Diabetes in children and young people

Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. The most common diabetes in children is Type 1 but they can develop Type 2 diabetes.

In children and young people, the most common symptoms of diabetes are known as the 4 T’s:

  • Toilet- Going to the toilet a lot for a wee; bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies; Getting up in the night to go to have a wee.
  • Thirsty- Being very thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst. A child may ask for drinks more often, finishing drinks very quickly or being drinking more than usual.
  • Tired- Feeling more tired than usual. Having less energy, not playing as much or having less energy for sport.
  • Thinner- Losing weight or looking much thinner than usual.

What to do if you think your child has diabetes 

If your child has any of the above signs or symptoms of diabetes, you should take them straight to the doctor and insist on a blood glucose test. If a quick and simple finger prick test indicates high blood sugar, your GP will refer your child to a specialist diabetes team or hospital and the test will be sent to the lab to diagnose diabetes.  

There are 2 main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Useful information and support

  • Diabetes Experience & Peer Support Groups

    We are putting together peer support groups for those under 18 with diabetes, to provide a safe space to come together, share feedback and ideas to help shape the service going forward.

    We are working with parents/guardians of children & young people with diabetes together to create peer support and feedback groups. This is to help facilitate a space where those who care for those children & young people with diabetes can share their thoughts and experiences.

    Lincolnshire NHS want to hear from children and young people about their experiences and views on the Diabetes services and technology available to them. This is key to ensuring the technology and services available are suited and available for all those that need it.

    How to get involved

    To get involved contact Aaron Hodgson at Voluntary Centre Services via: aaron@voluntarycentreservices.org.uk
    Tel: 07849 652895

  • Diabetes Ambassadors

    Ambassadors are 18+ year old young adults who have lived experience with Diabetes.

    They are key to group facilitation by ensuring the safety and well-being of the young people involved.

    How to get involved

    To get involved contact Aaron Hodgson at Voluntary Centre Services via: aaron@voluntarycentreservices.org.uk
    Tel: 07849 652895

  • Buddying Service (Type 1) - Information for Parents & Carers

    What is buddying?

    Buddying is the name we are giving our 1:1 peer support service for young people aged 11-15 living with type 1 diabetes. Young People who wish to take part in the buddying service will be paired with a Young Leader who will be able to offer them a unique and informal approach to peer support. We want to connect them with someone who understands what they might be experiencing away from a clinical setting, as we know they can be tricky to share openly in. Our team of passionate Young Leaders are DBS checked and extensively trained peer support leaders. They have a wide variety of lived experience with type 1 diabetes and will be a role model figure for the young person they are buddying. They will have check ins/chats either online or face to face, which will be organised and regulated between the young person, their parent/carer and the Young Leader buddy. Not to mention, the Young Leader will be supported in delivering peer support by staff at Diabetes UK. We will have regular conversations with all parties to ensure appropriate and safe delivery of the buddying service.

    How often will the buddying check ins/chats be?

    We ask that as part of the buddying service the minimum requirement is for the young person and Young Leader to have 1 check in per month. However, this is the minimum requirement, how often they wish to check in will be decided by all parties.

    How will the Young Person be matched with the young leader that will be supporting them?

    The matching process for buddying will be as follows:

    We’d love to know if there are any particular goals you have for buddying or if there are any specific areas the young person would like support with, the young person’s interests and hobbies too – this will assist us in the matching process of the young person with one of our Young Leaders. Each of our Young Leaders have a personal profile, which the parent/carer and young person can read through to decide whether they think the buddy is suitable or not. Diabetes UK Youth Programme team staff can help you with selecting a Young Leader buddy based on our knowledge of the Young Leaders. The parent/carer and child/young person is welcome to have more than one introductory meeting with Young Leaders if they are unsure from a few options.

    1. An Introductory meeting will be set up so that the young person can meet the Young Leader. Our Youth Worker will facilitate this call with a parent/carer present to discuss the buddying service further with all parties. This will give the young person and Young Leader a chance to get to know each other and answer any questions you or the young person may have.

    2. Our Youth Worker will check in with both parties after this introduction meeting to check you are both happy to proceed with being paired for the buddying service.

