Supporting a student through high school is particularly challenging when they cannot attend due to serious illness or injury. The nature of high school, where each class is in a different room with a different teacher, can lead to inconsistent support across subjects. Many parents and teachers wonder how best to assist a sick student in this environment. Today’s newsletter offers tailored tips for navigating these challenges.
I have a daily check-in between [student] and his parents by email just to say “how’s it going today? Will he be up for lessons in the afternoon?”… So, I’m always on standby that – should he be able to use the robot and make it to the lesson – it’s an option. It’s available.
Clear and consistent communication – between the student, family, teachers, and other stakeholders – is key when supporting a high school student throughout absences and transitions associated with serious health conditions. Ensuring the student receives the right support options, across subjects, is vital.
We recommend parents stay in touch with the school at every turn, to discuss the affects of their child’s health condition and any accommodations they might need. We also recommend having a primary contact, such as a Year Coordinator, Home Room Teacher, or House Head, as they’re well-positioned to work with and support the student across their different classes and needs.
When communicating with schools, it’s best to speak with key personnel and then follow up with a positive and constructive summary email. This creates a documented record, useful for future reference.
Research shows that positive school-family collaborations boost a student’s educational success, highlighted when both parents and teachers advocate for the student’s needs.
Regular interactions help parents track progress and identify areas needing more support. For teachers, staying in touch with the student’s progress and needs – across all learning locations – can lead to applying more effective adjustments across subjects.
In senior years, telepresence can be invaluable to the student in helping them meet national attendance requirements which, of course, is tied to completing their school qualifications.
Four Essential Tips for High School Support
Beyond maintaining open communication with the school, here are four tips which can be helpful for parents who are supporting a sick kid in high school.
- Promote Extra-Curricular Activities and Peer Interaction. Even if a student can’t attend school physically, they can still engage in school activities like clubs, coding, reading groups, or gaming. This can foster a sense of belonging and strengthen ties with the school community.
- Create a Structured Learning Space. Designate a quiet, distraction-free study area at home (harder in hospital!), ensuring the student has access to all necessary materials for their subjects. A conducive study environment supports learning!
- Establish a Routine. A regular schedule offers a sense of normality, stability and structure, benefiting both academic and social engagement for the student. Here, we note that the medical context can overturn the best attempts at planning!
- Academic Support. For a student who’s unwell, parental involvement and positive feedback on their academic endeavours can significantly boost motivation. Getting consistent feedback from teachers encourages learning and builds appreciation.
Transitioning to and through high school is a significant phase in any young person’s journey. With the right adjustments, planning, guidance and encouragement, students with serious medical conditions can navigate high school with greater confidence and connection.
We really must remember to celebrate each milestone, and every moment of success, as we offer support every step of the way.
If you have ideas and tips for supporting a student with serious illness, we’re eager to hear from you! Knowledge sharing is one of the most powerful ways that we can help each other out.
Our connection to our community is vital, and it would be impossible for us to stay the course without your incredible support.
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.