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Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by markus, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. markus

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    Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes

    ? a safe haven, peace of mind and academic excellence?​

    Dear parents of children with type 1 diabetes,
    Kindergarten is a German word and means children?s garden. This is a place for children to be nurtured, learn, grow, be worry free, laugh and smile. Combined with a traditional pre-school we have a place that covers all needs of children.
    We are writing you because we discovered that there is a need for children with type 1 diabetes.
    We are Markus and Candace. We are both veteran teachers. Markus has BA in Psychology and a Masters in Secondary Education. Markus is originally from Germany and has been teaching German for 15 years. Candace has a BA and MA in Elementary Education and has been teaching 4th grade for 12 years. We have been thinking about starting a bilingual kindergarten here in Northern Kentucky for a while, but life has handed us a different challenge.
    Our 3 ? year old daughter has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As we are still trying to come to grips with this new reality, we know that she will eventually live a normal and successful life. However, we also understand that there are many emotional and psychological challenges for children with type 1 diabetes. We know that those challenges have to be met. We also know that strongly instilled childhood behaviors will continue through to adulthood. As newly diagnosed parents we want to know that our child is in a daycare or kindergarten environment that has trained professionals on staff who know to watch for symptoms and can administer medication properly. At the same time we want our child to be provided with academic excellence, free and creative playtime and playfully learn about type 1 diabetes and how to manage it well. Such a setting would also provide the children with a sense of safety and equality as they experience and learn how other children deal with this challenge. They would leave such a setting feeling empowered and well equipped to manage their challenges in a world of children and people who don?t suffer from type 1 diabetes.
    As we are still brainstorming this idea we are thinking that a ?preschool kindergarten for children with diabetes? should include the following:

    ? One or two registered nurses on staff (depending on enrollment) who are trained in working with children who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

    ? Academic classes. Perhaps 15-20 minutes in length (Art, P.E., Language Arts, Geography, German, Math and Science).

    ? Creative playtime. Teachers will provide options and opportunities, but children will have the option of choosing what they like to play and explore on their own.

    ? One class a day that teaches the children to manage type 1 diabetes. It will address and teach them to overcome fears, frustration and anxiety. It will teach them time management and routines that are so important to manage type 1 diabetes. At the same time we want to make sure that not too much responsibility is being placed on the children and teach everything playfully.

    ? Involving parents, families and siblings and have bi-weekly meetings. Those meetings can be used to share emotions, frustrations, etc. They can also be used to just have fun together.



    Attached you will find a simple questionnaire. Please keep in mind that this is only an idea for now. We are trying to get a notion if there is any demand for our idea and would greatly appreciate comments and suggestions as well as questions. If you like leave us your phone number, especially if you live in or close to Northern Kentucky (see page after the questionnaire).

    You may email us the questionnaire back. You may also email us with any comments, questions or concerns.
    Our email: usamaxe@gmail.com



    Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes

    QUESTIONNAIRE​

    1. I am/we are parent(s) of a pre-school or kindergarten child with type 1 diabetes.
    Yes No​

    2. I am/we are parent(s) of a school child with type 1 diabetes.
    Yes No​

    3. I generally like the idea of a kindergarten setting for children with type 1 diabetes.
    Yes No​

    4. I live in Northern Kentucky and I would enroll my child in a Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes.
    Yes No​

    5. I live in the Greater Cincinnati area and I would enroll my child in a Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes located in Northern Kentucky.
    Yes No​

    6. I don?t live in the Northern Kentucky or Greater Cincinnati area, but I would enroll my child in a Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes.
    Yes No


    Preschool Kindergarten for Children with Diabetes

    Comments and Suggestions​
     
  2. Amy C.

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    I am not sure what you want from this, but my son was dx'd at 3 and attended regular preschool. We trained the staff on what to do, until he could manage on his own. I can tell you it did not happen when he was in preschool -- more like when he was 12.

    There is so much to learn at that age - how to get along with other kids, how to start to learn. Frankly, it should be the responsibility of the parent to manage the diabetes for a child this age and to teach them the little they could pick up.
     
  3. pancake111

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    I'm not a parent with a child with diabetes (I'm only 16), but I think you have a good idea. But I also think it would be hard to do because you would need to get enough kids in your area that have diabetes.

    With my experience with public schools, the nurses know little to nothing about diabetes management. So if you could get kids in a school that has experienced people in it, that would be a great thing.

    But with kids this young, I think you need to teach them more about what's going on, and not so much management. What I mean is, teach them how to recongnize when they have a low blood sugar, and get them used to eating foods with lower carbs. At their age, they should really only know the basics. I think they're too young to be checking their blood sugar and stuff like that.
     
  4. sooz

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    You discovered there is a need for children with type 1 diabetes? Glad you discovered it, and sorry for your child's diagnoses. I need my grandchild with type 1 diabetes mainly to love. As far as your plan to start a preschool only for type 1 children, it might work in a very large urban area, but I don't think it is the school's responsibility to teach diabetes management, especially at such a young age. Children that age need to be socialized and nurtured. I know how hard it is when your precious daughter has been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, but I want to encourage you not to use terms like "suffer from type 1 diabetes." Try to take the negative language out of your vocabulary and treat your child, and think of her, the same way you did before the diagnoses. Hopefully she already is a normal child, and she still is, she just has type 1 diabetes. Good luck!
     
