We Get it.
We Can Help.
Seeing your T1D child off to college is difficult.
Starting to panic about it? Don't worry, you're not alone. We want to help give you some peace of mind.

CDN Parent

CDN Parent

We know that being the parent of a T1D is a tough job. Because of that, we also know that seeing your T1D off to college, while encouraging their independence, is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. But CDN is here to help support both of you.

Have you seen your child with diabetes off to college? Are you preparing to? We understand that you want to help your student succeed in their diabetes management and beyond. We’ve seen the positive effect that peer support has had on each and every one of our students.

Stay connected as a CDN PARENT

We are in the process of launching our CDN Ambassadors program, in which people who are not in college and want to be involved with CDN can act as a local resource for CDN Chapters to provide support, assistance, or a friendly face. Want to be part of this cool new program? Sign up here


Become empowered. You may be starting to feel overwhelmed by all of the things that will seem to be out of your control once your child leaves the nest. Instead, try to focus on the things you can control, beginning with helping them get ready to move. Here is a list of actions you can take to feel empowered. This abbreviated list (the full version is available for print here) is meant to help you to help your T1D get ready for college in a way that works for both of you.

  Looking at Schools

  Prepare for Move-Out

  Post Move-In 

Looking at Schools

The idea of choosing a new “home” for your son or daughter for the next four years can seem completely daunting. Take a deep breath. Find our Looking at Schools Guide below in our resources. Make sure to ask questions about each topic yourself, or, even better, encourage your son or daughter to do it. You’ll feel better about the places that they’ll be spending their next few years, knowing that they are their own best advocate.


Prepare for Move-out

At this point in the process, your child has chosen a school and is most likely really excited about a fresh start. You? Not so much. Here are some things that you can do to ease your mind as you both prepare to drop them off at college for the first time.

Prepare a sick day kit 

Sick happens – especially in college dorms. Prepare a sick day kit and give it to your T1D before they leave so that you can rest easy when your child catches a cold or the stomach bug, knowing that they have everything you would be providing them if they were home. Your child will appreciate the sentiment – and thank you when they eventually use it. Here are some items that the sick day kit could include.

  • Cough Drops
  • Pepto Bismal
  • Nyquil or other cold medicine
  • Ibuprofen
  • Hot/cold pack
  • Thermometer
  • Tea bags
  • Diet and Regular Soda (Ginger Ale, 7-Up, Sprite, etc.)
  • Fruit Juice
  • Gatorade
  • Saltines
  • Chicken soup in a microwaveable container
  • A favorite movie to watch while they’re stuck inside

Get together a contact list

Ask your child if it would be helpful to them if you gathered all of the necessary emergency contact informaton to put in their Important Diabetes Contact list. Here are some of the contacts that should be included.

  • Insurance Company
  • Endocrinologist
  • Optometrist
  • Certified Diabetes Educator
  • Dentist
  • Pharmacy/Mail-order company
  • Insulin Pump Company
  • Other supply companies

Write a Family Communication Agreement

You want to know that your son or daughter is checking their blood sugar, eating right, taking insulin, etc. We get it - but young adults who are exploring their independence for the first time might not. Have a discussion before they leave about what you feel like you’ll need communication-wise when they’re gone, and what they feel comfortable with. Compromise is key. Use this template as a guide.

Letting Go

Your child most likely wants to be the keeper of their diabetes at this point, and that can be hard for some parents who have been so involved. Talk to your child and find out what you can do to help them at this stage in their lives. Something as small as picking up their prescriptions at the pharmacy and dropping them off can be extremely helpful to your child, and make you feel involved and helpful in their new life.


Post Move-in

You’ve moved your child in, said your goodbyes, and made the drive home without them. Congratulations! While it may not seem like it, this is a HUGE accomplishment – for both of you! Of course, for many T1D parents, this is when the most worrying begins. Here are a few tips to keeping sane until they’re home again – it won’t be long!

Keep busy

While you’re probably a little sad that your child is at school, remember that this is an exciting time for them – and you. Join a club. Exercise more. Go Dancing. Worry about your other children. Get involved in something that you may not have had time for before – it will help you focus on things other than worrying about your T1D.

Join an online forum or a local support group

Ask local JDRF/ADA clinics if there are any support groups for parents with young adult T1Ds in your area. Can’t find any? Create one! Or, if you prefer, check out some of the online forums meant for parents of young adults with diabetes and connect with a group of people going through the same exact thing as you. Request to join our "Parents of the College Diabetes Network" Facebook page to connect with other parents going through the same thing, ask questions, and get support. Also check out TuDiabetes, Children with Diabetes, and Parenting Diabetic Kids.

Take Advantage of Integrated Diabetes Services

Integrated Diabetes Services (IDS) is a private practice headed by award-winning author and certified diabetes educator Gary Scheiner, and can help ease your concerns for your child once they are out on their own. IDS clinicians are all experienced Certified Diabetes    Educators who have type-1 diabetes, so they really do “get it.” They work with students to improve & maintain blood sugar control and provide advanced self-management education in a private, convenient one-on-one format.  They help students get prepped for life in college, work with them once at school, and support those who commute to college but live at home. IDS’s diabetes coaching services are available remotely via phone and the internet (including e-mail, texting and video conferencing).  Evening hours are also offered, making it easy for students with hectic schedules.  IDS offers a special package for CDN members, including:

  • Monthly web-based consultations
  • Fine-tuning glucose control based on downloaded data
  • Teaching critical thinking/problem solving skills
  • Education on pertinent student-centered issues
  • Summaries to parents/guardians (if requested)
  • Emergency supplies as needed/available

To contact IDS with questions or to set up an initial appointment, call toll-free in North America:  (877) 735-3648.  Outside North America, please call +1-610-642-6055, or send an email to info@integrateddiabetes.com.

Send your child a care package

Diabetes or not, it’s really exciting to get mail from home when you’re at school. Send your T1D a package to let them know you’re thinking of them. Here are some suggestions on what to include.
  • Crystal Light packages
  • DVDs
  • Colorful pens/pencils
  • Worried about them forgetting their diabetes supplies in their dorm room? Send them this door hanger!
  • Favorite candy
  • Easy Mac
  • Gum
  • Socks with a silly design on them
  • hand lotion/sanitizer
  • A batch of their favorite baked good
  • Old/funny photos to hang in their dorm
  • Gift card for groceries or a clothing store

Remember that your child isn’t perfect – and that’s okay.

The College Diabetes Network exists because it is so common for people with Type 1 diabetes to have a hard time in college. We are working to change that, but we also know that we can’t force anyone to do anything, and that it takes time for some young adults to realize how important it is to take care of themselves. Be patient. Be supportive.

Home for Break!

        Things are bound to be a little different when your child first returns home from campus. But don't worry - we are here to help! One of our CDN students, Elias, created this handy guide for parents. 

Donate as a CDN Parent


Check out the following resources to for even more information and support:

Hear Our Story

From The Blog

Kendall Nether shares his story with CDN
CDN Student Advice Columnists give advice about navigating the first break home from college.
Maggie tells us about having a parent with T1D

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 CDN is singularly focused on providing young adults with T1D the peer connections they value, and expert resources they need, to successfully manage the challenging transition to independence at college and beyond.

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