Back to school is stressful for families touched by diabetes, even without this year’s incredible and unique challenges. There’s a new service in development to help make it just a little easier to let someone else take care of your child. Bob Weishar is the founder of a new company called Invincible. We’ll find out more about what he hopes to do and how this teaching and communication tool might help.
In Tell Me Something Good.. graduations.. zip lining and sky diving!
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Stacey Simms :00
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Stacey Simms 0:23
This week, even in normal times back to school is stressful for families touched by diabetes. But there’s something new in development to help make it just a little bit easier to let somebody else take care of your child.
And when you’re trusting other people to do that, there’s bumps along the way. And I think that’s one of our goals is really to develop that trust with school with grandparents with other places that kids go so that families don’t need to worry so much and then kids can just go about their lives and have fun wherever they are.
Stacey Simms 0:52
That’s Bob Weishar, the founder of a new service called invincible. We’ll find out more about what he hopes to do and how this teaching and communication tool might help in Tell me something good graduations, zip lining and skydiving. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of the show. I’m so glad to have you along. If you are new, we aim to educate and inspire by sharing stories of connection. My son was diagnosed with type one right before he turned two. He is now 15. And like many of you, I have been back and forth and back and forth and up and down about school. I have a high school sophomore. That’s Benny and I have a college sophomore and I’ll talk about my daughter in just a moment and her plans. But boy school this year will look like nothing any of us have experienced before.
our school system as I am taping just changed the plans and I’m sure they will change again. But here’s what happened. We live in the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system Mecklenburg is our town County. This is an enormous school system with 150,000 kids. It’s geographically large. It’s a metropolitan city Charlotte with lots and lots of suburbs. I grew up just outside of New York City. And if you are from the northeast or probably other parts of the country, but definitely the Northeast, the school districts are tiny, right? They have a couple of thousand kids, maybe 10 15,000 kids, and then each town has their own system. We had the Yorktown school system where I grew up a couple of elementary schools, one or two middle schools and one high school. So you know, making decisions for a much smaller district, very different than making decisions for this gigantic one.
I was prepared to have a lot of patience to go along with the decisions made as long as I felt they were safe. And I knew they were gonna have lots and lots of options they had already been talking about this all summer about maybe hybrid maybe in person may be remote with the opportunity to opt out at any time. About a month ago, our school board announced the choices that they would be making. They had three plans a UBC a would be fully in person B would be hybrid c would be fully remote. And you also had a different option where you could opt into a Virtual Academy. And once you did that your child was online for the semester, no matter what the school decided to do, if they came back, if they went, it didn’t matter, you’re you were on line for the whole shebang. So we had to wait for the governor to decide what to do here in North Carolina. And once that option was made, our school district pulled the trigger on Plan B, but they called it B plus. And it was an option that hadn’t been on the table until that night. Basically, it was in person for two weeks, and then virtual for further notice. And what they wanted to do is see the kids they wanted you’d only go in for two days. During those two weeks that they wanted to see the kids they felt like they had lost track of some kids again, it’s a very large school district. They wanted to give the kids technology and just wanted to make sure that I guess kids weren’t being lost in the shuffle was what they said.
But just today, new ruling came no two weeks in school. That was the Not safe. We’re all virtual. So virtual until further notice in Charlotte Mecklenburg. And I’m telling you this long story to illustrate what you’re probably going through as well, so many different decisions, so many choices to be made. If your child is in a public school, or a charter school or private school, or you homeschool already, there’s nothing easy about this. I’m going to come back after the interview, and talk a little bit more about my daughter’s college plan, which I think is pretty amazing. And it’s I wish our municipality had this, I feel like she’s going to be safer there than even in our county. So I’ll talk about that towards the end of the show.
I feel like it’s such a difficult time right now. And we’re putting so much pressure on ourselves as parents. So before we jump into the interview, I just want to say two more things. One, if your child has a 504 or IEP, just remember, it’s still valid even if you’re in a virtual situation. I don’t know exactly what that looks like. It’s different kid to kids, certainly. But it is valid and I know that in our school district where they the plans are good for two years unless you want to make modifications. They will contact As the semester begins, so I know we’ll be having a conversation a couple of weeks into August or September school here starts in the middle of August, which is, again, very different from how I grew up or school starts after Labor Day, but your 504 or your IEP, they are good, regardless of how school is happening.
And the second part is deep breath. I was on a call recently with a teacher who lives with type one. So shout out to Rachel, and she told us and I want to pass this along to you, your child can always catch up on learning, but your child needs now is love, support, your confidence, your calmness, as calm as you can be, your child needs you to just be there to be supportive, to be helpful. And to help them get through a situation and you can be honest about it that nobody has faced, the grades will come back, the learning will come back. But if we could take a collective breath as a community and help our kids who already have so much on them, and we have so much on us with diabetes, I think really it’ll be so much easier to get through and when we’re finally through this month. We can see, okay, you need to learn this, you need to catch up on that. But we will not have sacrificed that love and that support. And if you are a teacher or school staff who decided to listen to this episode to see if you could learn something from it. I do the same thing to you. I say at the end of every episode, be kind to yourself, man. Oh, man, you gotta be under so much pressure right now. Be kind to yourself and let’s just get through this as best we can together.
