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THERE ARE SOME PAINFUL FACTS ABOUT SICK KIDS WHO MISS SCHOOL OFTEN, OR FOR LONG PERIODS, AND THESE FACTS NEED OUR ONGOING ATTENTION TO GET CHANGE

 

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The experience of more than 60,000 Australian kids with critical or chronic illness or injury is one of isolation and marginalisation (ABS, 2015; ARACY, 2015).

While entitled to a continuing education, the reality is that kids who are absent are forgotten in a busy school (ARACY, 2015).

Frequent or extended school absences, for illness or treatment, can have profound and enduring consequences:

delays in developmental skills due to missed experiences

school refusal and absenteeism

academic under-achievement

behavioural problems

increased anxiety

attention and concentration problems

reintegration difficulties

specific learning needs

low self-esteem

disruption of friendships

difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships

reduced opportunities for social support

increased vulnerability to other life stressors or secondary illnesses

peer rejection

(Donnan and Webster, 2011; Whiteford, 2010; Shaw and McCabe, 2008; Dockett, 2004; Shiu, 2001).

School absence leads to a host of education-limiting issues that the student experiences when they return to the classroom and can limit the achievement of their social and economic potential.

The importance of maintaining school connection in mitigating the known short- and long-term problems is frequently highlighted in the literature (Porter, 2008; Dockett, 2004; Shiu, 2004a).