American Diabetes Association Offers Free Educational Lesson Plan from PBS Flagship Station WGBH Boston to Support Children With Diabetes In Schools

Alexandria,
February 22, 2007

 The American Diabetes Association (ADA) today announced the availability of the new Arthur® Hooray for Health! Dealing with Diabetes lesson plan created by WGBH Boston. The materials feature Arthur, the world’s most famous aardvark, and are geared towards students in preschool through fourth grade.

The lesson plan seeks to educate teachers, after-school providers, school nurses, and students about diabetes, and offers a variety of fun activities and resources, including classroom activities and handouts, recommended books and Web sites, and family activity sheets in English and Spanish. WGBH worked in collaboration with the ADA and Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston to produce the lesson plan.

"There are many misconceptions about diabetes so it is important to inform educators and students about the medical needs of children with diabetes," said Larry C. Deeb, MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. "The lesson plan is a great complement to ADA’s existing activities, such as ADA’s ‘Safe at School’ campaign, in that it encourages greater understanding and support to help make school a safe, inclusive environment for students with diabetes and their families."

WGBH created the lesson plan as part of its well-respected Hooray for Health! series of curriculum units that focus on pediatric health issues. With Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Pediatrics at Joslin Diabetes Center, as medical advisor, the lesson plan was developed to provide a comprehensive educational opportunity around an Arthur television episode about healthy eating, entitled "Desert Island Dish," and the accompanying live-action segment ("And Now a Word from Us Kids") about diabetes management. The live-action segment features 11-year-old Corinne, who has type 1 diabetes. Corinne shares her experiences with glucose monitoring and shows viewers how she uses an insulin pump to manage her type 1 diabetes. She and her friends also whip up some healthy after-school snacks before heading outdoors to shoot some hoops. "Desert Island Dish" premiered nationwide on May 17, 2006 on PBS KIDS GO! and now repeats regularly throughout the year as part of the Arthur broadcast schedule. The live-action segment featuring Corinne can also be seen on the Arthur Web site at pbskidsgo.org/arthur/diabetes.

The lesson plan is available for free by contacting the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES or visiting Arthur Lesson Plans. It is also available on the Arthur Web site (pbskids.org/arthur/parentsteachers/lesson/health), along with a variety of other classroom and family resources related to the Arthur Hooray for Health! curriculum.

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children, affecting about 1 in every 400 to 600 young people under age 20. More than 13,000 youths are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually. In addition, health care providers are seeing more youth with type 2 diabetes, even though the disease is usually diagnosed in adults over age 40.

The care of a student with diabetes requires management 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For students with type 1 diabetes, and for some with type 2 diabetes, that means careful monitoring of their blood glucose (sugar) levels throughout the day and administering insulin. If today’s children with diabetes hope to avoid long-term complications such as heart disease, amputation, and blindness, they must have a supportive environment to help them take care of their diabetes throughout the school day and at school-sponsored activities.

In recent years, ADA has worked with families throughout the country to help them confront issues involving diabetes care in their schools. Among its efforts, ADA has:

  • Developed a plan to help parents, health care professionals, and others advocate on behalf of children with diabetes through a 4-step process: educate, negotiate and, when necessary, litigate and legislate to protect the safety of students with diabetes. More information
  • Developed sample 504 and diabetes care plans – a plan developed to meet the requirements of a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.  More information
  • Conducted school advocacy workshops through it Family Resource Network, diabetes camps, and conferences to educate parents and others about parents’ rights and about schools’ responsibilities to provide appropriate care to students with diabetes.
  • Provided a legal advocate to discuss a particular school or daycare problem. ADA also has established a network of volunteer lawyers to assist parents whose situations require litigation.

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH is the number one producer of Web sites on pbs.org, one of the most trafficked dot-org Web sites in the world. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who rely on captioning or video descriptions. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information visit www.wgbh.org.

Joslin Diabetes Center is the global leader in diabetes research, care and education. Founded in 1898, Joslin is an independent nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Joslin research is a team of more than 300 people at the forefront of discovery aimed at preventing and curing diabetes. Joslin Clinic, affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, is the world’s first and most respected diabetes care facility, offering expertise in all facets of diabetes and diabetes complications, including adult and pediatric diabetes and diabetes education, kidney disease, eye care, mental health and pregnancy. For many years Joslin’s Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section and the ADA have co-sponsored the Diabetes Education Program for School Nurses and other school personnel. Joslin Pediatrics provides kids, teens, young adults and families with diabetes with personalized support, age-appropriate guidance and research-proven care from a multidisciplinary team of pediatric and adolescent diabetes specialists. For more information about Joslin Pediatrics, call (617) 732-2603 or check out http://www.joslin.org/programs_for_kids_and_teens.html.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.