Managing type 1 diabetes: What can children do?
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease that involves a great deal of day-to-day effort. When children with type 1 diabetes are young, their parents will do most of the work for them. As children get older, they can become more involved in their own care.
How quickly children start doing some of the day-to-day tasks of managing type 1 diabetes depends on many factors, including:
- How old they are
- What they are able do
- How independent they are
- How long since they were diagnosed
- How willing they are to take on diabetes-related tasks
When it comes to diabetes care, it is up to parents and children to decide “who does what”.
Especially in the early years, a child’s willingness to be involved in their care may vary from day to day, and depending on circumstances.
Schools should be prepared to provide support and supervision that matches each child’s needs and abilities.
All children and youth with type 1 diabetes—even those who manage a lot of their own care—may:
- Need help when their blood sugar is too high or too low.
- Need someone else to share diabetes tasks from time to time.
It’s helpful if the student’s individual care plan is clear about who does each task, and exactly how much support a child needs.
Here are some general guidelines. But remember, every child is unique.
|Age/stage||How they think and feel||Some typical diabetes tasks|
4 to 5 years old
6 to 7 years old
8 to 12 years old
13 to 18 years old
*While there are many more aspects to development, the ones listed here are especially relevant to the day-to-day tasks involved in managing type 1 diabetes