T1D teen and grades

Hi parents of teenagers with T1D…
Up until now, my son has maintained A’s and B’s. This particular school year (sophomore) he missed a lot of class due to highs, lows, and a couple of days where he was recovering from ketones. Because he misses so much class it is certainly difficult for him to maintain these good grades. While we do have a health plan on file, and the teachers have allowed him to turn in late work without penalty, it’s very hard to overcome The missed class time. We are now dealing with our very first D and several c’s . I’m starting to worry about the long-term effect on his transcript, and just wondered if any of you have had the same problem. Accommodations are great, but there is no substitute for class time and I’m just wondering how it’s going to affect his future, and if anyone has any tips, inspiration, or stories for me.

I would just say work with his doctor to see if adjustments need to be made to his regimen. It’s not unusual to need to tweak basal rates and/or carb ratios and maybe some of the background settings if he uses a pump; or his injection insulin may need to be modified if he takes shots. It can be difficult to help kids manage - particularly teens did to hormones. But if he keeps good records you may be able to figure some things out.
Wishing you all the best!


hi @Cnlschmidt good to hear from you. I have no idea what is in your son’s head but let me tell you a little about what it was like for me at 15. I had had T1 for a couple years and the sadness of the reality was just starting to sink in. For me, all I wanted to do was be normal, not have accommodations, not have anyone worry, or ask me about anything. I might even have neglected my diabetes in order to not attract attention to myself. This age was the beginning of a very long tough time for me. I hope he is still interested in the things that he always had interest in, I hope he is still active and has many friends. If he is having any troubles at all I would urge you to look after it, maybe even offer (if you have access to) a therapist. The only reason im saying this is because it was the very beginning of depression in me, and I would have done a lot better if I started talking about it earlier. Its tough for a 15/16 year old to wrap their head around an incurable disease, it certainly was for me. To directly address the question: today I am in a high pressure technical job and I just take care of my highs and lows. They do not stop me from doing anything I set my mind to. I had a low during a presentation at work and I requested a “bio break” where I took care of my low with fast acting carbs. I use a pump and CGM so I can see if I am trending high. T1 can slow me down at inconvenient times… but i does not truly get in my way or require me to miss out anymore. I hope you guys are ok. good luck!

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Thank you so very much for caring enough to answer and sharing your story… I think right now he is hyper focused on the social aspect – he does not have problems with friendships, and he wants to do all his activities all the time. He would much rather do those than schoolwork and sometimes I think that the social interferes with him taking care of his diabetes. He doesn’t mind that cost – I am the one who has issues with the lower grades. For example he would stay out late going to ihop with friends and going high, then a night time compensatory low and have a hard time getting up in the morning and going to his first class. Some of that would be just like a “normal” teenager. But because of the highs and lows during the night he’s getting even less sleep, making that first period class more difficult. That’s just one example.
I guess I just wonder if he ends up with less than a B average coming out of high school if anyone will consider all of these trials that he faces when he goes to apply for college or get a job. I would hate to think that type one diabetes robs him of a future that he could’ve had without the disease if you know what I mean.

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There are posts on the forum from “kids” looking to make friends with others their age - teens included. I wonder if he might like to connect with other Type1 teens, here or elsewhere? It’s possible there are other students at his school who have Type1 and he just doesn’t know it. The school nurse or administrators could connect them - due to HIPAA of course they wouldn’t be able to give out other names, but they could share your son’s if you or he asked.
My neighbor’s older daughter (now in her mid 30s) was diagnosed with ADHD when the condition itself first came into the picture. Both girls were very smart but “Sue” struggled to keep her grades up. She was also naturally very social and leaned more towards socializing than focusing on her studies. She was admitted to a number of colleges, and the one she selected worked with her to make accommodation, so having a medical condition does not necessarily mean a student won’t be admitted - in fact I don’t knew that they can even ask for details on an application. That said, while . College admissions may not see diabetes itself as a deterring factor, they might wonder about discipline since there is a recurring issue with first period class.
I once read about a girl who refused to take her insulin because she wanted to be like her friends. She went into DKA - got sick at school, lost consciousness and was rushed to the ER, ironically making her feel less like them. Thankfully that has not happened to your son, and hopefully it never will. But I hope he will come to see that managing his diabetes will help him be like his friends by keeping him healthy and feeling well so he can do the things he enjoys.
There are a number of celebrities who live with Type1 26 Famous People with Type 1 Diabetes
I had hoped to find some who were more your son’s contemporaries, but hopefully the fact that the list includes athletes, entertainers and a Supreme Court Justice whose names he may know - and some of whom were diagnosed when young - will be inspirational.

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@Cnlschmidt I am really glad to hear this. I suppose if he is looking for a college degree, then high school sets the stage for college. The way things are today, it’s grades, aptitude, sports, and social/leadership, e.g. student government, and others that gets attention at the college acceptance level. I had a B average, but did well on my aptitude tests, but I still had some resistance at large universities. I took some classes and worked for about 2 years, and applied later when I knew more about what I wanted to do. After college, no one ever cared about high school anymore. And after being employed for a few years, no one cared about college. Doing well opens some doors yes, but it’s only an “admission fee”. There are many roads to success. Good luck :four_leaf_clover: to you guys!

Hi Lisa,

When I was in my senior year of high school my blood sugars were out of control. I missed a lot of classes, just like your son. Once I got my glucose readings under control, I went to each of my teachers, individually, and explained what had been going on. I asked them for extra help and all but one teacher said “Yes.” I brought all of my grades up. So, I would ask him if he has spoken to his teachers about this. From my experience, most would be happy to help!

Pam K.
T1D 58.11 years and counting!