Pupils With Diabetes Hardly Understood

Photo: About seven year old school boys with teacher

Irrational behaviour due to low
blood glucose even led to punish-
ment in some cases; © SXC

The study’s aim was to find out from young people with type 1 diabetes how the management of their condition was influenced by school personnel and peers.

The young people reported that teachers and fellow pupils had a significant influence on their diabetes care and their feelings of efficacy regarding the condition. They felt they were more likely to undertake care at school if they were permitted and encouraged by teachers to do so.

However, some young people reported that teachers were often unaware that they had diabetes or misunderstood their care needs, making them feel stigmatised by chastising them for undertaking care in class. Sadly it was often left to friends to act as the young person’s advocate and explain their care needs to teachers.

There were also reported incidents where teachers did not recognise when pupils were behaving irrationally due to hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and disciplined them for their behaviour, whilst friends recognised the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and offered practical assistance.

Dr Susannah Lewis who carried out the study working with the University of Leicester School of Psychology and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust commented: “The impact of teachers on young people with diabetes cannot be overestimated, given that poorer self-care increases the risk of complications including unconsciousness, seizures and coma, as well as serious long term problems such as blindness and kidney failure. Schools need to make all staff aware of pupils with diabetes and their related care needs, and staff must be trained in recognising and treating hypoglycaemia.”

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Leicester