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Kids at school are telling other kids not to play with DS because of D

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by bisous, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. bisous

    bisous Approved members

    May 21, 2007
    I heard about this through the school nurse, not through my DS. Evidently, a girl in the nurse's office let the school nurse know that kids are telling other kids not to play with DS because they'll catch D.

    She wants to go into the classroom to teach the kids about what Diabetes means. I don't know how I feel about this. I rather think DS will not like it. Also, I'm not sure that education is the solution in this case. It sounds like kids are just being mean and knowledge won't really help that.

    I don't think that DS is even aware of what the other kids are saying. He struggles socially otherwise I'd teach him how to advocate for himself. Not sure what to do.

    WWYD? Any BTDT?
  2. emm142

    emm142 Approved members

    Sep 7, 2008
    I'm so sorry this is happening to your son. :( With a class of 9/10 year olds, it could just be meaness. But it is conceivable that at least some of them really believe that D is contagious. I would be cautious about getting the nurse in for a talk if your son doesn't want it, but perhaps they could subtley slip it in some other place?

    For example, if in science they were talking about germs and illnesses, they might have a list of illnesses and have to separate them into columns for which are contagious and which aren't. It could all be incorporated into a lesson on avoiding spreading bugs, sneezing into tissues etc., but have some kind of reference to the fact that some illnesses (such as diabetes) are not contagious, with no explicit mention of your son.
  3. Style mom

    Style mom Approved members

    Dec 3, 2011
    I believe they are 7 and 8 year olds.

    I'd talk to the teacher. They almost always know who is likely to be the ringleader in these sorts of situations, and she may be better able to defuse things without embarassing your son by making a big to-do about diabetes.
  4. MomofSweetOne

    MomofSweetOne Approved members

    Aug 28, 2011
    We were encouraged at diagnosis to tell the class, peer group, etc. in a group about diabetes so that false information, etc. isn't being spread through the kids. Since another kid has alerted it is a problem, I think it would be highly appropriate for the kids to be taught about diabetes. But...I would request that other disabilities like blindness (with braille) be thrown into the mix as well so as to not single your child out. Especially since this isn't a new diagnosis case where he's just arriving back after a hospitalization.
  5. bnmom

    bnmom Approved members

    Oct 26, 2010
    I think it often takes only one alpha child to sway many others. I'd have the nurse do a quick chat, but include a couple topics so it's not obviously targeted at D (and by association, your child.) Better to head this off quickly then to let it ride and have other kids believe the rumors and your little one suffer for it. :(
  6. caspi

    caspi Approved members

    Oct 11, 2006
    My son was dx'd just shy of being 7 and it was quite interesting to hear some of the comments that kids were making shortly after dx. One little girl told him he was going to die before he was 20. :eek: The nurse and I decided to educate the kids a bit -- so I read the book "Taking Diabetes to School" to his class. It explains that D is not contagious, etc. etc. That may be something to consider. :cwds:
  7. MommaKat

    MommaKat Approved members

    Sep 2, 2011
    I love Emma's suggestion for making it a science related discussion that gets kids manipulating ideas, and classifying illnesses based on their current understanding. That would be very telling all by itself. It would also allow the school nurse to address many different conditions. We use the word illness so loosely in a society where it's really taken on a negative connotation.

    One of the first things my dd ever said to another classmate (who was being less than kind) was that she didn't have an illness, or even a condition, she simply has diabetes. I love that part of what she said, I had to tell her the second half was not so okay, even if completely understandable. (She said, "Like you, what I have isn't contagious, and there isn't a cure. Even though I have to get shots every day, I'd much rather have diabetes, because stupid seems like something really miserable to live with every day!") :eek:

    I agree that it's one of those things you want to nip quickly, but in a way that doesn't single out your son and respects his desire for some privacy or to not be the center of attention. You could as the school nurse and teacher to look at what's studied in science over the remainder of the year, and if there's something they could link to a preview lesson that's done now. In 2nd grade here, the kids actually study digestion, so that would be a perfect unit to do a preview to build some background knowledge / experience relating to lots of different digestive / GI things that kids study.

    I hope his teacher's receptive to something like that. Based on the school nurse's offer, and her calling you, it sounds like you've got a great school setting there!! Best of luck, and I hope this fades away quickly.
  8. minniem

    minniem Approved members

    Apr 25, 2011
    My son was diagnosed in 2nd grade and we read this book to his class too. Then we read it again at the beginning of the year this year to his class. His teacher talked about the things that make kids different and makes them special. For DS it was diabetes, for another little girl it was that she wears leg braces, etc.

    My son and I really liked the book.

    Good Luck!
  9. Traci

    Traci Approved members

    Aug 10, 2006
    When ds was in elementary school, I talked to his class at the beginning of the year two or three times. The main thng I touched on was that the kids could not catch d from ds. I usually started the talk by asking them if they knew anyone with glasses, a broken arm, a broken leg, etc. then went on to say that ds had a broken pancreas. I asked if they could "catch" a broken leg and made that connection with them. Kids love to be "in the know" so I'd think telling them the basics would help diffuse the situation.

    Even in elementary school, our nurse talked to the kids about communicable and non-communicable diseases...would your nurse do anything like that if your son isn't comfortable with you doing a basic d discussion?