Okay, invincible coming up. We’re going to be talking about this new program. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop, and One Drop is diabetes management for the 21st century. One Drop was designed by people with diabetes for people with diabetes. One Drops glucose meter looks nothing like a medical device. It’s sleek, compact, and seamlessly integrates with the award winning One Drop mobile app, sync all your other health apps to One Drop to keep track of the big picture and easily see health trends. And with a One Drop subscription you get unlimited test strips and lancets delivered right to your door. Every One Dropped plan also includes access to your own certified diabetes coach. questions but don’t feel like waiting for your next doctor visit. Your personal coach is always there to help could Diabetes connections.com and click on the One Drop logo to learn more.
How is the communication around your child’s school experience you text or email or get a printout? Maybe you already use a diabetes app to keep track of food and dosing and care and other issues. Well, my guest this week wants to help standardize that make it a lot easier. Bob Weishar was diagnosed with type one in college. He shares that story and a lot more and joined me to talk about invincible Bob. Thanks for coming on. I’m really interested to learn more but but what a time to be talking about schools. Thanks for spending some time with us.
Yeah, really happy to be here. All right,
before we get into any questions about this school year, and how different it is going to be because I think most parents already feel that way. And let’s just start what is invincible. Describe what this is all about.
Yeah, of course. So we started invincible really is our mission is to inspire kids with health issues. And we purposely picked a name that doesn’t have health in the title. Because really, we think that there’s a lot of opportunities that kids have with health issues to just live a normal life. But even more do do amazing things. And so, broadly speaking, that’s our mission, obviously, there’s a long way to go to reach that. And where we’ve actually started is, throughout the journeys that kids have is helping them in every stage. And so as kids grow up, we want to be able to help parents and their kids really grow. So we’ve actually started with schools and families as a place where kids spend most of their time when they’re not at home. And we’ve been working for the past 12 months or so to really work with schools work with families to develop a product that connects them throughout the day and ultimately gets better care for kids and the support that they need, especially for elementary aged kids
Stacey Simms 8:50
You were diagnosed as a college student though, and you don’t have children with type one. How did you come up with the idea to do something like this?
Bob Weishar 8:57
Yeah, it’s well, a long time in the making. I think I was So I was diagnosed as a freshman in college in, I mean, I got to see firsthand what it was like to be kind of away from home on my own trying to figure this out. Luckily, I didn’t go to the emergency room, I had kind of the symptoms I’m sure a lot of people have around just being alive and drink a lot of water, losing weight for college freshman was a weird thing. So that kind of took me off. But really, once I was diagnosed, went through all the struggles that I think families and lots of people go through when they’re first diagnosed around just learning the disease and learning what to do. And I mean, I was just thinking about this the other day around, trying to go to a support group even and just seeing people that no one looked like me right and, and that really was kind of the place that I was meant to go learn and figure this out. And so that kind of stuck with me and that that planted the seed and it sounds weird now, but I always wanted to do something more with it than just manage my own condition and really after college got the opportunity to work on a couple different projects with some insulin manufacturers and develop some innovative programs around kind of chronic care. Management. So through there got the first itch to really apply my personal experience, but then also match it with professional. And then from there went to BigFoot biomedical. And so really, that’s where between those couple of experiences got a lot of first hand experience around what to do what people need. But I always wanted to do something more, so Invincibles a long time in the making, and I give that backstory because it’s there wasn’t any one aha moment by any means. It’s kind of 15 years in the making. I think I have lots of school presentations and things that the ideas kind of came as we went and really started it just as a way to figure out a way that we think that families and kids especially the support that they need, and go from there.
Stacey Simms 10:41
What did you do at BigFoot, if I may ask?
Sure. Yeah, so I was a product manager and I was focused on the closed loop system. So started pretty early, early on there with the engineering team and built the product that went into
the clinical trial there. Again, as you said, there was no aha moment. But I know a lot of people who have worked or were working at the time of Bigfoot, and there are there are families They are right. There are adults with type one with children, but they were adults who have children with type 100%. No.
And Bigfoot was such a great place to really just be immersed in that in that world. And that was really the first time that I had been around more than one or two people at a time that that had been so directly affected by diabetes. And so being able to go to work every day with people that knew what they were doing. And I mean, my first week up big fight, I was actually trying the Dexcom for the first time, and I figured I might as well use technology, there’s going to be a diabetes tech company, and just having all the tips and tricks and the people that knew what they’re doing, but really just had being surrounded by people that were just so passionate for it was just such a great environment and such a great place to be. And so yeah, I think that that gave me such a great foundation to build from and grow with people in this community.
