.
     
  3. KatieSue

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    Hmmm it sounds like it's not the school but the person in charge of the facility they are going to for the trip. Obviously she should be fine to go. My daughter went on a 7 day trip to DC/Philly/NY when she was 14 with no one other than normal chaperones who knew she was diabetic and that was about it, she was fine. Had to set her alarm a couple of times for night tests and that was about it.

    That said I have no idea how to proceed. Perhaps you and the principal together can contact the guy and try to educate him a bit. Maybe find out what his real objection is?
     
  4. abrayome

    abrayome Approved members

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    Momofsweetone, I will be asking about accompanying her when I meet with him today. Although Gracie DOES NOT want me to go.

    I understand your reasoning and I have gone on class trips before. But at what point do we let them fly solo? She'll be going off to college in a couple of years, after all.
     
  5. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Well, I suspect that what they are proposing is illegal but at the same time it seems as though you were counting on them to tell you how she would be accommodated rather than meeting with the school and the trip organization in advance to discuss the rigors of the trip, and the specific accommodations your DD would need as well as how you might help the trip coordinators feel safe and informed about their involvement and liability.

    I know that mine would flat out reject my attending such a trip, but I also know that a successful outcome in a case like this is unlikely just going to happen - it would take a lot of work to plan and prepare and communicate across the school, the trip leaders, my kid and myself before all parties would feel prepared.
     
  6. Christopher

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    That is very dissapointing that they are trying to exclude her. Maybe you could call the program person directly and see if you could change his mind?
    I can understand them wanting to keep your daughter safe (and probably cover their own rear ends) but there should be a way to make this happen.

    This is from their own website:

    Adventure Treks requires each instructor to be trained to a Wilderness First Responder or EMT standard.

    Industry standard medical training for backcountry instructors is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or EMT certifi cation. Wilderness First Responder certification means the instructor has passed an intensive 80 hour course that focused on the prevention and treatment of back country emergencies. Many programs (and The American Camp Association) require only Wilderness First Aid certification, which is generally inadequate for extended backcountry travel.


    Seems like they are saying they can handle any kind of emergency so.....they can't handle a reasonably self sufficient teen with diabetes?


    Here is their Mission Statement....doesn't seem like they are really living up to it in your case:

    The Adventure Treks mission is to ensure the safest, most substantive, and most exciting adventures for young people through our personal attention to every student, our caring and our competence. Adventure Treks is a program for outstanding young adults with an emphasis on fun, outdoor adventure and building life skills needed for 21st century success.

    It would be interesting to ask the program director what kind of life skills your child is being taught by being denied this opportunity?


    Also ask him how denying your child fits into their "Culture of Kindness":

    Our goal is for every Adventure Treks student to feel welcomed and appreciated. Adventure Treks is a safe place for students to be themselves in a supportive, caring environment. We've seen so many lifetime friendships begin on our trips it's no wonder our past students frequently reunite for reunions, many which involve outdoor activities. Many alumni say the friendships are the greatest gift of the Adventure Treks experience and we look forward to seeing more each summer!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  7. abrayome

    abrayome Approved members

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    [Now I remember why I don't like CWD. How about some helpful advice instead of judgement?]

    They have allowed other students with D to participate in this trip before. I met with one of them and her mom to find out what to expect and how to prepare, so I don't think it was unreasonable for me to assume Gracie would go. The purpose of the meeting we had was just what you said.

    Whatever.
     
  8. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Look, I can only know what I read in your post. If you don't tell the whole story then don't expect people to know it.

    You wrote that you assumed that someone, it was unclear of whom you were speaking, would do the training and the planning.

    Again, I can only respond to what you put into words.

    Good luck.
     
  9. KatieSue

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    From the OP's original post. She assumed her daughter was going and did meet with the staff to discuss what was needed. She assumed her daughter was going she did not assume that anyone else would train and plan that's what she was trying to set up.
     
  10. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    To each their own, but if I were school admin/trip leader I would want to hear this from an adult, not a child.
     
