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Students with diabetes adjust to college life

Discussion in 'Parents of College Kids and Young Adults with Type' started by Ellen, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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  2. leeannthill

    leeannthill Approved members

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    That's a really good article, Ellen. They're fortunate to have that support group. I wish there had been something like that in place at my college when I was there. Too many kids fall off the diabetes map when they go to college.
     
  3. MamaC

    MamaC Approved members

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    Can you expound on that? I have a rising college freshman.
     
  4. obtainedmist

    obtainedmist Approved members

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    Mine will be off to college this fall too! Any tips for keeping this from occuring??
     
  5. OSUMom

    OSUMom Approved members

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    I don't know if there are studies or what? My son happened to meet another guy with type 1 down his hallway as a freshman. Both of them did well. Without underlying issues of severe depression, it has always been my belief that our kids want to remain healthy even more than we want that for them. :cwds:

    Wishing Tom (and you) all the best in his upcoming transition. Best wishes to Molly and mom too!!
     
  6. leeannthill

    leeannthill Approved members

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    Just to qualify, plenty of kids do just fine in college, so "falling off the diabetes wagon" is not any kind of inevitability. I don't have any statistics to quote, but I think chances are good that if your kid hasn't had any significant diabetes burnout in high school that they're more likely to do OK in college. Still, it was my personal experience and I've heard from a fair number of others that diabetes management in college doesn't always take as much priority as a parent would like. The schedule isn't particularly structured, and not all kids adapt to that as well as others. The food isn't as structured, and usually isn't as healthy or balanced as it is at home. Plus, all of the things that can be issues for every kid are issues for D kids - drugs, alcohol, finding the right group of friends, stress of being more independent, relationships and sex.

    I think like OSUMom suggests, knowing others with T1 at school can make a big difference, but some kids are more private about their diabetes than others.

    I think being communicative and as nonjudgmental as possible, so that if your kid does start to have any kind of issues, whether it's D issues, or other issues that might affect their management, they feel like they can come to you. If you already have relationships like that with your kids, that's also going to be in everyone's favor.

    I didn't mean to be all doom and gloom, but it is a rough time because it's a huge adjustment, and there are a lot of pitfalls that have to be negotiated. They might be adults legally, but they're still kids, and kids don't always make awesome choices. It makes diabetes management vulnerable, and I think it's good for parents to be prepared to deal with the kinds of diabetes problems that might arise in the midst of one of the most significant transitions in life.

    Unfortunately, my mom didn't do well with my diabetes management once I got to be about 13 years old, and by the time I was 14, it all started to go to hell. By the time I got to college, I was already a D train wreck, so I fell into just about every pitfall. I was lucky I made it out of college alive. If things had been better for me before I went to college, I think college would have gone a lot better for me, diabetically speaking.
     
  7. Stacey Nagel

    Stacey Nagel Approved members

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    [That's a really good article, Ellen. They're fortunate to have that support group. I wish there had been something like that in place at my college when I was there. Too many kids fall off the diabetes map when they go to college.]
    Jesse has been talking to the disabilities office at his Univ, and wants to start a D support group... just isnt sure how.......
     
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    Stacey, Jesse should speak with Nicole Johnson - she's been helpful starting a couple at Universities in Florida.
     
  9. Phyllis

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    Adjusting to college life

    I would like to hear some advice from students and parents who have had success in adjusting to college life. My Grandson will be going to college in the fall.
     
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    One of the first things we did, was establish a relationship with an endo on campus. He went to his first appointment during orientation - and has gone for the quarterly appointments ever since. I think that has helped. He was willing to sign a form so I could communicate with the endo's office so we could handle prescriptions, etc. Anytime I wrote to the end via email, I cc'd my son.

    Be sure to get all emergency numbers put into his cell phone, endo's number, local hospital #, and taxi cab number.

    If there are support groups - that would be great.

    I would also encourage young adults to join the diabetes online community - lots of support there, many people supporting one another with the emotional aspects as well as the day to day tasks.
     
  11. kgerrick

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    Re: Adjusting to College

    Ellen, thank you for posting this article. I am new to this as my daughter was just diagnosed at age 13 on 5/19/2011. It was a shock as I am sure you know. We are doing well adjusting to our new normal life. I have been reading "Think like a Pancreas" and coming onto this website for info. I know that she wants to go to college and has talked about it often in the last year. Now I am very glad to see this article because it will help me to help her through this adjustment. I know we have plenty of time, but we all know how time flies!! It is just good to be aware in order to be as prepared as possible. Thank you again!

    Kristen
     
  12. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    Kristen, you're proactive and in good company here on the forums...never have to feel alone on this journey - even though it can be difficult at times. We're all in it together. Our roles change as our children grow older and for that the forums/connections are also helpful.
     
  13. kgerrick

    kgerrick Approved members

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    Thank you Ellen!
    This so wonderful to be able to talk to people who know. I couldn't fall back to sleep last night though I tried with all my might! So now I will be off to work and I am exhausted! :( Hope you have a good day! Thanks again.
     
  14. lisalotsamom

    lisalotsamom Approved members

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    Great article, Ellen :)

    You know from talking to me (thanks so much for helping!) when our eldest was diagnosed over a year ago, that I was pretty much a nervous wreck about sending him back to college a week after his D dx. I basically had one week to prepare myself to send a diabetic kid 7 hours away, and I had always thought that was more than a decade away, since Tessa was in 1st grade at the time.

    Kevin hadn't even had any hypo's at that time....he had his first low as I was driving home from FSU, lol. He was dx during spring break, and missed a week of classes, then I went with him back to help get him settled.
    Some things I did to make it easier:
    Found a local pharmacy, with CVS and Walgreens everywhere, this was easy and they can refill prescriptions at any of their stores.

    I got a bin with drawers to organize all of his D supplies. He was new to all of this, so that made it more challenging, and the whole routine was a learning experience for him at the time.

    I made emergency charts with sx of hypo's and hyperglycemia, and what to do for each. Also had a sheet with our contact #'s and his endo's #, and made a lot of copies. He lived in a frat house, so I gave copies to his suitemate, several guys in the frat, taped one to his door, and gave his girlfriend one. I also gave his girlfriend and best friend extra glucagon kits and a meter, strips, and glucotabs. I did a little inservice and taught them how to use the glucagon (with old, expired kits we had from Tessa) if needed.

    He never did register with the office of disability, but had the paperwork, just didn't get it done and didn't end up needing it.

    For those of you sending a child with D to college for the first time ((((hugs)))) I know how nervous I was. I'd recommend making sure the RA in the dorm knows about your child's D and knows what to do in an emergency...also giving the roommate and suitemates emergency information as well. We didn't get an endo in the college town, but only had one semester left to go before graduation, and Ellen was fantastic and gave me the # of one that we could have used if needed.

    Now Kevin is graduated and living back home, starting to work and save up some money for a place of his own.
     

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