KW

Childhood Cancer: Will My Child Be Able to Go to School?

عبدالرحمن حسن علي
مؤســس المنتدى
مؤســس المنتدى
ذكر
الجنسية :
عدد المشاركات عدد المشاركات : 16042
تقييم المشترين تقييم المشترين : 49
واتساب واتساب : 201289700022
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو

في الإثنين 22 أغسطس - 18:42

I distinctly remember "Will my child with cancer be able to go to school?"
being one of the first questions we asked shortly after hearing the
diagnosis from my child's doctor. Because she was a young child, I
needed to remember, school was her job and her social network and it was
the nucleus of her life.
Although some kids may say that they
don't like school, if they are unable to attend for long periods of
time, it has a huge impact on their lives as it removes them from their
social network and gives them one more major reason to feel different
than their peers.
The answer we heard was "No, at least not for a
long time." Keep in mind that each child is different, and depending on
the type of cancer, the stage of the disease and the recommended
treatment protocol, your child might be capable of attending school with
special considerations. This topic proved quite confusing for me. In
retrospect the confusion was probably the result of years of recognizing
how important school was and that kids should not miss school unless
they were really sick. If they miss a day, sometimes it is hard to make
up the work, especially as they get older and enter middle school and
high school. However, under these circumstances, you need to forget
those preconceived notions. The reality is that with one-on-one
tutoring, and with the focus on what your child really needs help with,
most children only need a short period of tutoring to keep them up to
speed with the rest of their class.
Why School Might Be a Struggle
You
are initially overwhelmed with tests, diagnoses and, usually, the
immediate start of treatment. In some cases, hospitalization is required
for port placement or biopsy surgeries shortly after diagnosis.
The
child often feels ill from chemotherapy and the other medications
he/she is prescribed. Some cancer diagnoses require lengthy inpatient
stays as a result of the chemotherapy protocol. However, the trend is
moving toward more children being treated as outpatients. This, combined
with more effective medicines to treat chemotherapy side effects,
increases the likelihood that children can continue their education.
Your
child may miss school frequently and for long periods of time because
of his immune system being suppressed, and he cannot be in places where
there is a risk of catching something. And we all know school is a very
high risk area when it comes to spreading germs.
Children can have high levels of fatigue or severe mobility issues.
Why School is the Right Thing to Do
It
is important for the child undergoing cancer treatment to return to
school as soon as he/she has been medically cleared. Returning to school
offers the child and family a sense of normalcy and a sense of purpose
and allows time to socialize with peers. Often schoolwork can be a
distraction from treatment or painful procedures. Having to go to school
is not only a sign that things are getting back into a routine, it's
also a clear and reassuring message that there is a future.
When
Returning to School Plan for your child's return to school with teachers
and the school guidance counselor beforehand so everyone can be
properly prepared. A 504 plan, specifically OHI (Other Health
Impairment), is a form that can be completed with the help of your
child's guidance counselor. This allows the school to give your child
special accommodations that might be needed as a result of his/her
physical condition. For example, Colleen was in a wheelchair and we
needed to complete a 504 plan so that she could use the staff elevator
and the staff restrooms. In addition, some schools have strict rules
against the wearing of hats.
If your child is more comfortable
wearing a hat after losing her hair, then the 504 plan might
specifically give her permission to wear a hat while on the school
campus. Some hospitals have a school re-entry program where a medical
staff member goes to the school with your child and provides a classroom
presentation to convey age-appropriate information to classmates to
demystify cancer. For example, some children may think it is contagious
and avoid your child when he returns to school. Others need to be given
the opportunity to ask questions about your child's physical condition
(i.e., his hair, a prosthesis, etc.). This presentation empowers your
child through the support of the accompanying medical professional.
It also helps decrease the barrage of questions your child might receive that may increase stress during the first days back.
When Your Child is Out of School
for a Long Time In some cases, your child may just be unable to go back
to school for a long time, like in the case of Colleen. She had a very
advanced case of osteosarcoma, which required aggressive inpatient
treatment, and when she wasn't being treated, she was usually completely
broken down and immune suppressed from the treatment. Fortunately, the
school system and the hospitals have resources to help families in
situations like this.
Outpatient-Talk to your
child's school. There is a system called Homebound to assist children
who will be out of school for four weeks or longer. A teacher will be
provided for up to three hours per week to tutor your child. Ask
neighbors and other family members to help with homework/tutoring. Your
child's teacher will give you a realistic idea of how much time you
should spend each week, but I guarantee it will not be anything close to
what your child spends in school.
Inpatient-We
are fortunate that both of the Triangle-area pediatric oncology
hospitals have "hospital schools." Teachers are available to work with
your child on the specific work that she is doing in class. The hospital
teacher will contact your child's school, find out the appropriate
curriculum and work with your child accordingly.
Also, be sure you
communicate your needs to friends. In our case, the mother of one of
Colleen's classmates volunteered to come in and tutor Colleen twice a
week. She was an elementary school teacher who was taking time off to
raise her children, and she is now a special person in our lives. You
never know who is out there and willing to help you and your family.
The Bottom Line
The emotional well-being of your child requires that his/her mind stay
active and that he remains involved with his social circle as much as
possible. Find ways to help stimulate your child's mind that will also
be fun. There are lots of great homeschooling sites now that can help
with ideas. Origami, reading, puzzles, writing in a journal-there's no
end. Consider giving your child a project that involves social
networking and interacting with people around the world. In the 21st
century, there are lots of great ideas.
If you are thinking "Are
you crazy? I don't even know anything about social networking myself!" I
promise you, there are lots of people in the Triangle that would gladly
spend some time with your child showing them the world through a
laptop! If you don't know where to find them, I do! Send me a note
through the Striving for More website.
Remember, children need
relationships outside of their families, and they need to feel a sense
of accomplishment. If they can't get to school, be creative and come up
with ways to fill those needs for your child.




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