Jerry the Bear—A Comforting Companion for Children with Type 1 Diabetes

 

Today my twin brother and I turned 27! Not only were we born 27 years ago, but Riley Hospital for Children saved my life all those years ago as well. Without them and the grace of God I would not be here celebrating another year. Okay, now onto this months blog post…

Jerry the BearA little while back I made a post titled “A Doll Just Like Me.” In that post I talked about having different types of dolls for those with different forms of disabilities. This post goes along the same lines, only for those with type 1 diabetes.

As a child, we want sweets and we want to eat all our Halloween candy in one night or eat that big piece of birthday cake on our birthday. Right!? What child doesn’t like to do that? Children who have diabetes can’t. Those who have diabetes can’t go out and eat a large Oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen or eat all their Halloween candy at once. However, if they know in advance that they will be eating something high in sugar or carbs they can plan for this and give themselves an extra shot of insulin.  Most times however, they cannot just eat a lot of carbs and sugars. They must be able to keep track of their glucose levels and carbohydrates and recognize their symptoms.

As many as three million Americans have type 1 diabetes, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). About 15,000 children and 15,000 adults are diagnosed each year. Approximately 15 percent of Americans with type 1 diabetes are children.

How do children who suffer from type 1 diabetes cope with their condition? Learn about their glucose levels? Learn about the proper amount of carbs and everything else that goes with having diabetes?

Sproutel creates interacting teaching toys for children who are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Jerry the Bear is the first toy that is made by this company. Jerry is a cuddly teddy bear who has type 1 diabetes. This bear teaches children how to manage a healthy diet, check their glucose levels and recognize their symptoms.  As children keep Jerry healthy, they unlock Sproutel modular diabetes curriculum – a series of 21 animated storybooks depicting Jerry training for the All-Star Games.

Jerry the bear 1In 2014, Jerry the Bear was sold to 4% of children newly diagnosed and made it into 25% of pediatric endocrinologist offices in the US (Spoutel.com). Jerry the Bear has gone over intense makeovers over the past couple of years and has made a great impact on those children who have Type 1 Diabetes.

For ages 4-9+

https://www.jerrythebear.com/ (Link to buy Jerry the Bear)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFwCigfzaak (video)

One Year Blog Anniversary!

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Hard to believe that I have been blogging for an entire year! On July 6, 2016, I began blogging. I had no idea where the blog was going to go and not to mention the countless questions that were going through my head. Would I have enough topics to last a while? Would I have a large audience?  Would people like my blog post? My blog has been mostly about Child Life, but I look forward to making a post or two about my book series that I have written, my faith and a few other topics.

As a year, has come and gone, I would like to take a moment to look back on some past blog post. I have blogged about different types of organizations: Little Wish Foundation and Child Mind Institute. I have blogged about Child Life Month, toys based on diagnosis and explaining death to a child and more! However, my favorite blog post so far is when I accepted a child life practicum this past fall.

Each of my posts has taught me that there are different needs for families, patients, bloggers and for myself. While this blog may be for my own enjoyment and to spread awareness for Child Life, I hope that I am inspiring someone to seek the best career path for them. I hope I am helping a family or patient who may have diabetes or have a prosthetic leg (A Doll Just Like Me post). Whatever the reason may be, I hope that I continue to encourage and inspire students, patients and families alike.

As I look forward to yet another year of blogging, I anticipate what will happen with my blog and also with my journey as a child life student.

Until next time!

 

Wants and Needs: In the Child Life Field (a students point of view)

 

 

 

needs and wantsHi everyone! Sorry I haven’t updated this month. Been busy with Vacation Bible School this week at my church. This post is going to be a little different from the norm. Normally, I talk about a certain type of toy for a particular diagnosis, a worthy cause for children or what have you, but this post is about wants and needs.

We all have wants and needs and we all want to see these things fulfilled. These can be from wanting to put a down payment on a house or you may need a second job. For me, I want and need a child life internship. This fits into both categories for two reason. Reason one, I need a child life internship in order to graduate from my college. At this very moment, my internship is the ONLY course I have left to take. I would like to say that again: my internship is the ONLY course I have left to take in order to graduate with a degree in Child Life. I feel like so many people do not understand that little sentence. I have had people that go to school with me be like “So can you graduate now? You have your internship for child development and family studies can you graduate?” If I go ahead and graduate and then get an internship for child life, I have to put in an EXTRA 30-32 credit hours along with the internship. Therefore that is why I have decided to hang on and fight out the storm until I get an internship. I also need an internship to sit for the certification exam. For those who are Certified Child Life Specialist or even a student, know that you need an internship in order to get to the next step and that is the exam.