  11. momtojess

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    This is just crazy and gets my blood boiling. When you meet with him today, I would ask them specificially what the issue is and maybe you can comfort their fears of what they think may be problems. It's probably a lack of knowledge on their part that has them scared.

    I would contact our ADA, ask them if they have an advocate. I know they have a volunteer that is a local lawyer who has helped with school issues in the past. Even though it is a private school, it stills seems it would be illegal. I can PM you his name if you want.

    Maybe call the endo to see if they can help at all. I'm sure Dr. N would not be happy to hear about this, she seems to have worked so hard the last few years with the schools.

    Good Luck,

    I hope some sort of an arrangment can be worked out and Gracie gets to go and has a great time.
     
  12. Megnyc

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    Sorry you are dealing with this :(

    I went on school trips each year starting in 8th grade that were very active and involved international travel. The 8th grade one was a 2 week hiking/rafting/community service trip to Costa Rica. The ones in high school were all to different European countries. My parents never attended and we did not have a nurse on the trips. We just trained the teacher chaperones. So, long story short I think it is definitely doable but will just take a ton of planning.

    The fact your daughter is already on a CGM will be helpful. I emailed my parents to try to get a copy of the document we used to train the teachers. We also made up a 3 page "contract" of their responsibilities and mine. All of the diabetes management was my responsibility but the teachers were expected to ensure that I was following the rules and contact my parents if I was not. The deal was my parents would be on the next flight over if I messed up. The teachers were also responsible in case of an emergency and trained in glucagon.

    I'll post more later but I really think you can work this out :cwds:
     
  13. swellman

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    Yea, been there a dozen times but, unfortunately, the reality of the situation for us is that I go on each and every one. I just couldn't put our school and the teachers and administration in the position of providing multiple, overnight diabetes care. It sucks for everyone.
     
  14. nebby3

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    I understand wanting your dd to go but it is scary that half the D kids they have taken have ended up in the hospital!! What is up with that?
     
  15. MomofSweetOne

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    What we're trying to do here is to take her on family outings doing things like whitewater rafting so that 1) I learn how her body reacts, and then 2) how comfortable she is adjusting basals, etc. and whether the activity is consuming so much of her focus that D is too much. Then after she's proven herself, we'll try solo. It rots, but it is what it is.

    I've struggled with whether I'm being perceived as "helicopter" by those who don't know D and its curve balls, but ironically, my daughter's friends have been very positive about me being along and made comments to her about their parents wouldn't do the same for them. I was surprised, but it has alievated my fears that she would feel alienated from peers because of my presence.

    I also see a huge difference between a trip like mentioned above to Washington that doesn't involve tremendous amounts of activity vs. activity situations that may not have cell coverage. My daughter goes to non-D camp every year solo, and the only assistance we asked for this year was night checks. We're just not ready for the off-camp adventure trips in locations without cell coverage.

    As far as college, it's still a three years away, and those years are HUGE growth and maturity years in so many ways for all kids, not just those with T1.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  16. 3kidlets

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    I'm not sure I'm buying that excuse. It sounds like he's just trying to scare them off! Why would they end up in the hospital?! I would buy it if he said one person ended up in the hospital, but when he says half, sounds ie he pulled that out of his butt.
     
  17. MomofSweetOne

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    I know that one T1 kid ended up in the hospital from camp a week my daughter was there and another on an adventure trip got into a serious situation the next year. It happens too often. These happened at a fabulous camp that has done whatever we have asked for our daughter since diagnosis. But, they don't know D apart from whatever training we do, and I know my daughter knows that she is the expert. It was a tremendous load on her at age 11, and I saw total burn-out when she came home that year. This year, none.

    Diabetes is a beast and if the kids aren't ready or aren't given the support they need, I can see it happening at those numbers. Someone else posted on here yesterday or today about a nurse being involved for HS. Our kids are all at different places of taking over their own care.

