Meet Nathan, Hayley and Aiden. They all live with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and attend the same primary school.
While a few students with T1D at one school might not seem that out of the ordinary, three pupils with diabetes out of a total school population of 62 is.
And last year, this statistic was even higher at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Mullewa, five hours north of Perth, when it had four out of 56 students with T1D.
Education assistant Jayde Curtis said she knew nothing about diabetes when she started working at the school.
“When Hayley arrived at the beginning of Year 2, I was constantly checking for signs of her going high or low and doing finger pricks throughout the day,” she said.
“Then she got a sensor and it read her blood glucose levels about every five minutes, sending the information through to her phone and if that number was too low or too high, an alarm would go off and we would work to bring her levels back within target range.
“Hayley now has a pump so there’s been three different things that we’ve had to learn how to do together in a short space of time – manual testing, sensor and now pump.”
Ms Curtis said students with diabetes at the school were very well managed and all the staff kept a close eye on Aiden (Year 1) and siblings Hayley (Year 3) and Nathan (Year 6).
“It is very unusual to have three-to-four kids with Type 1 Diabetes in a small school population - it’s actually been quite helpful having a few with the condition as we can learn from each other and from the parents,” she said.
“I think it especially helped Aiden’s mum (Aiden was diagnosed late last year) because it is reassuring knowing that there are other kids at the school with diabetes so staff are well trained to deal with the condition.”
Principal Jill Hollands said the school’s staff went above and beyond in their care of all their students.
“It isn’t one size fits all when it comes to addressing the needs of students with Type 1 Diabetes because they require different management depending on their individual diabetes therapy,” she said.
“We’ve got the easy job as teachers – the parents are the ones who are up all night.
“I look at these kids knowing that they will live with diabetes for the rest of their lives and yet they take it all in their stride, they are amazing.”