How to Talk to Your School About Type 1 Diabetes

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If you were diagnosed as a kid you may have given presentations every year at your lower school you might have a tradition of educating others about Type 1. You might also be totally over giving the PSA-enough already. If newly diagnosed in middle or high school you might be apprehensive about calling yourself out in front of a full house of teens or not sure how to let people know about what you’re navigating in addition to tests, stress and the social scene.

One way to approach Type 1 education is to take yourself out of the center of the presentation. You could present the global perspective, warning signs and what life if like with the disease and not share personal details beyond this is something that impacts you. You could also tie to November 14th, a global day of advocacy and awareness, or to a school wide change drive/competition with funds going to cure research or another important initiative.

If comfortable you could do the inverse and describe your personal journey as a way to share what it’s like to be a student with a second full time job. Educating others is a tremendous way to combat ignorance, potentially ward off bullying and provide and added safety net for yourself. Your are also paving the way for the next T1D student.

Whatever your approach there are some basics to keep in mind:

  • Approach your school well in advance of your desired date. School calendars are extremely overloaded.
  • Keep the presentation fairly brief – 10-12 minutes for either your story, a video or powerpoint and include time for Q & A – if you are not comfortable with this it is ok to omit!
  • Provide basic facts. Remember that more information, and more complicated information, is not necessarily better. those not familiar with Type 1 are more likely to absorb information that is clear and concise.
  • Bring props to show! If you are comfortable and the venue allows, bring some of your supplies to show how they are used and why. These can include your BG meter and testing supplies, an empty bottle of insulin, needle-less syringes or a pump set (depending on what you use).
  • Prepare for your presentation and a Q & A ahead of time. It is a good idea to run through what you will be saying a few times to get comfortable and prepared. If you can present to someone ot familiar with Type 1 and incorporate their feedback, this well help ensure your message is impactful.

Topics to cover

  1. What is Type 1 diabetes?
  2. What’s the difference between Type 1 and  2?
  3. What does diabetes management look like in a given day?
  4. What are some of the greatest challenges? What are your power ups?
  5. What are the ways you live beyond your diagnosis ?
  6. How can they help those with Type 1 or with any chronic illness?

Check out our downloadable educational resources here.

Return to school resources here.