Stacey Simms 11:48
So let’s talk about invincible and what the vision is here. I have a child who’s in high school who frankly, is at the stage where it’s much more hands off, you know, but we went he was diagnosed at two we went into kindex gotten where you went to take care of preschool and then kindergarten. And as you know, and as most people listening know, there is so much that has to go on when you’re trying to teach a school or maybe deal with a school that has no nurse or a part time nurse or a nurse who doesn’t really know what it’s like about type one, or who’s overwhelmed by having 10 kids with type one, along with all the other kids that she has to take care of her he has to take care of. So I guess the first question I would ask you is, what are the problems with the difficulties that you’re trying to help with? Because I know a bunch of them?
Yes, absolutely. So that was actually about the first six months of starting the company and figuring exactly that out. So as you know, a lot of parents have the horror stories, right of what happened at school and could be all age ranges, right. And lots of things happen. And diabetes is you know, it’s just really tricky. So we started with schools. It’s really just kind of a research project to figure out where can we help because we heard from a lot of families that school in particular, created a lot of frustration and I mean mix it in with kids are getting older and figuring out their own lives. We’ve actually spent the first six months really just going into schools and interviewing school nurses to find really their side of the story, because one of the key kind of hypotheses with it was that there aren’t really bad nurses. There’s just a lot of overworked nurses that are probably under resourced. So that’s kind of what we went in with. And we didn’t go in with too many assumptions, because we just wanted to learn and we kind of had the family side of the story from lots of interviews, and really just wanted to see what what is the school nurse side look like? And what does that look like, at the school setting? And so from a solution standpoint, as we start to think about this, it’s really, when kids go to school, there’s, there’s so much going on, right? And schools are built to teach kids at the end of the day. And so what’s ended up happening and what we saw in most schools is really, there’s just very, very few health resources to deal with any sort of chronic health issue, especially type one diabetes. What we found is in the schools where where it works, usually it’s a really just dedicated nurse who goes above and beyond. It’s a family who’s just leaning in and doing everything. They can A kid with just a great head on their shoulders. And I’ll be honest, we saw that more often than not, we didn’t see a lot of horror stories, but there’s just it creates a lot of frustration for families, of course, that what they do at home can’t be the same as what they do at school and, and that’s what we’re really trying to help is just bridge that gap between when kids are at home and families develop their routines to when they go to school. And one of the things we saw really early on was just all the paper notes and kind of process that that gets handled at school, that could just be so much easier. What we came up with is really starting to develop a way where families can start to get some of the information that’s happening at school. So when kids are in the nurses office, and the nurses already giving them insulin and writing all this stuff down. We actually saw a lot of families exchanging like paper notebooks to have their kids carry around that just inherently bugged me. The last thing we want is his kids to be carrying a notebook around and feeling any more different than they might feel already. And so that was kind of the first place where we just said okay, this this is a very solvable piece of this And so that’s where we’ve been working since is really starting to develop just those relationships with schools and families, and then a product that helps bridge that gap.
Stacey Simms 15:06
So this is more than an app that takes place of my paper notebook, which by the way, I’m laughing as you said that because my son went back to daycare is a terrible parent. I am, he was not yet to. And he went back to daycare a week after we got home from the hospital, because my assumption was, they taught me the dummy who knew nothing about diabetes, I can teach these wonderful educators and caregivers who probably know a lot more than I do about children anyway. And they did and they were wonderful. And boy, we’ll be lucky. But we had paper going back and forth. Of course, this was 2006 2007. But we had that piece of paper that the daycare center does, you know, oh, your child was nice. Today, your child went to the potty at this time. And your child’s blood sugar was also this, like we just wrote it on the same piece of paper. Yep. Yeah. But I assume it’s more than an app because there’s lots and lots of blood sugar logging apps that tell me about the education component that you’ve mentioned a couple times.
