Friday, September 24, 2010

Pushy? Overprotective? or Educating?

Can you be too pushy? Too demanding? I know that you can be but where is that line?

I received an email from my son's principal yesterday with a time and date for us to meet regarding his care in school. I was very pleased that time had been taken for a meeting to discuss with them my experiences and concerns.  After 24 hours, I began to consider who would be at this meeting. It was to be small, which was fine but then I realized that the people involved were his home room teacher, the principal and a special education teacher.  The home room teacher also teaches him two other classes so that was fine but why a special ed teacher? He has no learning disabilities. He has a physical condition that can impair his thinking but we do not need special learning techniques or anything like that.

I then realized that we were missing a few key teachers from core subjects.  I emailed the principal back today and asked about at least one other teacher that I felt should be there. I explained that I understood that they had had an in service with a nurse but there were cognitive issues around testing and homework that needed to be discussed.  She emailed me back and said that she would invite all of his teachers to attend.  I truly appreciated that she did this and I hope most, if not all, will attend but I began to wonder if I was being too pushy.

One teacher is hypoglycemic and another told my son that she also has a child with Type 1.  These two people should be a major help but I still worry.  How long have they been dealing with this? Do they truly understand all of the implications? Are they looking at me like an overprotective nutcase? Am I an overprotective nutcase?

I don't think so. I think I am an educated person who sadly has had to learn that this is a disease about more than just taking insulin and testing.  I have seen the impact of highs and lows on my child's body as well as his mind.  I have seen him high and unable to answer basic questions in class. I have seen him low and unable to write at all.

So many people still think of diabetes as "Grandma's disease".  Very few people understand the magnitude of how it affects the mind and the body.  Many people do not understand how quickly changes can occur.  Most people have never had to see the other side of diabetes.  They have not seen the unresponsive loved one who has gone so low that they are slipping unconscious.  They have not seen the child who cannot see or grasp how to turn on a light.  They have not seen a person so weak from ketones that its all they can do to get to the toilet to vomit.

I guess in this case, its my job to make sure that they understand. Its my job to warn them and prepare them. Its not just about protecting my child but its also about making them aware and ready to handle these things when it happens in their classroom. Hopefully if they think I am overprotective today, they will thank me later when they begin to understand and see for themselves what diabetes can look like up close.

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