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
attention and concentration problems
specific learning needs
disruption of friendships
difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships
reduced opportunities for social support
increased vulnerability to other life stressors or secondary illnesses
(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).