So really, I mean, I think this probably goes back to that first experience that I had to go into a support group and what it takes. So we’ve developed first is really just the basics content. Our target audience for that is anyone who might be supporting a kid with type one. So think teachers think school staff, think grandparents or friends and family that need to know at least the basic information to keep kids safe. Our spin on it isn’t typical diabetes, you might see we want to make it fun and really friendly so that maybe a kid could use it but especially a grandparent doesn’t have to be terrified of it and a teacher can do it on our break so that she has the information that she needs and isn’t scared. That’s what it’s about for and really what we’ve developed as a foundation to develop a lot of different content beyond that, we’re really starting with the basics so that kids have just the basic level of support that they need at that school but then also what those other places
Stacey Simms 16:50
Can you share a little bit about what it looks like right as a school pay for it. Does the school have to meet with you what why don’t you know what what is really I know a lot of this might be proprietary but No, no,
it’s all good. Well, we’re a startup. So we’re very much figuring this out as we go. So I’ll confess that but but but the education standpoint, we want it to be free. And we think that’s the bare minimum thing that we can offer that just makes learning accessible to anyone in the world. And one of the really interesting aspects of this is that once we’ve developed kind of the framework to do these things, is that it’s very easily you might imagine scalable to other languages even. And so Spanish is a great example that’s pretty underserved, especially from a diabetes standpoint, where we can start to develop these fun training modules. And if you know Duolingo, that’s kind of our our guiding design principle of just making it fun and friendly and kind of simple quizzes and games that anyone could do. So from a business model standpoint, the learning pieces is what we see is free and we want anyone to do that because at the end of the day, we want kids to have support wherever they go. And it’s not just the kind of the technical skills of how do you deliver insulin? How do you check blood sugar, but I mean, a personal bias for me is how do you support kids emotionally too? And, and how do you talk about it? And how do you say the right things? And especially in a classroom setting? How do you get them to just feel normal and just a normal kid in class and, and have a teacher talk about that stuff?
Stacey Simms 18:14
I’m curious to how you’re developing the education component, because there are so many differences among diabetes families, we had four kids in our elementary school and my style of parenting was very, very different from other there, you know, there’s no right or wrong, it would never works for that family. But I would educate a nurse and educated educator, sounds funny, I would educate a nurse and educate school staff in a different way about type 1 diabetes. And to be clear, you know, it’s not that I mean, there are some things that you have to do that are just type 1 diabetes. I’m not talking to the definition, you know what I’m talking about. I mean, we’re about we did not use share and follow, for example, with our elementary school educators, whereas the other families did, and I’m curious how you handle things like that, when you’re educating Who’s getting the education process? I mean, I know you don’t diabetes, but we all do this a little different
100%. So our eventual goal is really to partner with with institutions that do this for a living. And what we’ve been doing in the meantime is really just relying on best practices material from jdrf from ABA. And so piggybacking on like, what might be a Word document or website, but just converting it into something that’s engaging and so kind of the way we see it is chunking all this stuff up so that it’s just bite sized pieces that people can handle. As for a content standpoint, absolutely. You’re absolutely right. And so what we’ve developed so far is really the the foundational pieces that anyone might need. So think just checking blood sugar, what is blood sugar, handling a low blood sugar and high blood sugar. But as we go beyond that, that’s where it starts to get personalized to each family and child. And what we envision is really being able to personalize that to the the school setting or to the child so that if they’re not using a CGM, for example, we’re not having a teacher go through a CGM module that that she doesn’t need to know yet. Got it,
Stacey Simms 20:01
as I put my two cents into your app, which you didn’t ask for, you know, things like every family does this differently, or this, this is a choice, right? This particular point of care may be something this family does, or this family does not do that sort of thing.
Totally, totally. It’s been interesting, too, because a lot of the a lot of the school nurses that get it understand that so well, right is that each family needs a little bit different type of handling and treatment, and in the way that they approach it, it’s just different. And so I think when we’re in person, we naturally do this, as we we have kind of some of this digital education, that’s something that needs to be front and center because it’s it’s too easy to just create a one size fits all
Stacey Simms 20:40
approach. I would imagine that the nurses and the school staff and you folks are better at differentiated that than we as parents, right? We tend to think the way we do it is I don’t want to say the right way. But we kind of live in this bubble where it’s like, well, everybody must be doing it this way. So I’m glad to hear that but as we’re talking through it makes me think I bet the nurses For a lot better at knowing that, that I’m even giving them credit for this. Well, it’s it’s two sided, right? I mean, every family knows their, their own kid and what works. And so I mean, like anything, it’s a partnership. And that’s what’s been really fun with this is really trying to just see both sides and really just putting the kid front and center throughout this so that at the end of the day, that’s what everyone cares about. Absolutely. is something that that occurs to me as well. We had an issue in our school district a couple of years ago, you know, when Dexcom share and nightscout technology sharing different ways to look at, you know, continuous glucose monitoring numbers on devices came in. At first, it was kind of up to the nurse and the parent or the staff of the parent to say, Sure, I’ll follow you on my phone or sure I’ll follow you on my desktop. And we had a school nurse who would follow the children on her personal device and I guess turned it off at night. I really don’t know exactly how they did it, but a year or two into this when it became much more standard of care and you know the Dexcom share and follow SR To be even though I know it’s not it seemed to be ubiquitous in our school district, the district actually had to make some decisions about technology. And they locked it down, you know, no more personal devices, no more following after school hours. And I think things that were very, very proper, but frankly threw a monkey wrench into existing systems that these parents have been using, you know, have you run into anything like that?