    I had thought my daughter was ready until a weekend that was advertised as pushing the kids to their mental, physical, and emotional limits. It did - without D. With D, it could have been really bad. She forgot to reduce her bolus with exercise immediately afterward and ended up consuming 5 juice boxes during the first 1.5 mile hike while I frantically reduced basal and watched the CGM. She was focused on the task at hand, not D, and as the weekend went on, she was very thankful that my presence let her be a kid without carrying the entire burden of T1 on top of everything else. It was an event staffed entirely by volunteers, and they were thankful for my presence in case anything happened with other kids when some volunteers backed out at the last minute.

    At another weekend event, she was on her own all day and I was supervising a given activity. When she arrived at my station, she was white. I was trying hard not to ask how D was behaving, but she was so white that I did. She told me she'd already eaten several times. Again, she was so focused on the activity that her ability to reduce her basal hadn't occurred to her. She's not failing in any way; no other teen there had to deal with the mental and physical demands of D. I'm just seeing that some things I thought that she has nailed, she's not as completely comfortable with as I had thought. She'll get there; I have every confidence in her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  18. sremillard

    sremillard New Member

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    I have to agree with you. The focus and memory it takes to manage T1 is too much some days for me and I don't have it myself. I'm managing it for my son. I have seen kids and teens be so distracted by excitement and fun or determination that they just don't think about it. It's a scary reality and I wouldn't want to put that kind of responsibility on people that don't understand what it takes to manage T1. And to me, one or two training sessions isn't enough. It took me a good couple of years before I felt like I knew what the heck I was doing. And even now after 8 years I'm still stumped a lot.

    If I'm not there (or someone else that has lived with diabetes and really understands it) night tests won't do much if they don't know how to interpret the numbers and take into consideration the activity from the day and where the blood sugar could be going.

    Just my feeling and my experience. I would go with her. :)
     
  19. Nancy in VA

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    Since they offered her to participate in part, can you sit down with the adventure director and ask specifically what his concerns are - get concrete ones - so then you can address them specifically. Everyone is throwing around generalities that are hard to address and just get everyone's hackles up. Ask specifically what happened in the past and come up with a solution for each one to try and prevent it. Ask what his concerns really are and come up with an answer.

    Maybe there isn't cell coverage for child to contact you? Although the EMTs are trained on adventure medical emergencies, diabetes isn't considered an adventure situation, so they probably haven't been trained on that. Bet they can splint a leg, put on a tourniquet, deal with snack bites, etc, but unless they've been trained on diabetes, they still might not have a clue and probably don't carry D15 in their first aid kit.

    This is coming from a place of fear. They aren't trying to be mean. They aren't out trying to get you. You shouldn't be "calling the lawyers or the advocates". Try to get to the root of the concerns and address the specific concerns and see if you can't get to a good resolution.

    You may not. Some people will not be comfortable dealing with certain medical conditions. If they are taking medical responsibility for a person, especially a child, they have to be comfortable that they can address the situations - and honestly, if they aren't comfortable that she can be safe, maybe you shouldn't be comfortable either.
     
  20. Beach bum

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    Since the school told this info to your daughter, I would contact both the principal, program director and the director of the adventure program and have a meeting. First, I'd call your team and explain the rigors of the trip and have they had patients who have done this in the past, and if so, how has it been handled. Give as much info as possible, such as daily schedule, types of food served, plans for rain days. We did a camp that included a lot of hiking. Our team totally reworked her regimen for the entire week, it was pretty intense, but we had a successful week. I'd get a feel for how the camp handles this meeting. If they don't seem like they will take it seriously, I wouldn't want my child going into their care. What about the school? How many staffers will be going from there?

    IMO, it doesn't seem the camp is being mean. I agree with PP, it seems more they are coming from a place of fear from past incidents.
    I'd find out exactly what their concerns are and why they feel they can't handle it. What exactly caused the students to end up in the hospital?
    I think the breakdown that Christopher posted hit on some good points. I'd reference that.

    This is a private school, you probably pay a pretty penny for her to go there. I'd see if they would be willing to hire a nurse to go on the trip.


    I'm really sorry you don't like CWD. Just from reading this thread, there is some really helpful info being given to you. IMO, I don't think people are being judgmental at all, just being frank.
     

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