The Type 1 diabetes supportive services program offered through the School of Social Work is beginning its second year. Social work graduate students volunteer to mentor Type 1 diabetic students as they confront the psychosocial struggles that often accompany the disease.
“It’s a total disruption of what your life was like prior to being diagnosed,” said Darrell Jordan, associate professor of social work and program adviser.
The group is geared toward children with diabetes and their parents and siblings. It meets the second and fourth Monday of every month at Hillcrest Church of Christ. Between 12 and 14 kids, ages 6 to 15, participate in the group meetings.
“The kids basically get to write their own story – what they understand diabetes to be and how it has affected their life,” said Katy Bruce, social work graduate student from Abilene.
Students use play therapy to help children express their fears about their chronic illness. Narrative therapy and drawing are two of the activities students use to helpÂ express their concerns. The children will write picture books about their struggles with diabetes. After the children’s books are finished, they will be published and distributed for newly diagnosed children to read.
“We would like to invite other college students who are living with Type I diabetes to come out and participate in our supportive services program,” said Jordan.
“I talk to the parents about what their kids are going though from an adult’s perspective, like from the middle,” said Sarah Ray, sophomore management major from Olney, “I help them realize what their kids are feeling because I’ve been there.”
Sarah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six years ago. She attends meetings and answers parents’ questions about possibilities their children’s future.
“I don’t want to say it’s not a big deal, because it doesn’t come and go. It’s something we have to deal with everyday, but it doesn’t keep us from doing anything,” said Sarah.