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Chronic Medical Conditions:

Allergic Conditions, Asthma, Diabetes and Epilepsy

These units help students understand which part of the body is affected by each condition, how each can be monitored and managed, and how to help and be a friend to people affected by each condition.

Key themes:

  • Allergies, asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy are not contagious.
  • These conditions are chronic and can usually be managed with proper medical care, medications, advance planning, and lifestyle adjustments, but there is presently no cure for any of them.
  • Allergies, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy are “hidden” conditions. You cannot tell by looking at someone whether he or she has any of these conditions.
  • Being patient and offering help when needed are some of the best ways to be a friend to someone with a chronic medical condition.

Information is presented about the range of strengths and challenges of people with chronic medical conditions, and suggestions for how to be inclusive and an ally are covered. Students learn that although having a chronic medical condition may affect the way someone plays and interacts, they still want to be included and to have friends.

boy with diabetes checking blood sugar with friends watching

I learned not to be afraid of people that have a kind of a medical condition that you might not see, and I learned what I can do to help.”


Program implementation is flexible and can be adapted for a remote, hybrid or in-person classroom. A typical 1 ½-hour session for second, third, fourth or fifth graders includes an informational video, one hands-on activity per condition and a talk by a speaker with an allergic condition, asthma, diabetes or epilepsy, who describes their life experiences and answers students’ questions. Recommended grade level: 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade.

Sample Questions from Fourth Graders about Diabetes

  • I have diabetes too. Does it get harder or more different? Do you get sick more easily? 
  • Will you always have diabetes?
  • Does it hurt?
  • Are you good at math? 
  • What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2? 
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