Diabetes Essential Skills Kit

Diabetes Essential Skills Kit

Diabetes Essential Skills Kit

Date posted: April 7, 2014

Literacy is an important factor in being able to manage personal health.

Created by Project Read, the Diabetes Essential Skills Kit (DESK) is designed to help health practitioners and literacy practitioners work together with patients and learners to develop skills to help them manage pre-diabetes and diabetes. The kit consists of two online resources:

The Essential Skills Profiles resource covers tasks that individuals living with diabetes have to perform on a regular basis. They include the analysis of tasks used to understand a particular type of diabetes, tasks for managing different aspects of the condition, and tasks for managing complications due to diabetes. These Essential Skills profiles can be used to help identify skills that are a barrier to health, to choose learning activities to support skill development, to inform health practitioners of daily diabetes management tasks that could be simplified, and to inform literacy practitioners of the complexity of diabetes management.

The DESK Learning Modules address 6 common barriers to an individual’s independent diabetes self-management. These barriers are:

  • Reading and understanding information
  • Understanding and remembering information given verbally
  • Using math to manage diet
  • Using ratios to calculate insulin dosage
  • Filling in forms
  • Recognizing and analyzing patterns in blood glucose test results.

The 12 learning modules include activities from a variety of context including diabetes, employment and education, so they can be used in a number of settings with learners who have different goals. Each module includes an introduction, the Essential Skills levels (and Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework competencies and descriptors), practitioner instructions, lessons and handouts, and an answer key.

Other resources about diabetes for learners are:

Diabetes and diet: Ivan’s story. Ningwakwe’s healthy life series.
Ivan is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He learns with help from a number of people to successfully manage his diabetes.

An invited threat: diabetes prevention comic book. Healthy Aboriginal Network.
This diabetes prevention comic book is about a young boy and what he likes to eat more than anything – junk food. His family exercises and they eat together at the table, but they don’t always have time to prepare a healthy meal, so they rely on prepared foods. And it’s about someone who has the ability to change the dietary habits of his people – the local store manager. The story was focus group tested with youth and health professionals for its ability to convey the idea of what is, and what is not, healthy food.

Sweetness in life: the diabetes story. (4 DVDs)
It has been said by an elder that the reason why Aboriginal people suffer gravely from diabetes, is because we have lost the “sweetness in life.” In essence, the Aboriginal way of life — eating off the land, getting in touch with the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual elements of life and looking after our bodies — has been lost. The elder went on to say that, “once we have found the sweetness in life, the diabetes will leave us.” This series features knowledgeable and enthusiastic hosts, healthy eating, physical activities, community profiles, and interviews with elders, role models, health practitioners and other fascinating people from across Canada.

To borrow any of these three resources, email library@decoda.ca

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