Yeah, it’s actually a big continuing pain point for for everybody, I think because I mean, as you know, I mean CGM is once you once you’re used to having CGM, once you’re relying on it. It’s just it’s crazy to think that you’re just going to ignore it or turn it off. So what the school districts that we met with we came out with probably 100 or so districts throughout California at this point, and it’s all across the board really, and really, from the kind of point of Oh, yeah, we follow every number and of course, we’re going to have this on iPads in our office and our in our teachers and our in our classrooms, all the way down to know exactly like you said we’re not going to allow this In school, so what we’re finding is, I mean, like anything that the answer probably falls somewhere in between where it’s, it’s not quite, we’re going to follow every single time. And we’re not going to check every five minutes for a nurse that is already numbered 2000 kids to one, yeah. But it’s also not, we have a low glucose alarm, we’re going to ignore that. And so that’s where we’re finding a lot of the happy mediums. And a lot of the districts we saw were at a minimum there, they’re responding to alarms, because it’s just a no brainer, that we’re going to do that. But there’s also not a dedicated person watching numbers all day either. And a lot of those cases, it’s, it’s a lot, a lot of the families that are at home, maybe and they can text the nurse or text the teacher if something’s needed, but it also gives a little bit of time back to the kid to to just be in class and be present. So that that tends to be the middle ground. And again, I I don’t have answers for this. It’s just what I’ve been seeing. But it certainly is top of mind for a lot of these nurses, a lot of these school districts as they take on some of that liability in their in their minds.
Stacey Simms 23:57
Yeah, it’s a difficult issue because if you have a tiny little School, our little school district with one kid. No problem. We have 150,000 children in our school district. Yeah, it’s a little different. And no full time nurses. I go vote. It’s an interesting time. What have you found has been the really great thing about invincible What do people who start using this are testing it? Like what, uh, schools?
Well, what’s been what’s been fascinating and so we’ve been piloting this since last year. And the first test, which was really what school nurses use it, we kind of knew that families would get value from really having this information available to them, and not just to create information, but really just to improve communication so that they’re not texting and calling all the time. But what we saw is really, nurses take this as a tool of their own, so that they can better support the kids too. And so that’s been really fascinating, exciting to see because just being able to go in person and see some of the glucose shacks and the lunch tracks at school happen and being able to give that information to families, real time Just so that they really just have that peace of mind that their kid is being taken care of and that ultimately, they’re safe and happy. Still just scratching the surface on that. And we’ve got lots of lots of progress to still make but but that’s been really exciting to see is really the schools tried to embrace this and, and of course, families and kids get a lot of value from what do you need from the community? Do you need anything? Do you need testers? Do you need feedback? Should we hold our horses for a little bit? Well, you know, it’s interesting, because it’s it’s obviously a tricky time, right. And as we focus a lot of our efforts on schools, it’s it’s not the best time to have a product that helps families communicate with school in a remote world. So we’re very much figuring that out. I think what I would say is what we need at this point is we’re still early stages and the product we’ve built for school. I think for those families that are going back to school in person, we are absolutely looking for beta testers at this point to try it out and and really try to help us continue growing this product and ultimately helping kids with with diabetes and And eventually other health issues too. For those families that aren’t we, we’d love to hear from them too, because we like I said, we’re early stages. So our ultimate goal is to support kids throughout their health journey. And so we don’t want to just build one product that that helps communication between school at home, but really developing something that can help kids start to develop their independence and confidence and managing and eventually inspiring them to do whatever they want to do for any families out there that are interested in that we’d love to hear from them and and have them contribute some their ideas and thoughts. And as we continue to iterate I think we’ll come up with lots of cool ideas and things to test out what is unusual. And I mean, what a year this is already. It’s you know, as we’re recording, I think a lot of school districts and parents are still figuring out what they’re going to be doing for the fall. So separate from invincible. You know, it’s got to be so frustrating. I’m curious, have you have you talked to any of your local school districts this year? Any advice for families trying to navigate this? Well, I mean, I think the key message is, we’re all figuring this out together, right? And there’s no good answer. And I wish there was and it really is varied by a lot of the different states and schools that we’re working with. That’s what they’re doing. And for instance, a lot of the California schools we’re starting to see are going at least starting remote so that’s a that’s a challenge but but understandable on a lot of levels too. So I mean, I think above all like like we all know is just work with your school the figure it out, and it’s not gonna be perfect. Not none of this is perfect in the COVID world. But um, but yeah, I mean, that I think that’s the key message that we’re hearing is, a lot of school nurses are just getting this information the same time as families are. And so just so trying to make sense of this all and help help us all together in this process.
