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Alberta kids with type 1 diabetes need better support at school

Posted on April 26, 2017 by the Canadian Paediatric Society | Permalink

Topic(s): Advocacy

By Dr. Tara McGrath, Paediatric resident, University of Alberta, CPS Residents Section

Pediatric residents from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary are advocating for change when it comes to kids with type 1 diabetes and school policy.

About 4,000 children in Alberta have type 1 diabetes, and kids in school (age 4+) receive varying levels of support, with some receiving none. Some parents are fully responsible for their children’s insulin administration and blood sugar monitoring at school. Children may also be denied participation in field trips without an accompanying parent, or may not be able to check blood sugar or administer insulin when and where needed. These restrictions are difficult for children and families, and may predispose students to both short- and long-term complications of type 1 diabetes.

The Canadian Paediatric Society’s recent status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health rated Alberta as ‘poor’ when it comes to managing type 1 diabetes at school.

Alberta’s pediatric residents want to change that. Working with Diabetes Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society, they are advocating to the provincial Minister of Education and their local MLAs, calling for a mandatory provincial standard of care for students with type 1 by January 2018.

Standards should be consistent with Diabetes Canada’s Guidelines for the Care of Students Living with Diabetes at School and the Canadian Paediatric Society and Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group’s position statement on Managing type 1 diabetes in school: Recommendations for policy and practice. Provincial standards are already in place in British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Children with type 1 diabetes should have the same protections and opportunities, no matter where they go to school. A standard provincial policy would reduce the short-term risk of health emergencies for kids with type 1 diabetes, and may reduce long-term complications for them down the road.

The U of A pediatric residents held a letter-writing campaign April 25. They will also work with parent advocate groups, at a local conference for families and kids living with diabetes, the Edmonton Stollery Diabetes Clinic and similar clinics across the province to spread the word about the campaign.

Along with representatives from Diabetes Canada, they will also meet with the Minister of Education in Edmonton later this month.

Want to join in the campaign? Write to the Alberta Minister of Education and your MLA to express your support for a mandatory provincial standard of care for students living with type 1 diabetes. Find your MLA here:

For more information or for questions about meeting with your MLA, contact Joan King at Diabetes Canada: [email protected] or (780) 423-5722, ext. 1211.



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Last updated: Aug 9, 2017