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.
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.
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.
MissingSchool has just discovered another technology application for keeping seriously ill kids connected to their classrooms. Enter Webchair… We will keep you updated as we investigate more about this application, which has been developed in The Netherlands. (Photo courtesy of www.ursula.nl).
$20,000 reasons to thank St George Foundation! This week, the Governors of St George Bank Foundation announced the approval of a grant of $20,000 to MissingSchool and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY). The grant means that, together, we can champion first-of-its-kind research in Australia for kids who experience the multiple disadvantages of serious illness and separation from their school friends and education. Go here to read about the research for Keeping Seriously Sick Kids Connected to School: Building Evidence for Transformative Practice.
We applaud the efforts of Dave King, from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Dave took on the challenge this year of running a marathon in every state of Australia, to raise funds for the Back on Track program which supports the educational, social and welfare needs of kids undergoing cancer treatment. Back on Track is funded by the Fight Cancer Foundation in Victoria, coordinated by the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute in Melbourne, and provided in NSW by the Children’s Hospital Westmead. Most recently, on 27 July 2013, Dave completed the Outback Marathon in the Northern Territory in just over 4.5 hours. Still to come are the Adelaide Marathon on 25 August (SA), the Ross Marathon on 1 September (Tasmania), and Blackmores Sydney Marathon on 22 September (NSW). Dave is accompanied on every run by a Children’s Hospital Bandaged Bear, a constant reminder of the kids who have inspired him. To support Dave, visit his website at Have Bear Will Run.
We’ve seen reports from several schools now which are experimenting with robotic technologies to help sick kids maintain a presence in the classroom. These have generally been in the US, although the literature records their use in Russia and some Asian countries also. The robots are mobile, controlled by the student, and carry video-conferencing capabilities to allow the student to interact remotely, but in real time, with classmates and teachers. The robots are expensive, and privacy concerns have been raised as barriers to their adoption, but those students and teachers interviewed for media stories have been unanimous in their enthusiasm. The advertisement from Verizon probably says it all : they’re “making it possible … for a kid to feel like a kid again”.
The Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra, and Wanniassa Community Bank® branches (Bendigo Bank) are delighted to advise that Missing School has been successfully nominated to receive a 100 Community Heroes Grant. The grant, worth $1000, will enable MissingSchool to run an event in the ACT for families, educators, health practitioners and researchers — hopefully the first of many around Australia — called “Keeping Seriously Sick Kids Connected”. The 100 Community Heroes Campaign is a way of showing support for community groups like MissingSchool who are out there making a difference every day. MissingSchool will attend a ceremony on Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 to accept the grant. A big thank you from MissingSchool to Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra, and Wanniassa Community Bank® branches for recognising the importance of keeping seriously sick kids connected to their school communities.