Long term illness and school
A long-term illness may have an impact on a child’s schooling for as little as two weeks while they recover or it may be something that will need to be managed throughout their lifetime. And some of the biggest concerns when starting school is making sure that they don’t miss out on the academic, social and sporting activities made available by schools.
The best outcomes come from a consistent and collaborative approach between parents and schools. It’s important for parents to set up a meeting with the principal and/or teachers to ensure that you’re all on the same page and have the same expectations. Before you do this, it’s also key to decide how much of your child’s health condition you want to share with the school. Although you want to engage your school in as much of a supporting role as possible, you also have a right to protect the privacy of your child.
You can make a plan with your school which outlines the ability of your child to attend school so that they attend as much as possible while getting all the rest and recuperation they need. This plan can also outline an emergency procedure should your child need medical attention while at school.
Getting the best of both worlds
Meeting with your child’s teacher can help you to make sure that you have a working understanding of the curriculum that they will be covering during the period of illness and any areas you need to focus on. Depending upon the needs of your child you may want to gain an understanding of what the minimum requirements are for when they are too unwell to be fully engaged in schooling, as well as the maximum for when they need to be challenged.
Often the biggest difficulty with a long-term illness is not maintaining academic progress but the loss of the social aspect. You can discuss with your child’s teacher what school activities your child can take part in and help your child to maintain their friendships through after school meet ups and making the most of the internet (depending upon age appropriateness).
Depending upon your child’s needs, you can discuss with the school making adjustments to the physical facilities, the uniform, attendance and the curriculum to make things easier for your child. In addition, if the illness occurs during a period of exams, you can request special consideration or a modification to the assessment process.
Educational games and activities, are a great way of maintaining your child’s interest. For some great ideas on where to start, check out the resources below. Another way to maximise children’s interest is to find out what kind of learner your child is. Many children will tend to either learn by seeing, hearing or experiencing. Once you know what works best for them it is easy to tailor activities to this preference.
Other ideas for maintaining interest are:
- Turn learning activities into a competition, with a reward after a certain amount of things have been completed
- Utilise your child’s interests when developing activities
- Change the learning environment - if you can
- Find other parents with similar experiences - they will be the best resource!
Tools and fun to help them learn
Educational websites that can help
Find more about special needs learning and development
- Choosing a school for your special needs child
- Learning disability assessment
- Long term illness and school
- Mobility issues and school
- My friend's different
- Social skills for children with autism
- Support services for children with special needs
Ready Set Learn
Written by Zoey Martin for Kidspot, New Zealand's largest online education resource. Sources include: Kids health info for parents. Zoey is a mum of one, with another on the way, who blogs at Good Goog or follow her on Twitter