Is it a big problem or a little problem?

Is it a big problem or a little problem? On August 10, 2010 I took my daughter to the doctor while visiting my family in Canada.  I was told that my suspicions were confirmed.  My daughter had Type 1 Diabetes and we needed to go the emergency room RIGHT NOW.  So began the adventure that we, as a family, are still living every day.  As I was trying to stay calm so my daughter wouldn’t freak out any more than she already was I kept hearing a voice in my head: “Is this a big problem or a little problem?”  I couldn’t even answer the question at the time.  But somehow just asking the question helped me take one step at a time.

Amy Egan, M.A., Amy Freedman, M.A., CCC-SLP, Judi Greenberg, M.S., OTR/L, and Sharon Anderson, OTR/L co-authored Is It a Big Problem or a Little Problem? When to Worry, When Not to Worry, and What to Do.  This book can be used as a roadmap through early childhood by helping parents determine the size of a problem, strategies to manage the problem and when outside professionals may be needed.

At school you will sometimes hear teachers ask a student,“Is this a big problem or a little problem?”  When we ask children this question we are including them in the solution process.  They help decide what it will take to solve the problem and how to break a big problem down into manageable steps.  It also helps the children realize that usually what they are facing is a small problem, even if it feels like a huge problem.

What does this mean for me? It means that I get up every night at 2:00am to check my daughter’s glucose levels so that she won’t fall into a diabetic coma by morning.  It means that I carry extra insulin around incase my daughter needs it.  It means that we are quickly becoming a much more organized family.  It means that sometimes my daughter’s school will phone during class time and I will answer.  I apologize for any disruptions this may cause, but with Type 1 Diabetes the little problems can quickly become big problems.  But even then, they are manageable.