In Session: Diabetes Education

Before you decide where to get diabetes education:

  • Ask your doctor if he or she knows of a diabetes educator or education program nearby.

  • Ask friends who have diabetes if they have received diabetes education they found useful.

  • Call major clinics or hospitals in your area to ask if they have a diabetes education program. Many do.

  • When you make an appointment to see a diabetes educator, tell the person who schedules the appointment that you have visual impairment. Ask ahead of time to receive all print materials that are normally given to sighted people in a format that is accessible to you.

The following web sites have search features to help you find diabetes education programs or individual diabetes educators near you:

Keep in Mind: There is an at-home, college-level course on diabetes self-care offered by the Hadley School for the Blind. The 10-lesson course, Diabetes: Toward Self-Management, is available in braille, large print, online, or audiotape format.

Also, Hadley School offers links to other books that may help you manage your nutrition and diabetes.

Another offering from Hadley is an archived audio presentation on Managing Diabetes with a Healthy Diet.

Something Borrowed: Accessible Books and Magazines on Loan

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has both braille and recorded reading materials available free of charge to anyone who cannot read regular print because of visual, physical, or learning disabilities. Playback equipment is also provided on loan, free of charge. This program is available through a network of regional libraries for any resident of the United States who needs it. For more information about registering for the program, and about books available, visit

A Library Tip: Check the publication date before you order a book. Diabetes treatment is changing and improving rapidly. Any book older than 10 years will have at least some out-of-date information. Publication within the last five years is best.

Magazine Corner

Because of their rapid publication schedules, diabetes magazines are likely to have timely and up-to-date information. These diabetes-related magazines are recommended and available through NLS:

  • Diabetes Forecast, published monthly by the American Diabetes Association

  • Diabetes Lifeline, a newsletter about diabetes issues, published every other month by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service

  • Diabetes Self-Management, published every other month, contains information focused on practical aspects of living with diabetes—available from the North Carolina branch of the NLS by requesting it through your local branch

Better to Own: Recordings for Purchase

  • Diabetes: The Basics, and Living with Diabetes and Visual Impairment. The Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland offers these two recordings in audiotape and CD format. Diabetes: The Basics covers basic information useful to anyone who has diabetes, and was recorded using the voices of people who have visual impairment. Living with Diabetes and Visual Impairment covers adaptations for low vision and blindness.

  • Diabetes: Skills for Self-Care. Milner-Fenwick has made an audio-only version of this videotape, which was produced by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. It is available in audiotape and CD format.

Keep in Mind: Several commercially-produced recorded books about diabetes are available through all the larger online booksellers. Some provide information in line with current medical practice, and some do not. It’s a good idea to ask a diabetes educator or other diabetes care professional about a book before buying it.

Books in Braille

The Braille Group of Buffalo, NY, has several braille versions of diabetes books and pamphlets, including cookbooks, available for order at the same price as standard print versions. For more information, send an e-mail to or call 800-561-8253.

For the Latest: Diabetes Newsletters

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) published Voice of the Diabetic, a quarterly newsletter, from 1994 to 2009. Much of the information included in Voice applies to anyone who has diabetes. Information about adaptations for blindness was included when appropriate. The newsletter covered new research, common diabetes problems, personal stories of others living with diabetes, and recipes. Now much of the information is archived online with a searchable index. Select from the following links for:

  • Back issues
    Reprints of commonly requested articles

NFB has compiled a book of many of the classic, most-used articles that were published in the Voice of the Diabetic: Bridging the Gap: Living With Blindness and Diabetes. It has been published with accessibility in mind, and is available in large print with an audio-recorded CD (in MP3 format) and a read-only text version accessible to screen readers. As of this writing, it is available free to individual users.

Keep in Mind: NFB Newsline is another useful service provided by this organization and is available to anyone who cannot read newspapers due to blindness or a physical disability. By calling the toll-free number and making a selection using a touch-tone phone, a subscriber can hear the current contents of numerous newspapers and magazines. The magazine Diabetes Self-Management is included.

Surfing Solutions: Diabetes Self-Management on the Internet

There’s a lot of good information—and an unfortunate amount of misinformation—about diabetes and vision loss on the web. Here are three that are reputable, well researched, and exceptionally useful: