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New Pumper with Fears of School

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by justice1315, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. justice1315

    justice1315 Approved members

    Jun 11, 2013
    My 9 yo daughter has been pumping for about a month now, and has done amazingly well with everything. Her numbers have improved drastically, and I really didn't think she had any issues with it... Last night she broke down crying, telling me that she is really afraid of going to school with the pump because she thinks people will make fun of her. I talked with her and tried to explain that realistically, kids will be more interested in knowing what exactly it is... but I also know that there are just some mean kids out there.. sad reality. Last year she was MDI, so nobody really ever saw her test or give herself shots (done in office).

    My question is.. anyone who has had a child in this age range ever deal with their children being worried about the pump at school?
  2. Sarah Maddie's Mom

    Sarah Maddie's Mom Approved members

    Sep 23, 2007
    Depending on the child's personality you can either:
    1. Go in and give a talk to the class
    2. Have the teacher speak to the class about not touching the pump and that it's just like a pair or reading glasses, a medical tool
    3. Arm your child with answers to questions or comments that might come up.

    I'd take my cues on what to do from my kid.

    If there is curiosity, it won't last - a week into school and 99% of the kids will lose interest.:cwds:
  3. Debdebdebby13

    Debdebdebby13 Approved members

    Dec 15, 2011
    My DD is a little younger at 7, but she was just really matter of fact about it. She never tried to hide anything, answered any questions the other kids had to the best of her ability and went on about her day. I think it helped that her diabetes just WAS, it wasn't something to hide or stress about. They saw her pods on her arms all the time and got very used to it.

    When I would come to school for parties the kids were really open about it and would ask me questions they had and they never seemed upset by it or scared, just curious.

    She had one irritating kid who said something rude to her once, but that kid is pain in every way possible and she knows it so ignores him pretty well.

    Basically the more normal she treats it, the more normal everyone else will treat it.
  4. StacyMM

    StacyMM Approved members

    Oct 22, 2010
    This ranks as DD's most annoying thing to deal with. Everyone asks about the pump - kids on the playground, people at baseball games, other parents at practice. To them, it's just one question but to a kid it's getting asked the exact same question a million times. And, I'll be honest, DD wasn't exactly friendly about sharing info. She was just so annoyed. We really practiced responses and now she just rattles off one of our canned responses and moves on. When DS was diagnosed, we did the same thing before he went back to school and it made him less anxious. Not the answer for all kids, I'm sure, but it helped mine to have a better idea of what to say. They typically say, "it's my insulin pump" when asked what it is and "I have diabetes" if asked why they are doing something. Sometimes there is a followup but usually those two answers take care of every question. The next most common is "what is diabetes?" and their most common answer is "my pancreas is broke."

    I really thing that attitude makes the most difference, though. If the kid wearing the pump doesn't seem to care, the other kids are less interested.

    Another thing that helped with DS (at diagnosis but I could see it working for a pump, too) was to expose his friends to it first, just 1 or 2 at a time. We had several kids over to play over break and casually had snacks. The kids were fascinated when he checked his blood and amazed when he got a shot. He was worried about teasing but the kids were seriously impressed with him. That gave him a lot more confidence about going to school. Maybe you can plan some get-togethers with a few close friends from school and let her show off her pump? Or buy some incredibly cool skins or packs to make it look fabulous?
  5. Austins mom

    Austins mom Approved members

    Jan 4, 2013
    my son is 7 and was diagnosed right before christmas in 2012. He has been pumping since jan 2013 and we have found that he is actually really proud of himself for what he has overcome... A fear of needles that makes alot of grown ups cringe :cwds: That boy is great! His friends were really interested so his teacher suggested that he share with the class, how to check his bs, and explain why to never wipe it on someone or thing, how the meter reads and how is insulin is delivered! He felt like a teacher and was so proud. Now, hes ready and confident to face 2nd grade!
  6. hawkeyegirl

    hawkeyegirl Approved members

    Nov 15, 2007
    My son is 9, and we've never had a problem. I think it helps that he's very open and matter of fact about it all. I'm not sure it has ever occurred to him that it's something that someone WOULD make fun of. To him, it would be like someone making fun of him for having brown eyes or something.

    He changed schools this year, and I told his teacher that I would leave it up to him what he wanted the other kids to know. He chose to get up in front of the class and tell them all about diabetes. I am not surprised, as he loves to be the center of attention, no matter the reason.

    I do think that kids are more likely to think it is something TO tease someone about if the child with D tries to hide it or won't answer any questions about it. It's why I've always been glad that Jack is open about it. And frankly, the kids at his old school really couldn't have been less interested about it after the first few days. I'm sure it will be the same at his new school.
  7. quiltinmom

    quiltinmom Approved members

    Jun 24, 2010
    My DS gave a little speech to his class on the first day (or so) last year, and that helped a lot, but a lot of kids still had questions. He doesn't love the questions, but he deals with it. I try to remind him that people are just curious, just as he would be. They aren't making fun of him.

    For the most part, though, people don't see his pump unless he pulls it out to bolus. It fits in his pocket. I have even put button holes in a few of his pants pockets (mostly dress pants) so the tubing can even be hidden. It's not that I don't want people to know he has D, it's more because I don't want it getting caught on things when he has his shirt tucked in. I'm not sure how different it will be for a girl, though. Most kids don't really notice, though.

    And with the increase in kids having cell phones/electronics in their pockets, I bet people will just think it's a phone or something. But I can understand them not wanting to have to explain the whole thing to every curious passerby.

    I like the idea of preparing answers to questions so she'll know what to say and won't feel as uncomfortable about it. Most of the time a one line answer will satisfy people's curiosity. Mean kids pick on kids who are sensitive about things. IF she can act nonchalant or matter-of-fact about it, most likely they will leave her alone. (And if they don't you go to school administrators!)

    Good luck!
  8. dshull

    dshull Approved members

    Sep 24, 2012
    My son is 8 and was diagnosed last August. He had to go back to school just 4 weeks later. He was extremely nervous about going back to school and kids teasing him. To the point where he cried every day and begged not to go back. Heartbreaking.

    With his teachers support, I went into his classroom and read the class the book, Diabetes at School. It covers all the basics and includes pumps. It is a picture book and below most 9 year olds but it was very comprehensive. My son also demonstrated to the class how he checked his blood sugar and what getting a shot looked like. After that brief presentation, he felt a little like a Rock star. They could not believe he could prick his own finger and take a shot without screaming. And two days in, not one kid paid attention to his diabetes anymore.

    I'm not saying that this is the magic bullet because
  9. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    I read the kids a book and brought in a box full of all her supplies so they could see what things were and why she used them. They got to pass everything around and look at it. Once it was explained to them, the questions stopped.

    Only once in 8 years of having diabetes was she ever made fun of. This was by a kid with emotional problems. For him, it was normal to make fun of anyone who was different, not realizing he was just as different too. This was in 4th grade. My daughter had the courage to go to guidance and say "he said this, it isn't right. I want to sit down with him and have you watch what I want to say." I forsee a future as a diplomat for her:cwds:

    Seriously though, there will be questions in the beginning, but after a few days the novelty will wear off. Most kids forget that my daughter has diabetes because it's just part of the day.

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