Behavior and Diabetes Control in Children
The symptoms of hypoglycemia in children with type 1 diabetes may cause behaviors that can be perceived as rebellious or cantankerous. You should be aware of any changes in behavior that clue you into a drop in blood glucose. Imagine your ordinarily quiet child becomes rowdy and uncontrollable, or your active child becomes quiet and subdued. Shifts from their normal behavior range should indicate that it is time for you to check their blood glucose level. Unfortuately, you can not be around your child all day. This is why it is important to educate everyone involved—family, healthcare providers, teachers, nurses, and fellow students—that this may be the best way to stabilize behavior.
Hypoglycemia can occur when snacks are not eaten at the proper time, or as a result of overmedicating with insulin.
While many parents find that their diabetic children receive both excellent education and in-school management of their diabetes, others report a variety of problems.
One parent tells the story of her fifth grade son's move from a familiar, small private school to a large public school. She gave the registrar an information packet about her son's diabetes and was assured that her son would be watched carefully. She later discovered that an unfamiliar privacy act prevented several teachers and school workers from ever being informed of her son's condition.
Alarmed to receive a midterm progress report of failing grades for her son—who had previously been an honor student—she arranged a teacher conference. She was astonished to learn that the science teacher perceived her son as passively rebellious and a daydreamer. It turns out that her son was embarrassed to request early dismissal from midmorning class to have time for his snack. By the time he reached science class (right before lunch), his blood glucose levels fell dangerously low, causing him to become confused and disoriented.
Last reviewedFebruary 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.