NORMALITY IS THE BEST RESPONSE TO BULLYING FOR DIABETES IN SCHOOLS
January arrives and with it, the beginning of the school year. Bullying - a topic in the classroom that usually opens many debates.
With this article, we will dedicate some time to reflect on this reality that affects many young people in the classroom daily. Specifically, we looked at bullying or harassment of children with diabetes in the classroom. According to statistics, 1 in 3 children can become a victim of bullying during their student days, and diabetes can often be an excuse for a bully to pick a fight.
WHAT IS BULLYING?
When we speak about bullying we refer to the act of annoying someone physically, verbally or psychologically in an intentional way. Insults, pushing, teasing or marginalisation are some of the situations that children and young people can suffer through. Although at first, it may seem like a minor thing, the consequences of bullying can have a significant impact on a child’s life.
IS THERE BULLYING WITH DIABETES?
The answer to this question unfortunately is yes. There are no official statistic on this, but it is known that aggressions between partners are usually due to a differentiating factor, and diabetes can often be an excuse for bullying.
The integration of the child with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in his/her group of friends, the understanding of his/her illness and understanding the requirements of treatment by his/her peers are extremely valid questions for the scope of the adequate management of the disease. Many children with T1D believe that the activities they need to do to manage their disease interferes with their social activities.This makes them feel different from their peers and out of place.
The study "The child with diabetes mellitus type 1 and his friends" pointed out that in 2012, depression related to school bullying can directly affect the adherence of a child's treatment with diabetes, thus damaging self-care practices and, consequently, contributing to the onset of long-term complications of diabetes.
This is a concern for all.
Putting a stop to bullying with diabetes is a mission for the entire educational community. The general lack of knowledge of T1D in society, is one of the main causes of the marginalisation of children with diabetes in school. Parents, mothers, administration, teachers, school staff and peers must participate together in solving this problem.
It is important for a child or young person with diabetes to know about their condition, understand it and make it understood to others, so that it is something natural and normal. Although your medical treatment makes you different, that difference should be treated as special, never with a negative connotation. A boy or girl with diabetes can carry out any type of activity as other children of his/her age group do.
According to experts, a highly recommended action is for the child, a teacher or their parents to offer a small talk to the rest of their classmates about diabetes. In this way they will participate, understand what happens and avoid any incorrect comments or attitudes.
The teacher Rosa María de Prado González, family therapist and coordinator of the Modiaj project (an initiative aimed at forming groups of parents to exchange knowledge and experiences about diabetes), commented in a recent interview that "the little ones look for pre-texts to avoid carrying their insulin or glucometer for the curiosity of their peers and the fear of being borrowed, try to inject, play or lose it." It is necessary to correct this and complete training on diabetes to avoid these episodes.
TECHNOLOGY CAN EASE THE ISSUE OF BULLYING
The existence of sensors that constantly measure glucose levels, or devices such as the MiniMed™ 670G System, can help improve quality of life and increase the normalisation of life with diabetes. The SmartGuard™ Automode feature of this pump system constantly adjusts basal insulin delivery according to the sensor glucose value. The “Block” feature of the MiniMed™ 670G pump system also allows parents to “block” a child from changing pump settings or administering a bolus when it should not be changed/delivered.
With Medtronic’s Guardian Connect real-time, stand-alone continuous glucose monitoring system and thanks to the remote monitoring feature, parents of a child with diabetes can have continuous access to their child’s glucose levels, and receive a sms warning 60 minutes before a low or high will occur (predictive alerts).