Stacey Simms 27:41
So earlier, we talked a little bit about that horror story, terminology. And, you know, I shouldn’t I wanted to go back to that that term, you know, the horror story, and I have to admit that as I said, My son was diagnosed really little, and we kind of had diabetes down are doing okay, we’re growing. When and kindergarten, the idea of kindergarten stressed me out and instilled such fear in me. I still don’t know why it was so unreasonable because he had such good care in daycare and preschool. And we had a wonderful elementary school, but we were the only family with type one at the time. And I was so scared, and it was so much better than I had feared. And so when we talk about the fear that parents have of sending their children to school, I always like to use my story. I mean, you know, I think we kind of have to go through this ourselves, right? I can’t tell another family don’t do it. I don’t don’t feel what I felt. That doesn’t make any sense, right. But learn from my experience, and the hundreds of families that I’ve been so fortunate to meet and talk to over this last 13 years of Benny having type one diabetes. I don’t hear a lot of horror stories. I hear a lot of fear. And I hear a lot of when my child went low at recess, or you know, they didn’t spot the high and in my head, I’m thinking I’m not perfect at home with my kids diabetes, like I’ve missed lows. I’ve missed highs. We’ve missed doses we’ve knocked off sites, stuff happens at school just like it happens at home. And I’m wondering if I’m an outlier? I don’t think so, in thinking this way, or most of the families you talk to, are just trying to make the experience smoother and better. And not fighting that horror story to tell.
Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. I think like any news, the sensational news tends to bubble the top right. And I think probably maybe some percent of families are doing exactly that is sending a kid to the school for the first time is really hard. And again, I’m not a parent, but I can absolutely empathize with it. But really, really there. You’re exactly right. In terms of families, we’re just trying to figure this out. And it’s scary. and managing my own diabetes is scary. I did a diabetes camp a couple years ago. And I think managing for someone else’s just added stress, and it’s probably 10 times as hard as managing my own and in checking other people’s blood sugars and so on. But you’re absolutely right in terms of really just the challenge of managing diabetes at school and other places. It’s a work in process and it’s never perfect. And when you’re trusting other people to do that, there’s bumps along the way. And I think that’s one of our goals is really to develop that trust with school with grandparents with other places that kids go so that families don’t need to worry so much and they can just go about their lives and have fun wherever they are.
Stacey Simms 30:21
I’m such a fan of something like this because you know, and may sound if you’re if you’re newer to the show, or you haven’t read a lot of my stuff, I may sound very laissez faire and hands off. Right, he’ll be fine. I’m not I you know, I worry a lot. I just try not to give my worry to my kid. But something like this, which would help the school understand that the parents not a crazy helicopter parent, right. And also allow some of us who want to kind of over over protect our kids like I’ve had those instincts where I want to wrap my head in bubble wrap. I feel like this would be so helpful for me, because it would help me hand off more. So I think it sounds It just helps on both ends by educating some school districts. I mean, I’m so lucky I say this all the time, we’ve been so lucky with our care. I never had to do the big fight. We’ve had to do some things. I know some parents out there really struggle and having a thing where you could say, No, look, I’m not the only one. And here’s a resource can be so helpful. I’ll get off I will get off my soapbox. I’m starting talking about me way too much. But I have a question for you about emergency administration of like of glucagon and things like that, you know, there’s different ways to do that. Now there’s different products. But I’m curious that that is something that is really a non negotiable in my mind that schools need to know how to administer emergency from the time is that something that you help with?
Yes, absolutely. I think the what we have is really some some basic modules with that we started tentative out but that thing, but absolutely and I think as like back semi unhealed insulin becomes more prevalent that training only becomes easier. But it is it is a challenge, right because as you probably anticipate sticking the needle in an emergency situation is a big challenge. And so I think part of it is reducing some of the fear factor around administering an emergency treatment. But the other part is just repetition and practice.
Stacey Simms 32:09
I think, too, as a parent, I would love some backup on that, you know, I trained everybody on the red box way back then there, but you know, even showing somebody had to use the vaccine, as you mentioned, or the G vote, the auto injector, you know, these are so much simpler, but I would really appreciate the opportunity to have something to say like, here’s your look at this. You can look at me too, I’ll show you how to do it, but I’m not I’ve never had to do it knock wood. So that’s great that you offer that as well. Hundred percent. You said early on that, you know, we want to keep the kid front and center. Are you talking to the kids about what they want? Are you telling the kids about what they need at school?
Absolutely. So so that those are those are most fun interviews. And so we’ve done we’ve done a lot of just in person visits and we get to go to the school and the kids and one of my favorites is got to be there. When someone’s first day Back to school with diabetes. And so got to just hear what that was like and his perspective. And so decided to develop some of those relationships around just seeing not only when kids are first diagnosed and trying to figure this out, but throughout and again, we’re early I don’t claim to have any or, or most of even these answers. But I think that’s what gets me really excited is that kids are ultimately our customers. And they might not be paying for any of this or but but ultimately, they’re living with this. And so if we can do right by them, I think we’ve ultimately we’ve done our job. And what an elementary school child needs is much different than middle school and high school and even college. And so we’ve spoken to a lot of families, a lot of school nurses, but ultimately putting kids friends center and being part of this whole development experience and engaging them is really our ultimate goal.
