“There is really no stigma attached to type 1 diabetes,” says Dr. Steven Willi, director of the Diabetes Center for Children at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “but still, a lot of children want to be quiet about it initially.” It’s fine to respect your child’s wishes, but you also need to keep her healthy.
So follow your good instincts as a parent. Make sure anyone who is responsible for your child knows about the diagnosis. This can include grandparents, babysitters, and friends’ parents. “You can’t have a child go on a sleepover with friends without the parents knowing she has diabetes,” says Dr. Willi.
“You also can’t have a teacher not knowing,” he says. “That’s inappropriate from a safety standpoint.”
But if your child is on a play date, other kids don’t necessarily need to know. Discuss the specifics with your healthcare team and use your good judgment.
The important thing is to strike a balance between maintaining your child’s health and not allowing your child to be defined by the illness. Says Dr. Willi: “There are plenty of other things about your child that are unique and special and worth knowing about.”
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.