Cass was 5 when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We embarked on a steep learning curve and during that time, I kept trying to share enough responsibility, diabetes tasks and decision making with her, but not so much that it overwhelmed it. It was a difficult line to walk. I had no idea what was expected of her and I was determined to support and guide her, but not cut her out of the process. One day, I’ll no longer be needed and it’d be up to her to make all the decisions and I wanted the next decade or more of her life to be a positive training experience that equipped her for the task that lay ahead.
I stumbled across some informational leaflets that I’ve found enlightening. Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company well-known for making insulin pens, like the Novopen Echo, and insulin like NovoRapid and Levemir, has developed an educational programme “to help healthcare professionals provide children and young people with the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to successfully manage type 1 diabetes at every stage of life.”
The leaflets are aimed to support healthcare professionals in their education of children and young people with Diabetes and as such, are thorough, evidence based information sheets in-line with the most recent 2015 NICE guidelines. Information is split over 6 categories with age-appropriate suggestions for each: 6-7 years, 8-9 years, 10-11 years, 12-13 years, 14-15 years and 16 – 18 years old. The leaflets are written to incorporate earlier ages, so that families with a child within a specific age bracket do not need to work through all the leaflets but just the one that applies to them. Each age bracket includes health information for medical professionals, a leaflet to hand out to parents and a record sheet to be completed over the two year period to track progress in diabetes awareness and education.
It’s written for Diabetes clinics, but I found it to be an excellent resource as a parent. It’s been useful to see a logical progression of how children evolve over time to take on greater responsibility. Obviously, each child is different and my daughter find some things more overwhelming than expected for her age, whilst for others she’s exceeded all expectations. But it’s great to have a set of general milestones that offer a starting point for teaching her how to manage her condition well.