Conversation Maps in Canada: the First 2 Years

  1. Anne B. Belton, RN, BA, CDE

    Gladys developed type 2 diabetes at age 58. She was concerned when the doctor told her to go to the local diabetes education center (DEC) to learn about diabetes because she had never done well in school. In fact, she disliked school and did not want to get back into a school setting. The DEC secretary told her she would be there for about 2 hours and that she would be with a small group of people who had also just been diagnosed with diabetes.

    When Gladys arrived and saw the Conversation Map on the table, she thought, “Oh, it's a game.” The educator explained that it was not a game, but rather a tool to help stimulate and focus discussion. Although the group started out very quietly, Gladys found that after the first few questions, she and the others were all interacting. She discovered that she actually did know some things about diabetes, but she also realized she learned many new things. One woman in the group lived near her, so they decided they would go for a walk together on the weekend.

    At the end of 2 hours, Gladys said, “That was a nice way to learn about diabetes. I was afraid we were going to be lectured at and told what to do. I met people in the same situation and who have the same worries I do. It was good to see that I am not alone.”

    Conversation Maps: What Are They?

    Conversation Maps are tools used to generate discussion and encourage self-reflection and sharing of the experience of living with diabetes. They are not a game, but they do provide a visual platform to engage participants and allow them to discover facts about diabetes for themselves. Conversation Maps are usually used with small groups led by a facilitator who may …

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    1. doi: 10.2337/diaspect.21.2.139 Diabetes Spectrum vol. 21 no. 2 139-142