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April 26, 2001

Behavior

Question from Fairfield, Connecticut, USA:

As a mental health professional who is beginning treatment with a 12 year old girl with type�1 diabetes, and who has been diagnosed as having ADHD, can you guide me in the direction of information about the emotional aspects of being a preadolescent with diabetes?

Answer:

Young adolescents with diabetes face two major issues. They struggle with “being different” from others and they have the developmental task of breaking away from parental control. Diabetes complicates both of these areas. ADHD in the mix makes for a confusing soup! Fortunately, there are many more books about the psychosocial issues around chronic disease management than there used to be. In particular, there are books dealing specifically with children and their unique needs. This site offers reviews of many of these books. One of my favorites is Grilled Cheese at Four O’Clock in the Morning because it is written from a child’s point of view. Also, a searching the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Diabetes Association websites should yield publications that would help you out a lot. At least your client is 12 — age 14 is much more complex!

CMB