Our family moved in 2001. As a result of the move the kids transferred to a new school. Kurtis was living with diabetes for just under one year. In his previous school the acceptance & understanding of staff & children with his diabetes was great.
Within weeks of his new adventures of being a 3rd Grader in his new school, Kurtis informs me he can’t make friends. “Why?”, I ask. “They point at me and laugh. The kids are telling other kids if they touch me they will get diabetes.”
Within days I receive a phone call from his teacher. She asks if I will come in & speak with the class. She tells me the same story Kurtis has just days before. She wants the class to learn about diabetes. She is concerned that the misinformation being discussed among his peers will lead to long-term issues. She is concerned for Kurtis’ well being. Ms. Maker explains she feels I will make an impact because I live with diabetes as well. They will see me as a Mom who is a nurse, I have friends & I have a daughter that doesn’t have diabetes. I agree & start planning how I will speak to the children about this.
The main myth to displace was reassuring them that Kurtis didn’t get his diabetes from touching me. My plan was to think like a 7 & 8-year-old.
Word for word I can’t tell you what I said or how I said it. It was a little less than 12 years ago. I do remember sitting in a chair with the kids sitting on the floor around me. They had a lot of questions. I kept it simple. Kurtis was pleased & so proud his Mom went in to talk with the kids about his diabetes. It helped with them being more social with him. He was not gawked at as much. But making friends continued to be an issue until Grade 5.
Look for my Blog tomorrow on what happened that caused the children to respect Kurtis and his diabetes.