VIOLET AHLSCHLAGER & TAHOE
Team: Violet Ahlschlager & Tahoe
Disability: Type 1 diabetes
Partnership Type: Facilitated Medical Alert (subtype: Diabetic Alert)
Handler: Julia Ahlschlager - mother
Match Date: September 7, 2020
Violet Ahlschlager is five years old and was so excited to start school with a local cooperative this year. The pandemic dashed that dream – she’ll be schooled at home this year – and it also put a temporary stop to church activities and ballet lessons that had kept her busy before. There was some fun to be had nearby this summer, though, with swimming in a neighborhood pool. She lives with her mom Julia, her dad David, her younger twin sisters, and their Cockapoo Nora, but there’s more family close by! Her uncle and his family, including two girls of similar ages, live next door, and her grandparents live across the street.
A couple months after she turned four, Violet started having unusual symptoms like excessive sweating, inability to sleep, unusual bruising, and anxiety. Despite persistent parents, multiple doctor visits, and a hospital stay over the next few months, Violet wasn’t diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes until she was hospitalized for a second time in December.
Violet also has a severe food allergy that resulted in multiple hospitalizations in her first few years of life. As a result, she seems to hide it when she isn’t feeling well and rarely talks about it. Illness is mostly apparent because she is anxious and clingy – not easy symptoms to use to monitor a five year old! Violet doesn’t indicate that she has any awareness that her blood glucose is out of range and she rarely mentions her diabetes, but she does like to play doctor and often tends people with diabetes in that role. Julia says that Violet is sometimes weepy when she’s low and angry when she’s high but commonly she has no behavioral changes at all.
About the Partnership
The most significant impacts of Violet’s diabetes on her are:
- Violet’s confidence has dropped significantly and she is very clingy since the onset of her diabetes. She is particularly worried at night and is always asking her parents if they’re checking her blood glucose. She just started sleeping in her own room again.
- It could be life-threatening if she has another F-PIES reaction now, as her reactions involve profuse vomiting and diarrhea for an extended time which would make controlling her blood sugar virtually impossible.
Her family hopes for several things from her partnership with Tahoe:
- Alert: That they can get nighttime alerts so that everyone could sleep better and Violet’s confidence would get a boost.
- Alert: That Violet will be able to range further from her devices (current limit is 20’).
- Alert and Social Therapy: That a dog will help Violet feel more secure, especially at night.