Aims: The aims of this observational study were to identify the special needs of children with Type 1 diabetes in schools from the parents' point of view and the difficulties experienced with full integration, and to define a series of interventions which may improve the situation.
Methods: Parents of children aged 3-18 years with Type 1 diabetes were eligible. Those who agreed to participate completed a self-reporting questionnaire which determined the effects of the disease on children, parents and school personnel, and addressed aspects including children's integration, glycaemic control, insulin administration, meals, sports, trips and attitudes of teachers and school colleagues to their disease.
Results: A total of 499 questionnaires were completed and validated. Median age of children was 11.5 years (95% CI 7.8-15.2). Only 34% of parents believed that teachers could recognize the symptoms of a mild hypoglycaemic episode. Seventeen per cent of parents experienced problems at their schools when they informed staff about their children's disease, 5% were finally not accepted and 8% were forced to change school. In some cases, they had to modify glucose monitoring (9%) and treatment administration (16%) because of a lack of cooperation from the school.
Conclusions: Training sessions on Type 1 diabetes, an increase in the number of nurses, better availability of resources from diabetic associations to schools and improved communication between school personnel and parents were identified as key factors that may improve the full integration of the diabetic child in this setting.