tips for kids with Type 1 diabetes

Living with Diabetes: One Child’s Perspective

In honor of American Diabetes Month, CHOC Children’s patient Ava Hata sheds insight on living with the disease. Ava, who is 11, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just 18 months old. She and her mom Rebekah, who founded TIDModsquad, are active advocates for patients and families, with Ava striving to be a positive role model for others.

How did you learn to manage your disease?

I remember the first time I pricked myself. I was about 4 years old, and I hated being dependent on other people to prick my finger. I snuck into my bedroom and did it based on what I had observed my parents doing. After that day, the momentum of learning to do it all by myself really took off. And now, after living with Type 1 diabetes for many years, I have an instinct for what I need to do. And while it may seem absurd at times, my instinct has worked in my favor. I have learned what to do and when to do it.

What do you like about your CHOC team?

I love being treated at CHOC by its endocrinology and diabetes team. The nurses are a pleasure to talk to, and Dr. Reh is the best!  She is and always will be my favorite endocrinologist. She’s been taking great care of me since I was little.

What are your hobbies?

I love being around animals. I ride horses and train diabetic alert dogs. I have my self-trained diabetic alert dog, Bruin, who has opened so many doors of opportunity. One cool moment was when I took my dog to see Dr. Bhangoo and got to spend time telling him how Bruin gives alerts on my highs and lows.

tips for kids with Type 1 diabetes
CHOC patient Ava and her self-trained diabetic alert dog, Bruin, share tips for kids with Type 1 diabetes.

In addition to training, I love to show dogs. Other interests include history and literature, as well as building all sorts of objects, from playhouses to terrariums.

How do you manage pursuing all of your interests in spite of living with a chronic condition, and what advice do you have for others?

Honestly, I believe you will always find a way to do what you love. Just keep walking forward, and everything will work out.

What else would you want people to know about living with diabetes?

First of all, people need to understand that it’s not simple and although you think there is a “control” with diabetes, there isn’t — and won’t be until there’s a cure. I’d also really like people to know that I am just like them in the sense that each of us has our differences, including responsibilities. It’s important to accept others and not discriminate against them.

I also want people to know there are numerous support groups, including the one my mom and I founded. It’s nice to connect with others who are going through something similar. You become an instant family!

tips for kids with Type 1 diabetes
Ava and her self-trained diabetic alert dog Bruin.

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5 thoughts on “Living with Diabetes: One Child’s Perspective”

  1. Ava is an awesome young lady. I have seen first hand how well she handles herself and helps to educate others about her Type 1 Diabetes. This is a great article and I am so glad to see Type 1 being shown here on CHOC’s blog.

  2. What an amazing girl! I think Ava will go far in life, do whatever it is she decides to do, and kicks Type 1 Diabetes to the curb.
    And what a wonderful testament to CHOC. Thank you for keeping Ava safe.

  3. I have a 15 year old son, named Owen, that is in noncompliance right now. We are looking to get him involved in some classes or training that will help him find his norm and wish to accept that he is a Type 1 Diabetic. He lies about checking his sugars and taking of his insulin. We are so worried about him. We have instituted a book where we write down the times, his sugar levels, the coverage and units, how many carbs he has ingested, and all food and drink he has ingested during the day. This works when he is honest with us. His excuse always is that the meter is broken. This week we got into an argument about how the meter was broken because it did not register his sugars all day when he was out of his Grandmother’s site. She informed him that the meter cannot lie. That it is not designed to be able to do that and that it has been consistently right when we watch him take his sugars. We don’t know what is going on with him but he is a smart kid and we don’t want this to worsen. Any help, training or other suggestions that may help us is greatly appreciated.

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