Red Deer youth dealing with Type 1 diabetes are welcome to join their peers at the eXtreme Diabetes Talk every second month.
The group talks are meant for youth ages 12 – 18 and never have a set direction for the conversation. Topics discussed are entirely based on the questions asked by the kids.
“Whatever comes up, that is what we will talk about,” said Lorelei Domaschuk, program manager for the Diabetes Education Centre.
Some of the topics that have been discussed since the group started in November include healthy eating, body image and self-esteem, sports and exercise, coping skills, insulin pumps and diabetes and driving.
The group sometimes sees speakers who live with Type 1 diabetes. One such speaker is a world traveller and an extreme sports participant who explained how he keeps control of his diabetes while living his adventurous life.
The group has consisted of upwards to a dozen youth, many of which have become regular participants in the discussion.
“We’ve had good parent response and the parents are very appreciative for the group that it is available. They keep bringing their kids back.”
Two nurses, a registered psychiatric nurse and a certified diabetes educator attend each of the meetings to respond to concerns and answer questions.
The meetings are supposed to be 2.5 hours long but Domaschuk says they are pressed to be completed in less than three hours.
“We have had a very interesting dynamic where some kids come in and start out very quiet and by the end of the evening are animated and returning to other meetings.”
Starting the program had been a suggestion for about three years, said Domaschuk.
“It was an identified need for this age group. They don’t want to just talk to their parents, so this need has been long on the table.”
In the local community there are about 135 children with diabetes, but some may attend clinics in Edmonton or Calgary and would not be accounted for in this number.
The next meeting will be in July. For more information, call 1-877-314-6997 and for more information on diabetes visit www.diabetes.ca.