A comprehensive report into the challenges facing kids who miss school due to significant injury or illness aims to improve outcomes for an estimated 60,000 seriously ill Australian students. Go here to find the report – School Connection For Seriously Sick Kids: who are they, how do we know what works and whose job is it? – released on 12 October, 2015, at Parliament House Canberra.
A Note to Parents and Carers: When Sick Kids Miss School Work (Primary School) Sick kids miss school in three ways: They mightn’t be well enough to attend because of illness, hospital stays, recovery at home, or frequent visits to doctors. They might be physically at school, but feel unwell and can’t concentrate because of that or because their medications make them sleepy, inattentive or impact brain function. The medical condition often has emotional/social impacts on your kid, meaning they may be anxious and/or feel different and isolated from their peers. What The School Is Required To Do For Your kid (According To The Law)
The diners at Grill’d in Belconnen (Canberra) have voted with their burgers. In the restaurant’s January Local Matters donation campaign, MissingSchool was voted number one – of three charitable causes — for our work with Monkey in My Chair. We are delighted to accept the $300 donation.
MissingSchool was thrilled to participate in the “Linking Up for Kids” conference held in Sydney on 14-15 April 2014 by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth partnering with Children’s Healthcare Australasia. The conference brought together 270 representatives from the health, hospital and education sectors to consider how we can improve partnerships between the sectors in order to keep kids well, and to support them better when they are not.
The notion of “inpatient truancy” is interesting and perhaps closer to the truth than is immediately apparent. A kid who is playing truant is a kid who is escaping or avoiding being where he is supposed to be, and that’s exactly what every sick kid in his heart of hearts would like to do.
In an earlier blog post, we mentioned Megan Jackson’s research into how schools can use apps like Skype and FaceTime to keep adolescents with chronic illness connected back to their classroom. Megan is now hoping to hear from people who can comment on how schools might be able to work better to support adolescents with chronic illness, and you can access her online survey here to have your say.
In late 2013, PhD candidate Megan Jackson presented her confirmation seminar at the University of Canberra. In it she described her examination of the potential for linking students with serious chronic illness to their classes and teachers using real-time Voice Over Internet Protocols (VOIP).
You might be interested in an article Judy McKinty, ‘The Play Lady’, has just had published in the International Journal of Play. It’s about a past project to bring kids’ play and traditional games to patients in the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, as a bridge between their lives inside the hospital and outside in the schoolyard.
We are excited about new research being undertaken by the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute (RCHEI) which is exploring the gaps in current understandings of the educational needs of children and young people with chronic illness.
In mid-2013, a student from Berrinba East State School in south-east Queensland contacted MissingSchool about ways of supporting kids who missed school because of serious illness. Hayley had been told she would need a bone marrow transplant, and she and her family knew that she would be spending a lot of time in hospital and even more time at home recovering. Hayley was keen to maintain contact with her class and also to help other kids who might be having a similar experience.
Parents of sick kids should carefully consider their child’s individual needs. It’s not that easy to work out what they will be, especially if you’re dealing with a new diagnosis. They might be about absence, mobility, medication, fatigue, pain, nausea (among others) – or they might be emotional, or social. They are all valid.
This is the first in a series of hints and tips for parents and carers engaging with schools in circumstances of serious illness or disability of a child in their care. As a regular series, we will offer practical strategies to deal with every-day type challenges encountered in the school setting in these circumstances.
It is easy to understand that a child with an illness or disability or both may have their education impacted. They might miss periods of schooling but they may also be distracted by pain, worry or medication, especially if the latter has to be administered at school. Often it is forgotten that siblings of these children can face challenges too in relation to their school experience which might result in emotional, social and academic impacts. Their connections with family and with their school might be compromised.
Practically speaking, there isn’t a simple answer to that question. But then again, if you’re reading this, you probably already know that! The crux of the issue is that when your child is seriously and/or chronically ill it can impact their learning. What can be done about it? The Answer = Plenty. What will be done about it? The Answer = It depends on: the school, the individual school leadership, and most importantly, individual teachers.
When we have a child with, or diagnosed with, a critical and/or chronic medical condition it is generally very confronting. Words like “devastating, shocking, frightening, taxing” may better describe the experience. Our first concern is to focus on our child’s health. Their survival, wellbeing, happiness and the management of the illness becomes our natural priority. It consumes our energy, emotions and often, our financial resources. But somewhere in all of this, the question of “What about school?” will probably arise.