It is not easy to be preteen or teenager with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The Berrie Center team knows this and offers a series of workshops for young people, where they can talk about dealing with their diabetes in a safe setting. After facilitating a recent, 90-minute group, social worker Diana Cory said:
“In their everyday lives, these teens rarely know other young people who understand what it means to take care of diabetes and the stress that it puts on them. When they are able to spend time with others they can just be themselves, and be kids. Belonging is a vital component of their development as human beings and contributes to their overall self-esteem and confidence.”
After introductions, Diana asked the group “to name a super power” and how they would use it in their daily lives. “I wanted the group to see how they can connect with their powerful selves, because they don’t always know how,” said Diana.
“My superpower would be teleportation so that I could get to school really easily,”
In one of the exercises, Diana asked the group to write down on paper three feelings that they had experienced that day and why they felt that way.
“Frustration—when I do everything right, and my blood sugar is still high"
“Happy—when my blood sugar is low enough to have juice, but not so low that I feel bad"
Lastly, each group member decorated a piece of a floor puzzle made of foam board with an expression and or image about life with diabetes:
“I want to be cured, not managed”
"I have diabetes, diabetes doesn't have me"
Said Diana: “When the kids were done decorating puzzle pieces, they had to figure out how to put it together—the idea being, they came in as individuals and left as a cohesive group.”
The next teen workshop will be held on April 6 and all Berrie Center preteens and teens are welcome. Click here for details.