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Diabetes Self-Care:

Overview of Skills My Child Needs to Learn to be Independent

We all know that eventually our T1D child needs to be able to complete diabetes self-care tasks for themselves. But how do we hand over that baton? The first step is identifying the concrete skills that we need to teach them.

This breakdown is an outline of skills to consider when handing diabetes care over to your child. Each page provides a checklist of skills that give you an opportunity to consider whether your child/teen can – and will – independently do all of the following tasks related to that skill. If you answer “no” to a certain step, that could become a teaching target to move your child towards independence.

Specific diabetes self-care skills may fall under one of the following areas:
(Click on a title to learn more.)

Blood Glucose Monitoring and Results

  1. The Physical Process
  2. Treating Lows
  3. Correcting Highs

Delivering Insulin (via syringe, insulin pen, or pump)

  1. The Physical Process
  2. Determining the correct timing of insulin (when to deliver for optimal control)
  3. Adjusting Insulin Dosages

Insulin Pump Management: (applicable only to Insulin Pump users)

  1. Inserting Infusion Sets
  2. Replacing Cartridges/Reservoirs
  3. Responding to Insulin Pump Error Messages

Carbs and Exercise

  1. Counting Carbs
  2. Adjusting for Exercise

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.

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