When a child gets diagnosed with diabetes, both parent and child are upset. It`s natural to experience a range of emotions-anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, and grief. It can take time for children, especially young children or teens, to accept the reality of living with a chronic illness.


It also means big changes ahead for your child and your family. But you don`t need to do it alone-your child`s team of diabetes health professionals can help you manage his or her care.

Helping your child follow the food, exercise and treatment plan developed by the diabetes team plays a key role in maintaining his or her good health and preventing complications and side effects from developing. Learning about diabetes and teaching your child about it will help you both take constructive action and develop practical strategies to manage the illness and make it feel less overwhelming.  

 
Choosing a Team
As the first step, you should choose a doctor with experience treating diabetic patients - either a diabetes specialist, internist, pediatrician or family practice specialist. Make sure that you feel comfortable asking the doctor questions and can understand the answers. Your diabetes team can also include the following health professionals:
  • Diabetes Educator: A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) can help you and your child understand diabetes and develop an effective treatment regimen, including the three key components: insulin, diet and exercise. You can search for a U.S.-based CDE here.
  • Dietitian: A nutrition professional can develop a food plan that meets your child`s nutritional needs and helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
  • Mental Health Professional: Working with a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker can help you, your child and your family cope with the psychological side of the illness.
  • Eye Doctor (Ophthalmologist or Optometrist): Children with diabetes need eye exams every three to five years.
  • Exercise Physiologist: A physiologist can develop an exercise regimen that your child will enjoy and be able to follow.
  • Podiatrist: This foot specialist treats foot problems that can arise with diabetes.

 

Reviewed by Clara Schneider MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN - 05/13