November 2, 2009

More kids have diabetes, fewer schools have nurses

By Kelley Luckstein

Christopher Rodriguez should have started kindergarten last year at PS 28 in the Bronx, but he's starting a year late.


When his mother, Marileida Rojas, tried to enroll him in 2008, she was told Mount Hope Elementary School did not have the resources to care for Christopher, who has type 1 diabetes and was too young to recognize when his blood sugar was slipping dangerously low.


Though Rojas said she'd quit her job and come help, the administration suggested she send her son to another school that could better serve his needs.


Rojas' son now attends PS 28, but it has taken lengthy negotiations with a system that doesn't speak her language and quitting her job to get her son into his neighborhood school, she says through a translator.


Although more schools have fewer full-time nurses while, experts say, there is an increasing number of children being diagnosed with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, many schools are successfully adapting to the needs of these kids, which the federal Americans with Disabilities Act requires they do, says attorney Ed Kraus, an associate professor at Chicago Kent Law School who works with the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Yet, too many schools are still falling short, he says…


Students with diabetes benefit from a team approach, says endocrinologist Frederick Schwenk, a professor of pediatrics at Mayo College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. He says multiple staff members – everyone from cafeteria workers and bus drivers to gym teachers and the principal – should know about a child's medical condition and what to do in case of an emergency.


USA Today by Mary Brophy Marcus, 11/1/09

Tags: diabetes, Endocrinology / Diabetes, Pediatrics

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