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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • children;
  • school;
  • type 1 diabetes

Pinelli L, Zaffani S, Cappa M, Carboniero V, Cerutti F, Cherubini V, Chiarelli F, Colombini MI, La Loggia A, Pisanti P, Vanelli M, Lorini R. The ALBA Project: an evaluation of needs, management, fears of Italian young patients with type 1 diabetes in a school setting and an evaluation of parents' and teachers' perceptions.

Objective: To determine how Italian parents and school personnel of 6–13-year-old children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) manage during school hours, including insulin administration, management of hypoglycemia, and glucagon use. A further aim was an investigation into the responsibilities and training of school personnel regarding diabetes.

Research design and methods: After an initial qualitative phase, semi-structured questionnaires were completed by a sample of parents and teachers.

Results: 220 parent and 52 teacher questionnaires were completed. 43.6% of parents said diabetes had negatively influenced school activities. Children either self-administer insulin, or have help from a parent, since there is very rarely a nurse present (3.6%) or a teacher who will take responsibility for the treatment (2.9%). Most parents (55.9%) stated either that the school had no refrigerator to store glucagon or that they did not know if the school was so equipped. A small percentage of teachers considered their schools to be equipped to manage an emergency (23%) and said they would use glucagon directly in an emergency (14.9%). Only 40.4% of teachers said that they had received any specific training.

Conclusions: The study shows that people who are not directly involved have superficial knowledge of the different aspects of diabetes, even though no parents reported episodes of neglect/incorrect management. There is no legislation which clearly defines the role of the school in the care of children with T1D, and teachers are not trained to help them. Training sessions for school personnel and greater legislative clarity about the ‘insulin and glucagon question’ are key factors that may improve the full integration of the child with diabetes.