Child and Teen Diabetes Education Program

Who we are

The outpatient Child and Teen Diabetes Education Program at North York General Hospital (NYGH) is a multidisciplinary team consisting of:

  • Physicians: paediatricians and paediatric endocrinologists
  • Certified diabetes educators: registered nurses and registered dietitians
  • Registered social worker
Your child and family are the most important part of the diabetes team. The team will work together to provide care with respect, integrity, excellence and compassion. Our patients come first in everything we do.

Where we are

The program has been at the Branson Ambulatory Care Centre of North York General since 2000.

Clinic visits are joint appointments with the physician and various members of the multidisciplinary team. Clinic days run on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon. We recommend patients attend clinics at least once every three months. It is important for children and families to attend these follow-up visits regularly so the team can help identify and deal with changes as they occur. When you arrive at the clinic, please check in with the clerk at the reception desk. The clerk will let the team know that you have arrived.

Contact us
Diabetes Education Centre, 3rd floor
Branson Ambulatory Care Centre
555 Finch Avenue West
Toronto ON M2R 1N5

Reception: 416-635-2575
Fax: 416-635-2601

What we do

Our team specializes in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as those who are at risk of developing diabetes.

The program offers individualized teaching, counselling and support to children and their families. At each visit, we address topics like:
  • How to prevent and treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) — symptoms, risk and management
  • Insulin doses and blood sugars — pattern management and insulin adjustments
  • How to eat well as a family
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Coping skills
  • Physical activity
Group classes are also offered on carbohydrate counting and sick day management. It is mandatory for each family to attend the sick day sessions once per year.

Newly diagnosed

Your family is starting a journey that will include many changes both now and as your child grows to be a healthy, responsible young adult. Our team is here to assist you and your family through the many ages and stages of diabetes management. Our goal is to guide you in achieving everything that a full life, without limits, includes for you and your family.

What to expect

  • At diagnosis, a minimum of eight hours of education in the first three weeks is required for families to learn about managing diabetes. Family members or close friends are welcome to join you at any appointment.
  • After initial education, your clinic visits will be a minimum of once every three months with the diabetes team (nurse, dietitian, social worker and physician). You can expect each clinic visit to be approximately an hour to an hour and a half in length from your scheduled time.
  • You will have access to nurse/dietitian educators Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. via appointment, telephone, email or fax.
    Our social worker is available on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • You will have access to a paediatric diabetes physician on call for urgent medical situations only, outside of clinic visits.

Topics that will be covered over the first few weeks

  • How to test your blood sugar — we will provide a meter, a prescription for strips, as well as a demonstration and time to practice.
  • How insulin works and how to take it — please come with your insulin to the appointment.
  • What foods affect your blood sugar, and ways to incorporate all the foods you love into your routine.
  • How exercise affects your blood sugars, and how to safely participate in all activities.
  • What to do when you're sick or feeling unwell.
  • Resources will be provided, as well as contact information for the team so you feel continuously supported and connected.

Our clinic's expectations

  • Please be on time for appointments.
  • If you are unable to attend, please call to cancel with as much notice as possible.
  • Please bring the following to each appointment:
    • Your blood sugar records
    • Your blood glucose meter
    • Food records (if requested by the dietitian)
    • An up-to-date list of your medications/insulin doses
  • Please ask questions and always let us know if you do not understand. Diabetes is a new language.
  • Please let us know if you require an interpreter. We will do our best to arrange one for your visits.

Insulin Pump Program

Currently, there are two insulin pumps available in Ontario: Omni Pod and Medtronic. Individuals living with type 1 diabetes are eligible for funding through the Ontario government's Assistive Devices Program (ADP). 

When your child is interested and ready, our team will complete an assessment to review the criteria. Our team members are certified pump trainers and highly skilled with the various pumps available in Ontario. We are also trained in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. We are happy to help answer any questions you might have about insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring, as well as the funding process.

Transition to adult diabetes care

The NYGH Child and Teen program has opened a transition clinic run by Endocrinologist Dr. Vikram Chandurkar. The clinic will be held on Friday mornings, four to five times a year, at the Branson Diabetes Education Centre for young people aged 17 to 23. Dr. Chandurkar will be working alongside the nurses and dietitians from the Child and Teen program, so you will continue to work with familiar health care professionals to help ease the transition.

The transition program will cover topics such as: expected changes and coping, school, insurance, personal matters and driving. Staff will be able to assist in the decision making when choosing an adult program. Please call reception at 416-635-2575 for booking or more information.
Links, videos and useful information

Sick day review sessions
The sick day review group sessions are held monthly at the clinic. We expect each family to attend a review group once per year. Teens above the age of 15 are encouraged to attend the sessions with their parent(s) or guardians. The following are resources provided in the sick day sessions.

Doctor on call instructions Download: Doctor on call instructions Important: please ask switchboard for the paediatric diabetes doctor on call.

Lilly Glucagon website
(Glucagon is a treatment for insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe low blood sugar.)

Newly diagnosed
Diabetes Canada

School and system resources
Diabetes at School
Trillium Drug Program

Medical alert devices
Universal Medical ID

Programs to meet other people living with type 1 diabetes
I Challenge Diabetes
A charity that creates opportunities for people living with type 1 diabetes, of all ages, to improve their lives and enjoy the outdoors.

Private online social support network for youth aged 10-18 with hospital experience. It's free, fun and interactive. To sign up or for more information, ask a staff member or email: support@upopolis.com.

Diabetes Hope Foundation
A not-for-profit organization that help families struggling with the financial and emotional challenges of children living with diabetes through core community health programs.

T1D Think Tank
Brings together patient and health care opinion leaders who are experts in their knowledge of type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes camps and recreational activities
York University Sports Camp — Please ask clinic for more information
DSkate Hockey Program
Connected in Motion
I Challenge Diabetes
Access2Entertainment Easter Seals

Foundations and research
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Diabetes Hope Foundation Scholarship Program
TrialNet is screening relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes to find out if these family members are at risk for developing diabetes
The following three videos were created with the help of the Canadian Diabetes Association, St. Michael's Hospital, health care providers from across Canada, and people living with diabetes who currently use insulin. 
Insulin Questions: How do I treat my low blood sugar? (2:40 minutes)
Insulin Questions: Where do I store my insulin? (1:22 minutes)
   • Insulin Questions: What if I give myself the wrong amount? (1:40 minutes)

Websites to help with self-management of diabetes