How will diabetes affect us?
You may feel a mixture of emotions including anger, disbelief, sadness and guilt and find it difficult to cope at times. All these are very natural reactions
- Your child can still live a full and active life.
- Try not to listen to "old wives' tales" about diabetes. There have been many changes in diabetes management in recent years. Check any information you have with your diabetes clinic team.
- Although diabetes is a common condition, it is very individual and adjusting to diabetes in your life may take time.
- Try not to focus only on diabetes - don't miss out other family members.
Facts about childhood diabetes
- At least 20,000 children and young people under the age of 20 have diabetes. In the UK 2,000 children have been diagnosed with diabetes in the last 12 months.
- No one knows exactly what causes diabetes to develop in childhood.
- An inherited link in childhood diabetes has been found and there is active research world-wide looking at this problem.
- At present insulin injections are the only treatment for diabetes in childhood.
- As far as we know at present your child will always need insulin injections.
The correct name for your child's diabetes is insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM or Type 1).
Where can we get help?
You will see the diabetes clinic team regularly and they will be able to offer support and answer your questions. Remember to write your questions down to take to the clinic so you don't forget what you wanted to ask.
- Do talk to your family, friends and colleagues about diabetes as they will want to help. You can also take other people with you to the clinic or centre so they can learn more about the care of your child.
- Ask about local support groups. It is often useful to talk to other people also living with diabetes. The British Diabetic Association produces a magazine, leaflets and books.
- Your family doctor should also be involved.
- The aim of your diabetes care team is to teach you to make sensible decisions about the diabetes management of your child.
What about school and diabetes?
Your child's school life should not be affected by diabetes. With a little pre-planning your child can enjoy all the activities enjoyed before diagnosis.
- Discuss the school routine with the diabetes clinic. The management of diabetes can be organised around the school timetable.
- It is important that the teachers know about the diabetes. A diabetes nurse can visit the school to provide information. The BDA produces a free School Pack which you can give to the school yourself.
- A school nurse may also be involved in supporting your child at school.
- Encourage your child to tell their friends about diabetes. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Children are usually interested and often impressed by and supportive of one of their friends coping with diabetes.
- Provide a small box of supplies for your child to take to school to treat possible low blood sugar (hypos).
- Remind your child to take extra food to school on PE or games days and to remember to eat it.
- If a lunchtime injection is needed, arrange with the school about keeping equipment safely.
- Make sure the school knows your telephone umber and how to contact you. Agree a procedure with the class teacher, year head and school head in case of emergencies.
What else do we need to know?
You will be concerned about your child's future, for instance job prospects, travelling and holidays. You will be able to get help on these subjects as they occur. There are other leaflets in this series that you may find useful at the right time.
The diabetes care team can discuss with you and your child how to fit all of these in with your family lifestyle.