Everyone at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., knows the very young man in the suit. Joshua Davis, 5, and his mother Shannon have been making the rounds in support of two diabetes bill—one in the House and one in the Senate—that will impact him when he starts kindergarten in the fall.
Joshua uses an insulin pump that delivers his necessary dose of insulin—anytime he eats or drinks anything besides water. But many schools are not familiar with these devices and how to manage or maintain them. There are also other medical devices used by students with Type 1 diabetes, such as continuous glucose monitors and blood ketone testers. Shannon Davis says that there are many inconsistencies in how school nurses are trained, if there is a full-time school nurse at the school at all.
“A lot of the issues are related to a lack of training on diabetes devices, which is actually free from the device manufacturers. Training is available and free,” she says. “Training is neither comprehensive or consistent, and these bills aim to change that.”
There are other issues related to guidelines and laws that affect children with chronic illnesses, such as self-carrying their medication in case of lockdown or field trips.
On March 6, Joshua and Shannon were introduced from the Senate Gallery for his birthday. The pair continues to follow the bills with the hope that they will ensure consistent care for children living with Type 1 diabetes. There are currently 3,300 children with Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes in Virginia public schools, according to Davis’ handouts. The bills are HB134 and SB532 and young Joshua Davis hopes to see improvements before he climbs onto the school bus this fall.
“For my birthday, I want diabetes to go away,” he says.