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September 8, 2007


Question from Rochester, Minnesota, USA:

Our son with type 1, diagnosed 10 years ago, will be turning 18 in August 2007. He is not ready to "face the world" on his own emotionally or mentally. Can you recommend any transitional type camps or facilities which may help him in becoming more independent?


All of the diabetes summer camp programs would be worth checking out. Camp Needlepoint is in Minnesota. There is an extensive listing of camps on our web site. It would also be helpful to address this specifically with your diabetes treatment team as they may know of other local resources, counseling etc.

Additional comments from Debbie Butler, MSW, LICSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker:

I do not know if any programs in your area but we have a great program in Massachusetts at our diabetes camp called Life After High School. Life After High School takes place in the spring and it is for 16 to 19 year olds that are getting ready to finish high school. We also have a program at the Joslin in Boston called the “Do-It Program” (Diabetes Outpatient Intensive Treatment Program) that runs year round, but, two times a year, the Do-It program is just for young adults. We have a young adult Do-It group that is happening the week of August 13th, and the next one will most likely be in January.

Also, I wanted to say that based on my experience working with teens and young adults that are over 18, they still may need help managing their diabetes even though they are legally an adult. Diabetes is a very challenging disease to manage, especially during adolescence, so I think teens and young adults can continue to benefit from parental support with diabetes.

Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:

How about volunteering at diabetes camp and being a counselor? Many young people have found this really opens new insights and doors for them. He might want to stay at home and go to a vocational-technical school or two year college and get his feet on the ground.

Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:

For the past several years, we have had a summer program through our Young Adult Diabetes Clinic where we speak to issues of transition as young adults go off on their own. These seminars focus on issues that need to be mastered as part of living independently with diabetes. You may look around and see if there are regional talks at your local hospital or through a local diabetes educator. I don’t know of any formal class or camp that is scheduled for this.