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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Kaleen Primary School Representative Council, and their Co-ordinator Melissa Chiles, today ran a school-wide pyjama day to support seriously sick kids who miss school. The students and staff were able to come to school wearing their PJ’s and dressing gowns for a gold coin donation towards the work of MissingSchool. Melissa Chiles spoke to the kids, at their Friday assembly, about the loneliness of being away from school for extended periods. The response to the pyjama day was fantastic, with Kaleen Primary donating $645 to MissingSchool. More importantly, it reminded kids of the importance of sticking together and helping each other through tough times.