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November 20, 1999


Question from Fort Collins, Colorado, USA:

My daughter, age 7, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 4 weeks ago. She is claiming low blood sugar each time she doesn't want to do an actively at school. She is trying to get all of her friends to feel sorry for her, and her friends have seen the kids' video on diabetes and are tired of hearing about it. How long will this last? What can her teachers and we, her parents do? Is there any research or reading we can do on this subject?


If the adults surrounding a newly diagnosed child become frantic at the mention of a low blood sugar, then it doesn’t take a smart child long to learn how to manipulate his/her world with diabetes. I actually had a patient who convinced the school personnel that she was supposed to “take a walk” everyday during the class she hated the most. I had to go to the school to straighten it out!

It isn’t that kids are bad — just smart. So my suggestion would be to discuss the inadvisability of “crying wolf,” and start doing fingersticks each time a low is suggested. It isn’t wise to let this go on for very long — act now!