How to Explain Diabetes to Students

Hey! I'm in college right now (I graduate in December 2011) and I was just wondering how do you explain Diabetes to your students? I wear a pump so they always see it and ask. I usually just tell them I have Diabetes and its my medicine. But with the younger kids they usually have a lot more questions. Any suggestions on what to do? (:

I teach sixth grade......I just come right out and tell them that I have Type 1 diabetes.  A lot of them usually know someone else with diabetes.  I don't wear a pump I tell them that every time I eat, I take an insulin injection.  And I have to check my blood sugars often.  I also explain to them how I will act when my blood sugar is low and how I act when it gets high.  When I wore my pump, I gave the pump a name and introduced the pump to them that way and told them that I couldn't live without it.  I told them that it helped to regulate the food that I ate and I told them that when it beeps, it usually needs me to do something to make it happy!!  I also said, like you, that it delivers medicine that I need without having to take a shot.  They thought it was pretty cool! 

Thanks for sharing! Giving my pump a name sounds like a great idea! Also what you said about when it beeps I have to do something to amke it happy. This definitely helps me  lot! (:

Great!  Glad I could help you out!  Let me know if you have other things you want to chat about!!!

I also teach 6th grade, and I wear a pump.  I usually wait until the first student in each class asks about it (this usually comes up after it beeps and they all accuse each other of having their cell phones) and then I explain that I have diabetes and it gives me the insulin that my body needs.  I usually give as straightforward of an answer as I can to any questions that they may ask.  When a new student comes in part way through the year and looks at me questioningly when I beep, other students usually explain to them before I even get a chance.  My diabetes explanation may be the one thing my students actually listen to and retain all year.  

I have often wondered about this. I am currently a student studying in Early Childhood Education and I have wondered what you say to your students.

I think I might blog about it.

I both teach (high school) and have a 5 year old nephew who is as curious as they come.....I wear a pump and inevitably it comes up whether i am wearing a pager.....=) i found what everyone has said previously great nephew knows my pump as "beepers" we actually named it together so it would make him feel more comfortable and actually he is more aware of it when we play around....he watches that he doesn't get caught up in "beepers" tubing or something. =) also, i don't know how old your students will be, but i definitely let my students (high schoolers) know what happens when my sugar is low/high. It's amazing because they will make me check my sugar if they notice I am having any problems. I show them where I keep my mini-frig so they can grab me an OJ or Apllejuice......I show them how to work my monitor so they can check my sugar in case I can't..;...they actually respond very well to the responsibility and the trust that you are giving them. =)

I like the idea of naming my pump!  I've taught first grade the last two years, and actually haven't shared any information about my diabetes with my students.  I didn't tell them what my pump was - they asked if it was my phone or ipod and I kind of let them think it was one or the other. I just wasn't sure how to explain it to small children.  Next year I will be teaching third graders.  I think that I will find it easier (and less stressful for myself because now I'll have a classroom of people who will know what's wrong if I ever have a bad low, etc) to explain to my third graders.  I am definitely ready to give my kiddos hugs without them asking 'what's that thing?' when they hit my pump, haha!

I teach 5th grade Science and telling my kiddos about my diabetes is something I do on day 1 when I introduce myself!  I explain what type 1 is, I explain that sometimes I'm not going to feel good, and I might have to eat a snack, and tell them what to do if I ever have a problem (call the office, get my neighbor teacher, get the nurse).  They are actually enthusiastic about "taking care of me", and when my pump beeps they are very concerned (even if it's nothing).  Usually near the beginning of the year I use my diabetes as the theme for a health lesson - they have so many questions and nearly every student has a friend or relative with type 1 or 2 diabetes so they have personal interest.

It's funny, when I am having issues, either my sugar has bottomed out or hit the roof, they are better behaved than ever.  Quiet, attentive, helpful, concerned - I should be "sick" all the time!

When I taught 3rd and 4th graders, I used the Rufus book, and I read it to them (although, that book reads like a diabetes commercial), and explained what type 1 diabetes was, and that I need to take medicine. I was five when I was diagnosed, and I always explain it to people in kid form because that's how I remember being told about it.

I teach first grade now, and I still use the Rufus book (I even made my own Rufus bear), and I really try to get across to kids that I might need to eat snacks, and that I need to get medicine all day long. I do my blood sugar pretty openly in front of kids (at my desk, which is not covered/blocked), and they aren't too aware of what's going on. I needed them to know that if I need some time to eat, that they will have things that they will do (read alone, buddy read) until I feel better. I also made cards that I keep on a small fridge I have in my classroom that say "Miss Stevens needs help-she is having a reaction" and I assigned two responsible kids to be in charge of the cards, just in case it ever got to the point where I knew I needed help but I was too weak to get it on my own (which it hasn't yet, knock on wood). I don't try to hide it from them because I need them to know that sometimes i might need help, and I don't want to scare them if/when that happens.

Hope this helps!