BILLERICA, Mass. – Families with children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes can feel overwhelmed, but a new tablet app from medical device manufacturer Insulet might help.
“Toby’s T1D Tale” is a virtual storybook intended to teach children ages 5-10 about diabetes and how to manage it. The app tells the story of Toby the Turtle, the mascot for Insulet’s OmniPod insulin pump, from his diagnosis through his doctor visits and treatment.
“The app goes into what Toby might need at school, on a sick day, or on a sleepover,” said Natalie MacMillian, Insulet senior product manager. “The children can see that he goes through the same things, and they learn how he manages his diabetes.”
The content is interactive, and actionable tips and trivia questions follow each chapter. Families are encouraged to read about Toby’s adventures together, then parents can use his story as a teaching tool. Children who have not yet learned to read can opt to have the chapters read digitally to them through the app.
Insulet launched the app at the Children With Diabetes Conference in Orlando, Fla., in July. It was well-received, according to MacMillan.
“We’ve even heard from adults with T1 diabetes who use the app to explain their disease to their own children to help them understand what’s going on with mom or dad,” MacMillan said.
MacMillan said developing the app was a way for Insulet to reach the youngest diabetes patients.
“When we began developing this there wasn’t much out there to help a child understand T1 diabetes,” she said. “We hope it will be used as a combination of raising awareness and education.”
For this first launch, the app is only available in iOS for iPads, and it’s only available in the US. Insulet will explore an Android app in the future.