    3. If everyone is happy to proceed, it will now be down to you, the young person, and the Young Leader to regulate your check ins, we can support you with this should you need it.

    4. Diabetes UK staff will check in with all parties on a monthly basis to ensure that everything is running smoothly for all involved.

    If there are any further questions you have about the buddying service, please contact us and we will try our best to support you.

    Lilly – Youth Worker

    Email- lilly.allen@diabetes.org.uk

    Mobile/Whatsapp – 07890415540

    Adam – Youth Coordinator

    Email: adam.mayze@diabetes.org.uk

    Mobile/Whatsapp: 07584886533

  • Buddying Service (Type 1) - Information for young people

    What is buddying?

    Buddying is a type of support that Diabetes UK are offering young people aged 11-15 living with type 1 diabetes through the Together Type 1 programme.

    You will be matched with a Diabetes UK Young Leader and have chats/check ins with them on a regular basis. You can decide the details of the check ins between you and your Young Leader buddy, with your parent/carers support.

    You can chat to them about anything you want advice about! They also live with type 1 diabetes and knows what it is like to be a young person with the condition. They are there to listen and support you in a friendly and relaxed way, we promise it will be nothing like a hospital appointment!

    How often will I chat to my Young Leader buddy?

    Your Young Leader buddy will check in with you at least once a month, but this is the minimum we ask for. So, you can meet up or have chats more regularly than this if you wish to, this will be for you both to decide! (Again, with the support of a parent/carer)

    What will we talk about?

    You will be able to chat to them about all things type 1 and not! Your Young Leader buddy will be happy to chat with you about diabetes and other things that are important to you.

    What’s in it for me?

    Having someone who understands what it is like to be a young person living with type 1 to talk to could help you in lots of ways. It can also be nice to talk to someone that is not a nurse or doctor, just another person juggling the ups and downs of life with type 1.  

    If there are any more questions you have about taking part in buddying, please speak to a parent or carer who can contact us for more information for you!

    Lilly – Youth Worker

    Email- lilly.allen@diabetes.org.uk

    Mobile/Whatsapp – 07890415540

    Adam – Youth Coordinator

    Email: adam.mayze@diabetes.org.uk

    Mobile/Whatsapp: 07584886533

  • DigiBete

    DigiBete is a free online service to support children and young people to manage their type 1 diabetes. The DigiBete App allows diabetes teams to send relevant information and resources about managing type 1 diabetes at home, allows patients to store insulin ratios safely as well as care plans, future appointments and essential help and resources, including access to over 200 type 1 diabetes films. Children and young people and their families can access DigiBete via their local paediatric diabetes teams.

    The 'Making Sense of Diabetes Technology' booklet has been made available on DigiBete and translated into 12 different languages.  For all resources, go to Multilingual Diabetes Tech Guides - DigiBete.

    T2DigiBete, a place to help young people, families and communities to manage Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Diabetes and benefits

    If you need insulin to manage diabetes then it is classed as a disability. Parents and carers of children with diabetes and some people with diabetes may be able to claim a disability benefit to check please visit the benefits page gov.uk.

    Parents or carers of a child with diabetes may be able to claim disability living allowance (DLA). If you decide to apply for DLA, you must wait until three months after your child’s diabetes diagnosis before sending in or submitting your claim form.

    Diabetes UK have some advice about claiming DLA Diabetes and benefits | Diabetes UK.

  • Healthy eating

    Useful links for information and advice on healthy eating:

    What is a healthy diet

    Healthy lunchbox ideas

    Handy Carbohydrate portion guide

    Sugar in food

    Tips for Food planning

    Vegan meal ideas

    Cultural Celebrations (Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christmas, Halloween)

  • Driving and diabetes

    For most people with diabetes, driving isn’t a problem, and they can hold a driving licence and carry on driving. Find out everything you need to know about diabetes and driving on the Diabetes UK website

  • Professionals

    Useful links for professionals:

    e-Learning for non-specialist health care professionals - Home | Diabetes UK CPD

    Schools programme- School pack which has a school guide and assembly plan and also an e-learning module for school staff.

    Schools e-learning | JDRF