  5. swimmom

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    My child would not have been interested in "one class a day" focused on her diabetes and emotions and she and my other kids would have hated bi-weekly meetings. Too much. Way, way too much.
     
  6. Beach bum

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    I appreciate the fact that you would want to have a preschool for kids with diabetes, but I would never send my child to one. She went to a regular preschool where staff was taught to care for her so that she could be like everyone else. At preschool age she was much too young to care for her diabetes nor did she want to stop and think about it. I don't think I would want her at a school where she was surrounded by diabetes. It's ok for a week or two at camp but not for a whole school year.
    I would have preferred a day camp or after school program because that is where there was more of a need in our area.
     
  7. bnmom

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    I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit!

    I would agree preschool is more for socialization and basic school preparation, but I think if you wanted to open a regular or bilingual preschool and push in your marketing that you are experienced with and staffed for Type 1 care that would be an appealing idea to Type 1 parents.

    I wouldn't want anyone trying to teach my child management at such a young age, but knowing there is a school equipped and ready to handle my child's management for them would make that preschool more attractive to me than others.
     
  8. Amy C.

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    Another thing, having worked with a day camp of children with diabetes, it is tough to follow more than one diabetic. The nursing care was 4 to1. That is rather expensive.
     
  9. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Not a big fan of separate school for different types of kids.

    Dx'd at 4 my dd went to "normal" school, which works for me because she's a normal kid who happens to have Type 1. :rolleyes:
     
  10. markus

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    Thank you for the response so far. As I said, this is simply an idea at this point. I, too think that school nurses and staff that were trained by parents know too little about type 1 diabetes. Nor do they know anything about the psychological and emotional issues children experience. I am not comfortable handing my child off to people who know little to nothing. I want my child surrounded by people who can guide her especially through the first years. People who support, teach and strengthen behaviors to live successfully with diabetes. I think I mentioned that I fully expect my daughter to live a normal, happy and successful life. I also recognize that there is a learning curve invloved. I am not sure how this learning curve can be handled in a regular school setting where the child is surrounded by novice to zero experienced/trained staff.
    Again, I appreciate all the feedback and comments and hope a lot more of you respond.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  11. zoomom456

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    First I applaud your spirit.

    Second, I am sorry for your child's recent diagnosis.

    Third, I am a parent of a 3 year old child in preschool who was diagnosed with diabetes at 13 months. I work very hard to focus on normal for him. I make sure at this tender age, diabetes is in the background. I personally do not want my child to have a class that focuses on diabetes management daily, weekly or even annually. I want my son to move at his pace. Right now his pace is a carb loving 3 year old who scales fences, learned to work the microwave:eek:, and on rare occasion will test his mother's BG. When he is ready to start taking over, he will let me know. Our preschool manages his diabetes very well with some training. They have a nurse consultant who comes by once a month and is available to assist in training. Frankly, I like that if the staff has a question, they call me, not a nurse. I feel he is safe with his current situation. Right now I am thrilled he knows his colors , ABC's, can count to 5, and has friends he knows by name. That is what I want for him.
     
  12. lynn

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    When our children are diagnosed with diabetes it is hard to imagine that life in the future will ever come close to resembling our life in the past. So many things change, after all! The reality is that, as time passes, you will find that your life gets more and more "familiar". I think it is more true the younger the child is at diagnosis. There is so much to learn and so many things to think about that it seems to leave very little room left for "normal" life. With a young child you have to constantly evaluate everything--are they moving sluggishly or just being an uncoordinated toddler? Are they slurring their words or speaking like most other young children who need a bit of "translation"? Are they looking pale? Is that a different tone in their voice? Are they throwing a fit because of blood sugar or because they are three?

    I would encourage you to hold off on opening the preschool. I think your dreams of a bi-lingual class are still feasible. As you've seen here, parents of children with diabetes don't generally desire to have their kids segregated with only other kids with diabetes. It's a battle to have the rest of the world see our kids as normal kids---some parents have to fight their school district when the district wants to send all the diabetics to one school--the diabetic school. I think that as you walk a little further down the diabetes path you will begin to feel the same way. Diabetes may feel like the biggest, most important part of your daughter right now, but I promise you that it won't always be that way. Run with your dream---Teach your daughter that diabetes doesn't take away our dreams!
     
  13. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Well, I had zero experience with type 1 when my dd was dxd, and I learned. Her preschool teachers had zero experience with diabetes, but they learned. :rolleyes:

    To live a "normal" life one must live normally, not in a bubble, not in a conclave of like people. As for the emotional needs, I think perhaps you are overstating the extent to which Type 1 kids need to be cloistered.

