First Day of Middle School for a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

JDRF County Chapter

For an 11 year-old girl heading off to middle school for the first time is a big deal in and of itself. Excitement, anticipation, and fear are all typical emotions kids experience that first day of school. For a child with type 1 diabetes (T1D), there is even more to consider with the number of teachers increasing from one to five.

My daughter, Katherine, wrote the letter below to her new teachers the first week of school in an effort to educate them on how she manages her T1D on a daily basis. Diagnosed at age four, she realized Mom and Dad had done this since she could remember, but now it was time for her to tactfully educate her teachers. Below is her letter:

Dear Ms. Douglas,

I am very excited to have you as my teacher here at Hewes and I really enjoy your class. I have been living with type 1 diabetes since I was four years old. I know you are familiar with the disease but I thought I would share some information that is unique to me and how type 1 affects me.

Since I have your class before and after lunch, I might feel differently depending on the fact that I have or haven’t eaten because my blood sugar affects my state of mind. If I am “low” I can feel sort of dizzy and tired and if I am “high” I have a difficult time concentrating and feel irritable. I carry a meter with me in my backpack at all times and if I am feel “off” in some way it is best for me to test my blood sugar and treat the situation with a Gatorade if I am low or give myself more insulin if I am high.

Since I have been managing type 1 for so many years, I have become fairly independent about what I need to do. But if I ever appear distracted or “not myself” please feel free to ask me if I am ok. My Mom sometimes catches me looking “spacey” or being in a cranky mood and asks me to test my blood sugar. Often times my number is out of range and it needs to be treated. If I am low, it is best to have a friend walk with me to the office.

Otherwise, I am just a normal kid like everyone else. If anything, managing my diabetes has made me more responsible. I hope that increased maturity carries over to the classroom!


Katherine Hellmers



ESL has been a proud sponsor of the annual JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes for the past five years, raising nearly $50,000. Our corporate outreach goal is to help find a cure so kids like Katherine and my son, Brennan, can focus on just being kids.

The Orange County JDRF Walk is on November 4th at UCI’s campus. You can participate by walking and/or donating at:

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