What we do

Identifying children with Type 1 diabetes

Yog Dhyan’s team visits designated hospitals at periodic intervals to get referrals of children with T1D from the doctors. Documents confirming that the child has T1D are procured for record keeping and tracking purposes.
As part of the referral process, a background check is undertaken of the child and the family, especially of the socio-economic status. The parents are informed about the Foundation and the advantages of sending their children for group yoga classes, and encouraged to start attending these sessions.
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Processes Initiation

Once the children with T1D are identified, discussions are held with the family members, to analyze the difficulties faced in the management of diabetes and how to tackle them.

In these families, the major initial difficulties center around the financial burden of procuring medical supplies (insulin, syringes, BG strips, other tests needed) regularly. Therefore the first help extended is provision of a glucometer to the family, along with 50 test strips on a monthly basis. The parents are taught to use the glucometer effectively. Nutritious diet for the child is also given free of cost. Free yoga classes for the entire family help them understand the positive impact of exercise on the BG directly, and on stress reduction. Further, counseling sessions are provided from time to time to help the family cope with the emotional stress related to a chronic, demanding disease. In addition, the group yoga sessions provide an opportunity for the families to meet others with the same disorder, experience a sense of camaraderie, and share problems and solutions. This reduces the sense of stigma, isolation and resentment to a great extent. All efforts are made to help the child and the family lead a normal and healthy life.

Stress Management

When T1D is diagnosed in a child, the immediate consequences of the diagnosis are felt by the entire family. The level of stress increases manifold with the financial, economic and emotional burdens posed by the disease and societal responses to it.

The feeling of loneliness and “why me” can be devastating. For economically vulnerable households, these burdens can be particularly disastrous, as the incurable nature of the disease makes parents wary of diverting their earnings and energy to its control. Lack of education further worsens the situation as teaching material cannot be used. The stressed out family and child find it difficult to absorb and the extensive diabetes education and implement self-care measures needed, so a bleak outcome becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Yog Dhyan Foundation attempts to break this vicious cycle. By bringing together such families under one roof, and providing them a friendly environment to meet and exchange their problems, allows them to talk about solutions. Simultaneously, the Foundation provides financial support and positive emotional guidance, so the families feel someone cares and shares the burdens, making them lighter and easier to carry. Once the situation normalized, self-care can begin and succeed.

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Diabetes Education

Yog Dhyan Foundation provides the Diabetes Education which is most necessary for children T1D and their families. It is imperative for them to know how to use and handle insulin, control diet, use yoga and other activities, to lead a healthy, productive life. It is emphasized that T1D is not a disease, but a metabolic disorder that requires effective management of balancing food, exercise and insulin. The need for constant discipline and vigilance is explained. The education imparted helps the families understand the reasons behind fluctuating BG levels and how to combat them. Regular eye and BP checks, and blood tests, e.g. quarterly A1C for average BG control, and others for chronic complications, are needed; families must understand the importance of these checks and action to be taken based on the results.

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Other support required by families of children having Type 1 diabetes

Support from other family members, school and neighbors, is indispensable for the child with T1D. Without ample and continual support, the chances of survival become bleak. The child needs to test BG and take insulin in school, on trips or during exams, may need extra snacks or toilet breaks depending on the BG level, and yet needs to participate in all school activities, and feel integrated with the community, whether class, neighborhood or society at large. The continuous monitoring required increases during times of fluctuation and sickness, throughout the night as well as day. Thus, parents or siblings also suffer from disturbed sleep and emotional stress. Acute complications (hypo- or hyperglycemia) can occur at any time of the day. The lifelong requirement for discipline and regimentation can be exhausting. This gets much more aggravated during adolescence, when the person most space and independence, a process that diabetes tends to hinder. So the family requires ongoing help and encouragement. YDF provides regular counseling to the families to ensure that their emotional needs are met and complications arising out of the condition are addressed in a timely fashion.

Society often discriminates against these persons when it comes to schooling, jobs, marriage, etc. By proving group support, YDF also provides a platform for families to help each other, and for those from upper economic strata to give opportunities for others.

Importance of counseling in Type 1 diabetes for family and children

Counseling plays a very important role for children with T1D and their family members. The initial diagnosis is usually met with shock and grief. It is understandably difficult to accept the need for 8-12 pricks a day for testing BG and injecting insulin, for a lifetime for survival. Extensive counseling is needed to combat the apprehensions faced so that the families can come to terms with the treatment. To avoid needle pricks, parents explore alternative medications, and are vulnerable to becoming victims of quacks and even medical practitioners who make false promises to permanently cure the condition. They lose a lot of money and hope, and sometimes even the life of the child, in chasing the mirage of a permanent cure.

Another common problem is that many families try to conceal the fact of diabetes in their child. A major reason for this is the families’ lack information about the condition. This makes the child feels even more isolated, and even guilty, and can hamper access to help during a hypo- or hyperglycemic episode. The Yog Dhyan Foundation team provides holistic information, which enables them to accept and cope effectively with the condition, and overcome its debilitating effects.

In summary, the overarching objective of the Foundation is to give these families hope. The combination of diabetes education, financial, emotional, and logistic support, helps ease the burden of the condition, so that they can hope to achieve good health and live happy, productive lives. The joy on the faces of these children and adolescents when they share their achievements, is the biggest reward for the entire team.