Learning and Diabetes


Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children, affecting approximately 215,000 young people in the United States, or about 1 in every 400 to 500 young people under 20 years of age. Each year, more than 13,000 youths are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In addition, health care providers are finding more children and teens with type 2 diabetes, even though the disease is usually diagnosed in adults over the age of 40.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death by disease in the United States. Long-term complications include heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputation of the foot or leg. Although there is no cure, the disease can be managed and complications delayed or prevented.

While this manual is dedicated to children with diabetes, many of the recommendations and guidelines are relevant to children with various health conditions.

For students with type 1 diabetes, and for some with type 2 diabetes, careful monitoring of blood glucose (sugar) levels includes the administration of multiple doses of insulin therapy. As a result, the school health team, which includes the school nurse, teachers, school administrator and other qualified school employees, plays an important role in supporting students manage their diabetes.

Effective diabetes management is crucial:

  • for the safety of students with diabetes;
  • for long-term health of students with diabetes;
  • in ensuring that students with diabetes are ready to learn and participate fully in school activities; and
  • in minimizing diabetes-related emergencies.

The information in this manual is general in nature and does not constitute specific medical or legal advice. Readers should consult directly with medical professionals regarding specific questions about care of children with diabetes. Readers should consult with legal counsel regarding questions pertaining to the rights and/or responsibilities under state and federal law of any individual or institution receiving or providing care for children with diabetes.

This electronic manual is available on the Connecticut State Department of Education’s School Nursing Web site at http://www.ct.gov/sde/schoolnurse.