Stacey Simms 33:46
Can you share a little bit about what the kids say? I mean, I’ll give an example. I would sit down with my son and I still try to do this, but he just rolled his eyes at me now. But I would sit down at the beginning of every school year and say, what’s the goal for this year? What do you want to do? in first grade, he wanted to eat in the school cafeteria. That was a buys lunch. That was something that we didn’t do in kindergarten, because we wanted to keep it super simple. You know, in second grade, he wanted to not have to leave gym class. He wanted to, you know, we love to eat in the classroom, he rarely went to the nurse. But the gym was right near the nurse and long story short that he wanted to just stay there. So every year he had a goal. By fifth grade. It was nobody talked to me about my blood sugar. And I wasn’t ready to let that go. So we devised like a thumbs up to his teacher at lunch, which meant Yes, I’ve dosed you know that. Yeah. So like we we talked about it a lot and was like, What do you want? I’m curious if kids have shared those kinds of things with you.
No, I probably haven’t asked the right question. I’d love that.
I mean, we’ve asked them about just kind of generally like what they what they go through at school and I think some of those exact same things that you’ve mentioned around they don’t want I think the the common ones that we’ve heard are as simple as like, Yeah, I don’t want to leave lunch. I don’t want to leave class early hearing a kid say they don’t Want to leave class really is a good thing. But yeah, that’s pretty exciting. But just simple things have just, they just want to be with their friends, they want to be in class, they don’t want to leave recess. Really, what I saw a lot is really the kind of 15 minute rule that a lot of schools will have around after they check if they’re low. And that’s obviously a big pain point for a second grader who wants to go go back to recess. So those are the main things that I’ve heard at least and but I love the the aspect of just asking a goal oriented question on each year because, because that’s really powerful. And I’ve actually heard a few families mentioned the kind of the thumbs up, thumbs down, especially when kids are really just tired of talking about it as important.
Stacey Simms 35:39
Yes. And you’re so when you find a teacher or a staff member who will work with you like that. That’s the greatest feeling in the world. Because they get it they understand that your kid just wants to go through class. They’re tired of beeping, they’re tired of talking to them. You know, and then when you get to middle school, in high school, you have you know, different parameters all together. This year is so unique. I mean What a time to try to help schools and try to help families. But I love what you’re doing here and I’m so glad you shared this with us. You know, we already asked about how we can help us the community or what you need from us. Do you have a sign up? Do you have ways that people can learn more?
Yeah, absolutely. So if you go to our website it’s invincible app.com you have to spell invincible and and also you could also email me Babbitt invincible app calm and, and either one will work and will love to love to hear from you and reach out to any families there.
Stacey Simms 36:31
Thank you so much for joining me and spending some time and kind of hearing me also get up and down on my soapbox. I appreciate you
know, this is great. We’ll have to do we’ll have to do some some interviews at some point. We’ll love to hear hear your perspective as we continue this because I mean, I think that’s that’s one of the aspects of this that that gets me really excited is I think one of the things that that I learned early on is everyone kind of figured this figured this out for the first time each time and so if we can start to use some of the experiences of families that have been have kids that have been through this and kind of extend those and start to develop some best practices. I think that would just be such a wealth of knowledge that we can pass on the telephone and just help people get through this.
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 37:21
More information about invincible and how you can send feedback and all that good stuff just go to Diabetes- Connections com and click on the episode homepage. Of course there’s a transcript for this episode as well.
And tell me something good is back this week. We have so many great stories including one about skydiving I’ll be honest with you something my daughter really wants to do and I would never do food get to that moment but first diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And here’s what I have to say about control IQ, the Dexcom G6 Tandem pump software program, we are doing a lot less work for better results. I’m gonna say that again, because that happened in diabetes, less work better results. A couple of years ago, we got the CGM on the screen and Benny like that, but it was more just a cool feature. He really looks at his phone a lot more to check his Dexcom. But the control IQ is taking this to a whole different level. His time and range has increased significantly his A1C has come down significantly since we started the system in January. I love it. I can’t say enough good things about it. Of course individual results may vary. To learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.
Tell me something good this week comes from comments in our Facebook group. It is Diabetes Connections, the group and I have so many things to share with you so we’ll just scratch the surface with a couple. I’m so glad to bring this feature back. It’s always my favorite part of the show every week. Lots of graduation stories.
