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Annual Teddy Bear Clinic

On Saturday, March 15, 2008, the Joslin Diabetes Center held its annual Teddy Bear Clinic at the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes EXPO.

The Clinic was an excellent opportunity for families whose lives have been touched by diabetes to learn about the disease in a safe and fun environment. Some young people came to the Teddy Bear Clinic because they had type 1 diabetes, while others ventured over with siblings affected by the disease, eager to learn how to help their brother or sister.

The annual Teddy Bear Clinic provides an opportunity for children to practice diabetes management techniques such as glucose testing on a stuffed animal of their choosing. The Clinic at the Expo featured a check-in station where kids could register their teddy bears for a check-up, and complete their medical records. For those who visited the booth without a stuffed animal, one was provided free of charge so that every child who visited the Clinic could learn about caring for people with diabetes.

Among the many areas children could visit at the Teddy Bear Clinic was the glucose testing unit, where children practiced obtaining blood sugar readings on their teddy bears. In addition, kids could measure the height and weight of their stuffed animal at another station, as well as learn about other helpful practices that constitute good diabetes care.

"Joslin's Teddy Bear Clinic provides fun, 'teachable' moments for young children with diabetes as the youths enjoy the role-reversal of caring for their favorite doll or stuffed animal, while they are surrounded by many other children with diabetes and caring staff," says Lori Laffel, M.D., Chief of Pediatrics at Joslin Diabetes Center.

Many people’s lives are touched by diabetes, and as a result, they want to learn more about how to help care for loved ones with the disease. Many visitors to the Teddy Bear Clinic, however, are young people with type 1 diabetes, so participating in the Clinic helps them reinforce their own skills, and allows them to try out new ones in the presence of trained professionals and parents.

The Teddy Bear Clinic is also helpful if you’re the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with diabetes, as  it can be difficult to find age-appropriate information about the chronic condition. That’s where the expertise of Joslin Diabetes Center’s Pediatric Health Services comes in.

Part of the Joslin Clinic, pediatric patients benefit from the JoslinCare™ model of treatment: individualized diabetes care from a team of specialists trained in various disciplines such as pediatric endocrinology, nursing, nutrition, psychology, and many more. The Teddy Bear Clinic is sponsored annually, and like many other events provided by Pediatric Health Services, is designed to introduce diabetes management techniques in a responsible and healthy way.

"As a parent is trying to shepherd a child home [from the Teddy Bear Clinic], it is priceless to hear the young child say to her bear, ‘Teddy, let's check your blood sugar now before we get in the car to see if you need a snack before we drive home,’" says Dr. Laffel.

Click here to learn about the 6th Annual Teddy Bear Clinic.

Page last updated: April 19, 2014