“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
I received a phone call this morning regarding raising awareness for Diabetes. Living with a person with diabetes in our home, obviously we are pretty aware that this is a disease that can rob the person of so many things and it might creep up on a person if they are not aware of the symptoms.
We are all surrounded in one way or another by conditions, illness, diseases that have impacted a relative, friend or loved one. What are we doing about it? Do you know how to treat it, how to care for a person with this condition, how it will impact their life now and in the future?
As a parent of a young adult with Down syndrome and type I diabetes, we have tried to create awareness within the school, her Girl Scout troop, her dance school, her job and pretty much anywhere we go. There are materials and information available from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) I asked the teachers if I could come into the classroom and talk about what Down syndrome is. For kids, one of the things they most asked is if it was contagious, how it happened, and how it made Adriana different. Once they knew what it was, they were ready to make friends with her.
When she got diagnosed with diabetes, we did the same thing with her teachers, classmates and the staff at school. The school nurses were a great help about educating the staff. I requested some training materials from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and again asked the teacher if I could go into the classroom and share what Diabetes was, the symptoms etc. Some of her classmates said they knew someone with diabetes in their home.
A situation that often concerns me is when a child with a disability or disease is not aware of their own situation. We want our children to become their own advocates, to be able to look at the doctors, teachers, or other adults and say: “no more”, “this is what I need”, “Thank you but I cannot eat that” or like my beautiful friend Titanium Amy told her mom: “I don’t want all those people in my hospital room!” Empower them with the self advocacy skills to take care of themselves for that time when you no longer can or they want to do it themselves.
So how will you shed light on the issues you want people to be aware of?
National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) – http://www.ndss,org
National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) – http://www.ndsccenter.org/
American Diabetes Association (ADA) – http://www.diabetes.org/
Diabetes Foundation JDRF – http://diabetesfoundation.jdrf.com/info/jdrf/
Titanium Amy blog – https://titaniumamyblog.wordpress.com/