the type 1 youth project

How might we empower and educate adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and their families and connect them with providers, teachers, and with each other?

Of the more than 1.25 million Americans living with Type 1 diabetes, about 200,000 are less than 20 years old. Type 1 diabetes, unlike Type 2, has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. Type 1 requires constant care, management, and support, yet many families and youth living with Type 1 diabetes are met with barriers in accessing health care programs, educational resources, and support groups. At DiPi, we are partnering with families and providers at the PADRE (Pediatric Adolescent Diabetes Research and Education) Foundation, a community-oriented nonprofit in Orange County, CA. Our goal is to create tools that engage, educate, and empower families to help better manage Type 1 and the hurdles that come with it. In doing so, we hope to create awareness, connect families, encourage questions, help build trust, and work toward empowering the Type 1 community in schools, health care spaces, and at home.

Person coloring a drawing of a plate of vegetables in a type 1 diabetes activity book

activity books

When children are first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, they often feel alone, scared, and confused. A lack of cultural competency and language barriers between their family and their Type 1 medical team can compound this issue. Four bilingual activity books both educate and engage newly diagnosed kids on diabetes management and help them to process the experience emotionally, all while fostering connection to their medical team and to their family. These books also act as a support and communication tool for the medical team to use when working with young Type 1 children and their families.

Picture of the type 1 diabetes manual in Spanish from the PADRE Foundation

type 1 diabetes manual

When a child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, parents are not only emotionally processing that their child has a life-altering disease, but they must also learn an immense amount of information in order to care for them and help them care for themselves. The 64-page My Type 1 Diabetes Manual, available in both English and Spanish, outlines important information for parents and caretakers, along with resources to support their efforts in helping their child manage this new challenge. Currently a dense, text-heavy book, our redesign of the PADRE manual will include a new cover, divider pages, and reworking of the content and illustrations as needed.

picture of the folding type 1 diabetes q and a poster

let’s talk! posters for the newly diagnosed

Featuring colorful illustrations, the Let’s talk! poster assists doctors and health care providers in talking with young patients by helping to answer some common questions (e.g. Is it contagious? Does it hurt?). This series of three posters (each in English and Spanish) fosters openness, acceptance, and emphasizes that kids with diabetes can do anything that kids without diabetes can do. Each poster is geared toward a different age group—ages 5-8, ages 9-14, and ages 15-24—because kids have different concerns at different life stages. Families will be given the poster to take home with them, where it can be used to educate friends and family and act as a reminder that children with Type 1 are amazing.

Mock up of the mini-binder and sample spreads for the type 1 diabetes guide for teachers

teacher’s guide to type 1

Teachers play a critical role in supporting children and teens with Type 1 diabetes and helping them manage their disease, yet teachers and other school staff are often unsure of how to best provide this support. The Teacher’s Guide to Type 1 will introduce school administration to Type 1 diabetes, as well as provide tips for how to best create a healthy and supportive learning environment. Designed to be reused and personalized each year, this bilingual guide also acts as a communication tool between parents and teachers.

Illustration of 9 stickers for the PADRE Foundation


Being diagnosed with Type 1 forces you to grow up quickly–– Stickers! help give space for kids to still be kids. This set of whimsical stickers can be used to label medical supply kits for school, to label low blood sugar supplies at home, or just for fun. They will be distributed and used by Type 1 medical teams in hospitals and clinics when working with patients; by affiliated organizations (e.g. Diabetes Camping and Educational Services) when organizing activities; and by PADRE staff and volunteers when presenting at schools, hosting support events, and holding educational classes.

DiPi team
Susan Verba (faculty); George Slavik (graduate student, Design); Kenna Fallan (research/design staff)
PADRE Foundation, Orange, CA