From Harleysville, Pennsylvania, USA:
My almost seven year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2004. He has just entered the first grade and is feeling "weird" because he has diabetes and his peers don't understand what it is. At this time, he is the only one in the school with diabetes. How can we, as parents, handle this and make him feel comfortable in his school situation?
You may find the book by Dr. Timothy Wysocki,The Ten Keys to Helping Your Child Grow Up With Diabetes, published by the ADA, very helpful. It offers practical ideas on how to help your child feel more comfortable. Many of the children I work with plan a "show and tell" with their parents and teacher's support. They bring in their diabetes supplies to school. They explain what diabetes is to their peers, and most importantly, what it is not (not contagious, not caused by eating sweets) and that they are not fragile or more likely to get sick than any other person. Children in the classroom usually ask terrific questions. Many children feel this experience allows their peers to understand diabetes and realize that they are not any different than their friends (except, of course for checking blood sugars and taking insulin injections). But, they find their peers treating them the same as always. Handling the facts of diabetes in this manner is very helpful to classmates and prevents rumors or misperceptions from getting around the school.
Original posting 26 Oct 2006
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