    Type 1 is one defining thing about my kid, but if you asked her, being a rock guitarist, being a lacrosse player, being a funny person, being a fan of all things Japanese would all outweigh her self-identifying as a person with type 1.
     
  14. Amy C.

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    Your child is in school or daycare for only part of the day. The staff there doesn't need to know everything there is to know about diabetes -- even the endos don't know that. They need to know enough to make it through the few hours your child is in their care and then know to call you for the out of the ordinary stuff.

    The cost keep the medical staff with the sort of knowledge you want would be cost prohibitive. It would be cheaper for the parent to stay at home with the child.

    Most of the care is pretty routine and (believe it or not) soon falls into the background. One day -- in a few years -- it will no longer dominate your life.

    It has never dominated my son's life.
     
  15. Christopher

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    A "special" school for children with diabetes is a horrible idea, in my opinion. There is already enough stigma attached to our children. There is absolutely no reason a CWD can't attend regular school. This is not rocket science. Staff can be trained just like all the parents here learned how to manage their children's diabetes. If the school/daycare doesn't have trained staff then you need to advocate for your child and either train them yourselves or insure that they receive the proper training.

    Children don't go to Kindergarden/Daycare/School to learn about diabetes. They go there to get an education and to socialize. I believe it is the parent's job to educate the child about their own illness.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  16. swellman

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    Perhaps not but as a degreed chemist I can tell you it's not Shake 'n Bake.

    This is certainly an off topic discussion of the effects of hyper-inflation.
     
  17. Christopher

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    No, I agree. I didn't mean to minimize the complexities of dealing with diabetes in school. However, creating a separate school just for people with diabetes, in my opinion, is ridiculous. And if the reason you are creating that school is because you don't think the school personnel can learn to handle diabetes management, that is even worse.
     
  18. sooz

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    May I ask you, weren't YOU a novice with zero experience when your child was diagnosed? Do you think parents in general know about the psychological and emotional issues children experience because they were professionally trained to do so? No, they learn as they go along, as they need to know. School personnel may not be perfect but they deal with thousands of children over their professional careers, many of whom have type 1 diabetes and much worse medical or family situations. I applaud the levels of education that you both have attained, but by far the most important thing that you can give your child is unconditional love and allow them to have self confidence by letting them experience all kinds of situations and people, some who, yes, may be ignorant, but some others who will teach them to soar. They need to learn that there are all kinds of people in the world, and to respect them all even if they may be less well educated or less well trained. I don't rely on school personnel to provide psychological and emotional support for my child. That is my job as parent/grandparent. People who send their children to school are NOT handing them off to people who know little or nothing...My daughter is a public school teacher and I find that comment so insulting. She also has a master's degree with over 15 years of professional teaching. Do you think she knows little to nothing? How dare you paint school personnel with such a broad brush? That same daughter comes home and deals with HER daughter's type 1 diabetes and psychological and emotional needs, and does a right smart job with it. Please, realize that you are not the only one that can give to your daughter. Other people are willing and able to help her and YOU.

    You may not be sure how a learning curve can be handled in a regular school setting where the child is surrounded by novice to zero experienced/trained staff, but I can assure you that one thing they MAY be able to teach her, that you cannot, is a little humility and some faith in other people. She might even have some fun. Oh yeah, and at the risk of repeating myself..school staffs are not made up of novices with zero experience or training....You understand?



    Definition of Humility: [hyoo-mil-i-tee or, often, yoo-]

    noun

    the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.
    Origin:
    1275–1325; Middle English humilite < Latin humilitās. See humble, -ty2
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  19. swellman

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    My child goes do a very expensive and very qualified private school. I have absolute trust in their academic personal development policies.

    They also have an extremely qualified school nurse in whom I have the utmost respect.

    They have teachers, coaches, bus drivers and, unfortunately, a third party lunch/nutrition company.

    To assume that they all "get" the training is ridiculous - it's a gamble. I'm not stating the risks are high but they, and I mean almost all of them, just don't "get it". I know this as fact.

    If I had a choice between a school that was purely focused on the understanding of diabetes, nutrition, carb counting, and the signs and effects of the symptoms of hypo/hyper-glycemia and, if this training were transparent to the children attending, meaning they had no idea whey were in a special school, and if they provided the same academic excellence as a "normal" school, I would have a hard time not choosing that "special" school.

    So, In summary, I find the thought of it being ridiculous very narrow minded. I do, however, see the financial challenges as well as the difficulties with maintaining the transparency of being a "special" school.

    The bottom line is that I would not dismiss it out of hand.

    Nor would I call someone else ridiculous on this topic.

    EDIT: Not that it really needed said but I probably lack "Humility".

    Just to stave off:

    Definition of Humility: [hyoo-mil-i-tee or, often, yoo-]

    noun

    the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.
    Origin:
    1275?1325; Middle English humilite < Latin humilitās. See humble, -ty2
     
  20. sooz

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    Am I wrong in thinking instead of "transparency" you mean "opacity?" You can see through something that is transparent, but something that opaque is obscured. Just trying to be helpful... :D I seem focused on vocabulary tonight.
     

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