    We also had a boy tell ds he would die from diabetes. Ds and I talked at length about how we will ALL die of something and then I called the boys parents and expressed my DEEP concern for their PRECIOUS son and how worried he was that his good friend would die from diabetes. :rolleyes: The parents were appropriately mortified that their child said that and told me that his grandpa complained all the time how his diabetes was going to kill him! Again, I presented it as concern for the little hooligan, not as an attack from a mama bear.lol.
  10. danielsmom

    danielsmom Approved members

    Jul 18, 2011
    My Son Daniel then 10, was asked by his teacher if she could talk about his D and explain things. He said fine...And that was that....he told me kids have asked if it hurts to get shots ect...but not once has he ever been made to feel bad about it or no kid has ever told him they wouldn't play with him because of D.. but Daniel is a strong and confident boy, so his attitude about his D helps. I hope he will carry this attitude to Middle School next year..
  11. Deal

    Deal Approved members

    Nov 2, 2009
    I can't fathom how education would not be the number one solution in this and any other case of discrimination at schools. I don't want our children to be embarrassed by this disease. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I would encourage her to get up in front of the class and learn how rewarding sharing knowledge can be.
  12. swimmom

    swimmom Approved members

    Feb 23, 2007
    When Lauren was little, I would read "Taking Diabetes to School" to her class.
    See - http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Diabetes-School-Kim-Gosselin/dp/1891383000

    You may not be a candy sort of person :), but I also handed out one individually wrapped Cherry Lifesaver to each kid and we all looked at the bag (4 grams of carbs). They could see that Lauren had those as one of her available sugars to bring up a low.

    It went over pretty well.

    The book specifically says that you can't catch diabetes. I donated a copy to the school library too.
  13. azdrews

    azdrews Approved members

    Sep 16, 2010
    Oh, Jen. I'm so sorry to hear this - it breaks my heart. Especially since you've been through other craziness at this new school with the testing in classroom, etc. Could it have more to do with the fact that he's the "new kid" rather than diabetes? How does your son feel about the school, is he liking it?

    I'm on the fence about going into the classroom too. With Adam, he was 5 and starting kindergarten, so I felt it was totally appropriate for me to go in, read a book and chat with the kids. And as far as I know, he hasn't had any issues.

    That said, I have an 8 year old daughter in 3rd grade. And she's at that age where she'd probably be mortified if I had to go to her class to talk about HER. (She's fine when I do volunteer stuff) But they are on the cusp of that age where it's "not cool for mom to come"... you know?

    I guess I'd base my reaction on how your son is doing at school and how he feels about it all. If he truly doesn't notice that kids are saying that...then maybe sit back and wait a bit? I am hoping the school year gets better for you guys...((hugs))!
  14. mysweetwill

    mysweetwill Approved members

    Dec 10, 2011
    I'm sorry you have to deal with this, but glad your son hasn't gotten wind of it yet.

    My son was diagnosed 2 mos after moving to a new school and he has not told the kids yet. Our CDE and school nurse has offered to speak to the class, but he is not interested. One kid on the bus even asked if he was going to the nurse
    because he has mental problems (nice choice of words) to which W replied if he did, how would he get all As or something to that effect. I don't think addressing the class in a way that speaks specifically to diabetes, thereby putting your child in the spotlight, is right for every child, although I could see how it could be helpful for many. Not every diabetic child has to be the poster child for diabetes and should not feel an obligation to educate others, IMO.

    I would speak to the teacher and nurse and see what else, if anything is going on, and like Emma said, come up with a plan to address it without burdening or embarrassing your son. Good luck!
  15. MamaLibby

    MamaLibby Approved members

    Oct 30, 2011
    I love your daughter! ;) Rude? Maybe. But witty and understandable? Completely.
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007
    I may be in the minority here but the first thing I would do would be to talk to my child. Not to ask him about this in particular, but just in general, how things are going at school, what friends he played with, etc. If he seems to be doing fine and this is not impacting him, then I would just let it be.
  17. Butterfly Betty

    Butterfly Betty Approved members

    Dec 8, 2010
    I have to agree with Christopher. I think the first thing you need to do is talk to your son and find out how he feels, not just about D but school in general. Then, if this is a concern that he shares as well, then suggest talking to his class about the realities of the disease.

    I do like Emma's suggestion over making it a project and not just focusing on Diabetes, but about personal wellness in general.

    Good luck!
  18. bisous

    bisous Approved members

    May 21, 2007
    Thanks, all for your input.

    Here's the thing. DS doesn't really seem to know or care. He's pretty socially clueless and (thankfully) obliviously happy. He has friends. He doesn't feel traumatized by this apparent ostracism. But he's starting to become more aware and I foresee that if he were to discover that kids are avoiding him it would hurt his feelings.

    I posted this same question on facebook and a poster here replied that perhaps a letter would fit the bill. I think that a letter to the parents would help a lot. It would get the word out to the student body and conscientious parents can take their children aside and "educate" them without making DS feel embarrassed.

    Jerky kids will still be jerky kids but this way the nice kids will know the truth and won't be as easily swayed.

    Now...what should I write??
  19. kiwiliz

    kiwiliz Approved members

    Sep 25, 2008
    I am not sure about a letter. Some adults are pretty happy to remain ill-informed. Whatever approach you take I always like to start discussion with asthma and food allergies. Everyone can relate to them and they are both auto-immune. No-one I have ever met has ever thought of either of them as contagious! (Not even the most stupid!) When you add diabetes to that little list they can usually work it out themselves. :)
  20. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    I wouldn't write a letter for the own privacy of your son. I'd be concerned that one parent would get a hold of the letter and make a big deal out of the fact that your child has d, when in fact, it really isn't a big deal.

    I too like Emma's idea of somehow integrating it into the curriculum. It would be easy this time of year, cold and flu season. Maybe they could do a things you can catch vs. things you can't (d, cancer, Autism etc).

    Glad your son so far hasn't been impacted by this.

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