Thursday, March 29, 2012

Disclosure

When, why, and how does my daughter's diabetes get disclosed?  The answer for the moment is "as much as possible."  That may change as she grows up.

All of her classmates, and most of the school staff know that my daughter has diabetes. She leaves the classroom periodically to test, and has a snack while the rest of the class does not.  She did not, I suppose, have to disclose that diabetes was the reason she was doing these things, but she saw no reason to be mysterious about it. She's started each elementary school year by telling the class she has diabetes, and a bit about what that means. During her school's JDRF walks, she's been comfortable being the "special helper" for the educational presentations, talking a bit about her diabetes experience. Because she's been with the same 60 or so kids since Kindergarten, in a variety of class combinations, it would be safe to say that all of the 4th graders at her school know the story.

Adults she's with need to know about her diabetes in order to help should an emergency arise. Her friends' parents need to be able to help her make good snack choices, and to remind her to call me if she needs help calculating a bolus. Even her piano teacher, who she's only with for half an hour a week, knows her diagnosis and circumstances which would warrant a phone call to me.

I often assume that everyone we know is aware of my daughter's diabetes, but when proven wrong am happy to share. A mom with whom I've often helped at school events recently asked me how I had ended up volunteering so much time for the school JDRF walks.  Surprised that she didn't already know, I gladly explained. My philosophy is that the more people who know, the better.  It's better for my child's safety.  What if this mom happened to be driving by in a couple of years and saw my daughter sitting on the curb on the way home from school?  She might now be more likely to stop and check on her.  If her classmates all know about her diabetes, they're also more likely to recognize a situation where my daughter needs help.  They're more likely to respect decisions she makes about what to eat at a party, or to understand why she has to take the 5 minutes to check and bolus before she joins them in a snack.  On a much larger scale, if people know what my daughter and our family deal with on a daily basis, perhaps they'll be more likely to put their names on paper sneakers at Marshalls or to support a JDRF walk.

While she doesn't bring it up herself, my child is comfortable sharing her diagnosis, and answering questions as they arise.  She doesn't consider it a secret, but there are many things she'd rather talk about. It will be interesting to see how she chooses to disclose her diabetes when she encounters a new group of kids at the middle school.  There will be so many things to talk about with new friends, most of them more interesting than diabetes.  I just hope that she continues to recognize that while diabetes isn't the most important thing about her, there are a variety of reasons it's important for her close friends to know about it. 

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/march-dsma-blog-carnival-2/

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I too am the mom of a Type 1 diabetic young lady. She is about to turn 16 in a couple of months. She was dxd at age 3. As far as sleeping a whole night, I do night remember what that is. But, I am not complaining. I do tell people that she is diabetic, it is nothing to be ashamed of. She wears her pump proudly and loves to show off my latest pump pack creations. Although she has told me that she is tired of being diabetic, I have told her not to give up because there will be a cure in her lifetime. Thank you for listening.

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  2. I loved your paragraph about how while your daughter is comfortable answering questions about and talking about diabetes, there are many more things she's more interested in sharing. That's exactly how it should be, I think!! :)

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