Parents of children with type 1 diabetes are struggling to get appropriate care for their children at school.
The mother of a six-year old child named Toby, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 18 months old, said she has had to fight for the care her son needs.
Zoe is well aware of the risks associated with her child’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Toby became very ill and was suffered diabetic ketoacidosis just before he was diagnosed, resulting in a diabetic coma.
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Speaking to the BBC, Toby’s mother Zoe who lives in Cardiff said “I’ve been constantly fighting for the care he needs.”
Zoe believes that the teaching assistant who has been responsible for Toby’s care, while “brilliant” is not able to provide proper care due to also having to take care of the rest of the class.
According to Zoe, a teaching assistant (TA) has been trained to look after her son which involves checking his insulin pump and blood glucose levels throughout the day.
The teaching assistant also supports Toby by pricking his finger every time he eats and entering his blood glucose levels into his pump. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels can make Toby’s behaviour particularly challenging.
However, Zoe has been told that the teaching assistant will no longer be available to her son after September, and the school has applied to the council for funding for one-on-one support.
The Welsh government stated that parents should inform their school of their child’s healthcare needs, and that the school should then discuss with them whether an individual healthcare needs plan (IHP) is necessary.
An IHP outlines what is needed to help a learner with healthcare requirements and is critical for students who have complicated, variable, or long-term healthcare demands.
Under the Equality Act 2010, children with diabetes are legally defined as people living with a disability, meaning that education institutions and the NHS must ensure that they are not disadvantaged.
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Children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales are protected by the Additional Learning Needs Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018, which outlines how they should be supported.
Parents in England who are unhappy with their child’s school support can request an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and in Scotland parents can request a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP).
Diabetes UK has said that while some children reportedly have excellent support at school, many struggle to fully participate in school activities.