The Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre is the first facility in Australia dedicated to providing peer and psychosocial support to children with type 1 diabetes and their families. The Family Centre’s vision is to create and sustain a connected, informed and supported type 1 diabetes community in Western Australia. We offer workshops, camps, social events and programs designed to help families and children build diabetes management skills, confidence, and peer support networks.
Amy Rush, an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, is the Centre’s Family Support Manager. Amy runs one of the Family Centre’s flagship programs, Type One 101: A Training Program for Babysitters. Type One 101 gives family members, neighbours and close friends of children with type 1 diabetes the knowledge and confidence they need to care for the child over a period of 3-4 hour period. The program is tailored to each family, and is meeting a critical need for local support systems in the type 1 community. It has had considerable interest from families and is very well subscribed.
Amy has identified poor cooking skills and low nutrition literacy amongst the teenage population at the Family Centre, and has created a monthly Teen Cooking Workshop to upskill teenagers with type 1. Amy works alongside a local mum of a type 1 child who is a chef, to help teen prepare a delicious healthy meal. They enjoy the meal together, followed by time relaxing in the Family Centre Adolescents Lounge, getting to know one another, playing games or watching a movie. The workshop is designed to connect teenagers with type 1, and break down the isolation living with diabetes can impose. It is a popular workshop, frequently at capacity with waiting lists to attend.
Looking forward, Amy is in the process of developing a suite of carbohydrate counting workshops targeted at parents of children with type 1, high school aged children and primary school aged children. These workshops will be the first carbohydrate counting education available in age-appropriate formats, and will be delivered in 2016.
The Family Centre also hosts regular Solutions Forums, which involve the audience participating in live, interactive discussion about practical topics that impact their lives with type 1. Families must bring a ‘burning question’ to the forum, and the facilitator, Family Centre General Manager Rebecca Johnson, taps in the collective knowledge and experience of the group to help find answers to the questions. A recent Solutions Forum, themed around sport and exercise, involved two professional sportsmen with type 1 offering their stories, training strategies and game day tips.
The Family Centre also offers camps for both teenagers and families, social events (including school holiday excursions and programs and a toddlers playgroup) and regular guest speakers. All events are open to children with type 1 diabetes and their family members.
The website features our Type 1 Toolkit and our upcoming programs and events: www.telethontype1.org.au. For further information or questions about the Family Centre, call us on 08 9446 6446 or contact AMY at [email protected].