Praise for P1 teacher who spotted boy’s diabetes

Caolan O'Neill with mum Amanda and teacher Miss Fox
Caolan O'Neill with mum Amanda and teacher Miss Fox

The family of a six-year-old schoolboy have thanked his teacher after she intervened to help him get an early diagnosis for type 1 diabetes.

Caolan O’Neill, a pupil at St Paul’s Primary and Nursery School in Londonderry, was diagnosed with the condition after his teacher noticed he was asking for permission to use the toilet a lot.

Primary One teacher Caoimhe Fox said: “I noticed that Caolan was asking to go to the toilet a lot. I started to take note of it, because it wasn’t normal for Caolan.”

She decided to bring it up with Caolan’s parents, who took him to see a GP.

After a hospital referral, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The Public Health Agency say early diagnosis is important in children, and have highlighted Miss Fox’s vigilance as an example of good practice.

Caolan’s mum, Amanda, said: “Caolan was quite the typical five-year-old boy, he was very happy-go-lucky, enjoyed playing with his friends and dreaming of being a YouTuber and he had just started his first term in Primary 1 and was really loving it.

“Caolan is now doing great. He still loves doing all the things he did before, still dreams of being a YouTuber and still loves playing with his friends and doing anything related to arts and crafts. He is a true inspiration — he doesn’t let his condition define him. We are very proud of him. He is a true wee superhero.

“We are very thankful that Miss Fox noticed the change in Caolan’s toilet behaviour and that she informed us. Because of her actions we got the diagnosis early, before DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis) developed.”

Dr Brid Farrell from the Public Health Agency said: “We are urging parents to make themselves aware of the symptoms and if you do notice any of them, I would urge you to get your child’s blood sugar checked that day.”

The signs are known as the four ‘Ts’ — Toilet (frequency), Tiredness, Thirst and Thinner (weight loss).