Monday, September 16, 2013

Having The Talk

No.  Not THAT talk... I think we're a few years away from that.  At least I hope we are.

No, this past Friday I went to Elise's school to give my own mini Diabetes 101 talk to her classmates.  I wanted to make it fun, interesting, and something they could understand.  The last part I had a little trouble with.

When it comes to diabetes, Elise is "reading" at probably an 8th grade level.  But I needed to explain type 1 in a way that a classroom full of 5 and 6 year old with NO diabetes knowledge would understand.

And I'm happy to say that it worked!  I prepared a slide show on my iPad with a mix of pictures of Elise, and pictures that helped to illustrate diabetes.

I actually had to give the talk twice, because Elise is in a dual language program.  So my first stop was the Spanish classroom.  It was a little tricky stopping for translation, and it was hard to find a flow to the talk, but the kids really seemed to enjoy it.  I ended my talk with Four Things I want you to Know About Type 1 Diabetes; one of those things being you can't catch diabetes by being Elise's friend, by hugging her or giving her a high five.

The best part was at the end of the talk when Elise and I stood up to leave, all the kids came forward and wanted to give Elise high fives and hugs.  Seriously... HOW CUTE IS THAT???

Our next stop was her English classroom.  The talk went much more smoothly this time and the kids loved all the personal pictures of Elise. We even got to show them a blood sugar check in action when the dex was showing Elise at 90, slightly down in the middle of our talk.  Her BG was actually 95, so they got to see why Elise gets to eat Smarties in the classroom from time to time... something they were very curious about.

They even asked some great questions at the end; can she swim with her sensor and pump?  If you can't catch diabetes from someone, how did Elise get it (Oy... try to answer THAT one on a Kindergartner level)? How does Elise sleep with her pump on?

At one point in my talk, I explained low blood sugars to them, and asked them if they could could be my special helpers.  If they ever saw Elise acting silly (or sillier than normal), or if she fell down and didn't get back up, they needed to get an adult right away.  I was happy to see they were really enthusiastic, and felt very important.

Since Elise will be with the same kids for the next 6 years, I most likely won't have to do The Talk again for awhile.  Which makes me kind of sad... I really enjoyed it with my tiny teacher by my side.


  1. I would love to get a copy of that slide show!

  2. AWESOME!! All the extra hugs at the end would have brought me to tears.
    If you really want to keep giving the talk check in with your local JDRF to see if they have the Kids Walk program in your area.
    I was a kids walk presentor and honestly it was amazing! I would go to different elementary schools each week and present the walk to the kids. I talked about what diabetes is, the different types, healthy eating, how food is digested, what it means to have diabetes (finger pokes, insulin, insulin pumps etc) then at the end would invite them to help cure diabetes by raising money to give to scientists and doctors. The program in my area raised over 80K each year and I know for a fact that kids learned something. I would often substitute in the same schools and many kids would remember me and my presentation and want to talk about diabetes. Seriously - it was a great program and certainly worth my time. I did a few presentations a week and also returned 2 weeks later to count money but all my kiddos were in school - with your littles needing you around you could do much less and still have a great impact.
    So very glad you did this for Elise and for all her classmates. It will make such a difference for her and the students that learned from it.
    I bet you were a real hoot to watch too.

  3. Sounds like you and Elise put together an amazing presentation! I love that she will now have so many special helpers watching out for her while at school! xoxo

  4. Have you posted about Elise's school before? I have friend whose daughters are in a French/English program and I love hearing about their different approach.

  5. That is so sweet. I did the same talk for my son starting in 1st grade (when he was diagnosed) through 4th grade. This year he is in 5th grade and we decided not too. This year he wasnt so thrilled about his mom coming into class. Not sure if that was the right thing to do ... But he decided he was old enough to handle it on his own ... Sigh ...


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