Can Diabetes Affect a Student’s Academic Performance?

by Cassidy Welling

Around 34.2 million Americans are battling diabetes, while a further 88 million are at a pre-diabetic stage. As is the case with many chronic diseases, symptoms can extend to cognitive performance, with RESEARCH BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS showing that students with Type 1 diabetes can have a reduction in cognitive function. The extent of this decline depends on issues such as how long someone has had the disease and the presence of hyperglycaemia. The early onset of diabetes, said researchers, increased the risk of students having learning problems. The study involved comparing THE GRADES OF STUDENTS WITH DIABETES in subjects such as chemistry, physics, maths, and humanities, with those of non-diabetic students.

Socioeconomic and Behavioural Factors are Key

Another STUDY BY MCCARTHY ET AL. had similar but slightly different findings from the above study. Researchers found that reading scores and GPAs were lower in children with poor metabolic control (and in children hospitalised for hyperglycaemia) than those with good metabolic control. However, certain socioeconomic and behavioural factors were also influential. One example of how home environments can influence the rate of hospitalisation and other factors that can interfere with learning is that of diabetic feet. Children WHO TAKE CARE OF DIABETIC FEET by wearing special socks, having massages and frequent foot checks, and who receive quick care for any wounds that arise, are more likely to avoid more serious problems. Diabetic feet can result in serious consequences and long hospitalisations when left unattended. This is where good medical care and careful observation from parents or guardians is key.

How Can Tutors Help?

Tutors of children with diabetes should be aware of the challenges that students can face. If children need to stay at home to care for feet or simply to recover from hospitalisation, tutors should provide means for kids to stay on top of their classes. These resources can include written work and video. If possible, online classes via Google Hangouts and Zoom can help kids feel like they aren't missing out. Additionally, paying close attention to the students' performance and the way their cognitive function may vary can make it easier to prioritise certain types of teaching over others, adjusting lessons and strategies when necessary for better outcomes.

Counteracting the Effect of Diabetes

Parents of children with diabetes can do plenty to REDUCE THE IMPACT OF THIS DISEASE on their child's academic achievements. As studies have shown, the care given to children and even their diet can have a big impact on everything from their stress levels to their ability to prevent diabetic foot conditions. Through thorough inspection, regular exercise, and careful diet control, parents can help ensure children's glucose levels remain at a healthy level. This can avoid hospitalisations and frequent absences owing to necessities such as doctors' visits.

Studies carried out on students with diabetes have shown that this condition can indeed affect academic performance. Factors such as poor metabolic control, hospitalisations for hyperglycaemia, and having a lower socioeconomic status are also relevant. Care should be taken to ensure children with diabetes control glucose intake and adopt a healthy, active lifestyle. Fortunately, tutors can also help by using online technologies to enable children who are home to feel more connected to their studies.

Tags: performance diabetes
Categories: studying