Diabetes is a common disease which affects adults and kids, but over the last decade it has continued to affect more and more children at a higher rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) over 151,000 people under the age of 20 suffer form some form of diabetes. “When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes,” states the CDC website, “However, in the last 2 decades, type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency.” European studies have also shown an increase in the type 1 diabetes in young children.
Diabetes affects the whole family. Parents and siblings of kids with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes must make lifestyle adjustments that support healthy eating, exercise and careful, consistent disease management. Parents must make detailed arrangements when kids affected by diabetes are attending school, traveling for vacation, visiting friends or involved in extracurricular activities. The American Diabetes Association even has online resources for kids and parents to educate families about the disease and provide support.
Special Needs Summer Camps Teach Kids to Manage and Live with Diabetes
Summer camps provide kids of all ages the opportunity to experience outdoor adventures, sports, art, music, dancing, acting, technology, science, math and other educational programs. Girls and boys alike get to explore a variety of activities and discover what inspires and motivates them. Parents and families dealing with diabetes can also choose to send kids to summer camps specializing in diabetes and other chronic illnesses. In the United States and Canada there are many special needs summer camps offering camps especially for kids with diabetes, asthma, cancer and other disabilities. Diabetes programs not only provide traditional camp activities like swimming, horseback riding, sports, art, acting, drama, dance and music, they also help children living with diabetes learn to be independent and maintain good health in any situation.
Online Resources for Kids with Diabetes
There are many organizations and online resources currently available to assist families learning to function with childhood diabetes as part of daily life.
Children with Diabetes (www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/)
National Diabetes Education Program (ndep.nih.gov/)
American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org/)
CDC Diabetes Public Health Resource (www.cdc.gov/diabetes/)
The Challenge of Diabetes (www.challengeofdiabetes.com/)
Family physicians also generally provide educational support for families and kids touched by this illness. Always consult a doctor with any questions when creating a plan to manage childhood diabetes.