Reason two, I want this internship so I can become a Certified Child Life Specialist. I want to teach children that their illness doesn’t define them, but they define themselves.

While I understand that becoming a CCLS has become extremely competitive it doesn’t have to be. If hospitals could take more than one intern it would help so many students and set them on the right path. Because some students may not get the help that is needed from their school.

 

“Life is tough darling, but so are you.”

Stephanie Bennett Henry

 

Until next time!

Speak Up for Kids—The Child Mind Institute

 

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As most of you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As we press on with May this health awareness month keeps finding ways to help spread mental health awareness. For instance, The Child Mind Institute has done just that.

The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. A team of medical professionals work every day to provide the best and the highest care to those children and their families who are struggling with a mental condition.

Of the 74.5 million children in the United States, an estimated 17.1 million have or have had a mental health disorder — more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. Half of all mental illness occurs before the age of 14, and 75 percent by the age of 24 (The Child Mind Institute).

The Child Mind Institute is driven to create brighter futures for children who suffer from a mental or learning disability. The three commitments are as followed:

    1. Give these children access to the best, most effective treatments when and where they need it most

      2.  Advance the science of the developing brain to improve diagnosis and treatment

    3. Provide useful, accurate information that empowers families and communities to get help

Each year the institute creates a theme for mental health month. This year it is “Speak Up for the Kids.” This campaign has several celebrities speaking about their own mental conditions and what they have done to overcome it and what they would tell their younger self.  Over the course of 31 days’ individuals have or will video tapped themselves and give advice and what has actually gotten them through some hard times.

….

Fun fact: I have a learning disability. Not many know this, but I thought I should share it. So many who suffer from a learning disability live normal and productive lives. They can do anything that someone who doesn’t have a disability can do.

Growing up I knew I wanted to go to college and work in a children’s hospital. I have known this since I was eight years old. Most recently be a Child Life Specialist in a children’s mental health hospital/unit. Having this goal in mind, I barreled though my studies as a student. My learning disability has really gotten me to where I am today. I have never given up on the dream that I set for myself all those years ago…and do not intend to.

During my college years, I met many who had a mental condition. Some were like mine a learning disability and some were more server, but we were all at college for one sole purpose. TO GET A GOOD EDUCATION and to graduate with the degree at which we all sought. I have successfully earned my Associate’s in Child Development and I work vigorously to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with concentrations in: Child Development, Child Life, Family Studies and a minor in Psychology. All I have left to complete my studies is a child life internship. I also have written two book series and have been published.

I tell people that my disability doesn’t define me, but I define my disability. No matter what type of illness someone may have, whether it be a physical or a mental illness know that you can live a productive life. Just because you have some kind of condition does not mean you have to let it take over. Also, remember that you are not alone. There are other’s out there—celebrities that have mental conditions like you and that they are not ashamed of who they are:

  • Emma Stone
  • Michael Phelps
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Howie Mandell
  • Jay Leno
  • Patty Duke

Just to name a few. Know that you are not alone.  You are an overcomer and you can face anything that life throws at you.

Below you will find a link to the child mind institute:

https://childmind.org/

Until next time!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

 

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“Bipolar Disorder can be a great teacher. It’s a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life.”

                                                                              — Carrie Fisher

May is national mental health awareness month. Yay! (says the girl who wants to be a child life specialist in a children’s mental health hospital/ unit someday). I think it is great that mental health conditions are being recognized. We always talk about cancer and what we can do to prevent it or donate money so we can find a cure. While this is good, I think that it is important to help find a cure for mental conditions as well.

Mental Health Awareness Month (also referred to as “Mental Health Month”) has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.

World Health Organization (WHO) says that 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological conditions at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Those who suffer from a mental health condition need to have a proper coping technique to go along with their treatment. They need to have a support system and take proper medication.

Not only do adults suffer from mental conditions, but children do as well. Nearly 5 million children in the U.S. have some type of serious mental illness. In any given year, 20% of American children will be diagnosed with a mental illness (WebMD). I believe that a child’s illness doesn’t define them, but they define themselves.

Do you know someone who has a mental condition and needs help? Urge them to seek help and show them support during the tough times. Show them you care by being there for them during the good and bad times.

Until next time!