Objective: To identify the special needs of children with type 1 diabetes at primary school taking into account the perceptions reported by parents, children, and teachers.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey carried out at nine public hospitals with a cohort of 6- to 13-yr-old children. Parents were personally informed about the objectives of the survey and the necessity to involve their children and the teachers. The self-reporting questionnaire included demographic information as well as some questions that helped to evaluate the general situation of children with type 1 diabetes at primary school, main worries about the disease, and possible improvement measures.
Results: A total of 430 questionnaires were completed and validated of which 39% were filled in by parents, 35% by children, and 26% by teachers. The majority of children were 10-13 yr old and came from public schools. At school, most children required glucose monitoring, but few of them (9-12%) needed insulin administration. Some parents (7%) experienced problems at their schools when they informed them about their children's disease, 2% were finally not accepted, and 1% were forced to change school. Major children's concerns included the ability to recognize hypoglycemia or to self-administer insulin. Parents, teachers, and children demanded better information at school about diabetes and about emergency management.
Conclusions: The three population groups agreed about the necessity of having more available information on diabetes at schools. Although some discriminatory behavior was still occurring, it seemed it has been diminishing in recent years.