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From Charlotte, North Carolina, USA:

I am working with a mother of four. Two of her children have type 1 diabetes and her youngest was just diagnosed with a muscular disorder. She is overwhelmed, to say the least. The school has made referrals for support groups and counselors, but she is just too overwhelmed to go. She is in constant crisis mode. What is available out there that I haven't thought of to offer as support? Would she qualify for disability and be able to collect additional money that might help with respite care? I am seriously concerned for her emotional health. She is taking great care of the kids, but not such good care of herself.


You have asked a difficult question. From my experience, children with type 1 diabetes are usually denied when they apply for disability benefits, unless the child has another physical or mental health diagnosis in addition to the diabetes. I always tell families they can still apply, but it is a long process. I liked your idea of the mother meeting with a counselor and/or going to a support group. The tricky thing about support groups is that they are only held at limited times which may not work with this mother's hectic schedule, but maybe you could help her find a counselor that has appointments available when it is best for the mother (for example, while the kids are in school or in the evening when another parent/adult is able to watch the kids). Another idea is to work with the mother to figure out if any friends or relatives can help with respite care.


Original posting 20 May 2006
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