In 1922 two physiologists, named Banting and Best, isolated from the pancreas a hormone which they called insulin. Deficient secretion of insulin causes the percentage of sugar in the blood to rise and as a result the kidneys attempt to remove the excess by way of the urine. This condition is Diabetes.
The Ministry of Education advocate the admission of Diabetic Children of parents too ignorant to learn the dieting, urine testing and insulin injections, either into a hostel or a residential special school which caters for them.
The first school of this kind was opened at Hutton, Essex.
Additional advantages of a special school for Diabetics are that the children are kept under the regular medical supervision and treatment of a specialist, their diets are properly controlled, and the children are educated to understand their condition and the care necessary to keep them healthy.
Since Diabetic children are very susceptible to infection every care should be taken to teach them the importance of maintaining a high standard of hygienic living. The restrictions of dietary and particularly of cakes and sweets must be irksome to a child who sees other children eating more freely, but as a member of a diabetic unit he finds himself no worse off than his colleagues and soon learns to make light of his disability.
At the special school for diabetics absenteeism owing to ill-health is rare, and the children's educational progress has enabled many of them to take scholarships and attend grammar and technical schools in the district. On the other hand in several cases where parents have taken their children away there has been a rapid deterioration in health, and this has caused much loss of education. In some cases the children have died.
Before they leave the school the children have a full understanding of their disability, and know how to test their urine for sugar, how to give themselves insulin injections and how to regulate their diets.
Source: Modern School Hygiene by Dr. R. Gamlin
Page updated 12 March 2008
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