Janice says, I’m officially done! Macey didn’t attend a live ceremony last week. We didn’t feel it was safe. But we met teachers that are old schools for a socially distance photo op started with her first preschool teacher. Her school life hasn’t been normal once her graduation wasn’t either. We turned lemons into lemonade, and Janice is well known to a lot of you even if you don’t know her name or her face maybe because Macey is Macey’s believers of walk team that’s been around for a long time and it’s been a lot of good both with Jdrf and with the friends for life conference. So congratulation Macey and well done. Janice
Niva writes in: my 11 year old T1D and her family went ziplining in the North Carolina mountains. We carried all of our supplies and fanny packs. I almost didn’t allow us to do it because we were hours away from any medical help. If something happened, everything went great. I’m glad we did it and didn’t let diabetes get in our way. And congratulations and boys. They’re a great picture. I’ll share this offer kiddo just ready to go with a mountain behind them. Oh my goodness. I like the idea of zip lining but I’ve never done it over. This is I’m familiar with this one. This is a really long one. And I would be nervous not because of diabetes just because I’m a big chicken, which means I would never do this next one.
Oh my goodness. Laura says My brave girl went skydiving So Laura wrote in we all know T1Ds are brave My brave girl went skydiving with her dad last weekend. She has wanted to do this since she was eight years old. She says it lived up to expectations and exceeded them. Mom says I was nervous but her blood sugar’s Of course she was really high when she boarded the plane because of adrenaline. But then she plugged her pump control IQ and quickly got her back on track. She gave it two thumbs up and plans to do it again someday.
Oh my goodness. I love seeing stories like this. I thank you so much for sending them in. We got a whole bunch of you know my A1C is great. And you know I’m always happy about that, but I you know me I hesitate to congratulate somebody on their number. I really want to hear the story behind it and what else is going Well in your life, especially now this is a tough time to have any control over anything. And to be doing well like that is great. So share your numbers but share a little bit more about what’s going on because I think that’s actually more helpful than the number and I will leave you with this one. Noni wrote in not diabetes related, but our one and a half year old is finally eating tiny bites of solid food without gagging and choking. He’s a fan of Turkey and green beans. Way to go, buddy. That’s awesome. I’m telling you. I will take your Tell me something goods that are teeny tiny accomplishments, the super tiny stuff and everything in between. We have so much to celebrate in this community. I want to help you get the word out about your good stuff. You could email me Stacey at Diabetes connections.com or go to the Facebook group Diabetes Connections, the group join in and jump into the conversation. Tell me something good.
Before I let you go, I said I was going to talk about my daughter’s college. Now as we’re taping this, it is the very beginning of August We are less than two weeks away of bringing her back. She goes to Tulane, and this was her sophomore year. I am very nervous because of everything that’s going on. She’s going to be far from home. But I think going back is the best thing for her. And boy, this school has been on top of it. And I’m not bringing this up to brag on Oh, this private institution that was able to do this. I’m bringing it because, man, if we could just have this kind of plan for the nation for our states, we would be open so much sooner. I don’t get political on the show. I’m not about to get political now. But give me a break. This is all about test, trace and isolate. It’s not rocket science to lane is testing every student as they return, and you can’t get back in your room until you have a negative covid tests that they will administer. Same thing for off campus students who can’t get back into class until you test negative they will be doing monthly tests of all students, faculty and staff. And they’re doing randomized daily tests. So if you’re selected for daily tests, you will get a text and then you must make an appointment for your test with us. certain period of time I think it’s 48 hours, they’ve put aside a big dorm building. And I think a hotel is in there too, in terms of isolating students who need to be quarantined, and they have another system set up, if someone you’ve been in contact with has tested positive, they’ve put up a bunch of outdoor buildings. I don’t know how to describe this other than if you’ve ever been to a fancy golf tournament, one of those tents that is really like more of a building and has air conditioning inside, they’ve set up a bunch of those for dining and extra classroom space. Some of the classes will be virtual, but she will have in person classes and she will be able to do so many of the things that she wanted to do last year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping that what is basically an experiment right works out but I gotta say, this seems to be a really good and well thought out plan. So I’ll let you know we also as a family have a plan for if everything goes well, great. If it doesn’t, what we’re going to do if she gets sick, obviously we have one plan, but if the people around her if the campus goes in one direction, you really hate that we have to seek these things out. But we do in terms of how we’re going to get there, how we’re going to get her home, when we’re going to leave her all that stuff. Man. I know so many families are making similar decisions. And it’s just so frustrating because we know it didn’t have to be this way. And that’s all I’ll say about that. All right, lots more to come in the weeks ahead. You can always find me on social media, Stacey Simms or Diabetes Connections on Facebook and Twitter, on Instagram. It’s just Stacey Simms, just the one account there because I got started late on Instagram and I don’t see any reason to have two accounts there. As always, thank you to my editor john McKenna’s from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged