You are not alone. We have hundreds of conversations with parents every
year and will work with you and your child’s school to get the best plan.
Your child matters.
Your child deserves a meaningful education and a sense of belonging in their school, regardless of their health situation. We passionately believe that all children should be seen and heard. We also have the evidence that school connection will keep your child in sync socially, nurturing their resilience and identity as a learner. This offers hope by showing your child that they are worth educating and they haven’t been forgotten. Your child’s school is responsible for continuing education for your child under the Disability Standards for Education. We are here to help.
Sick kids can go to school without going to school
Our free-to-families See-Be robot service connects sick kids to their friends, their learning and their school community when they can’t attend. The robots allow the kids to dial into classes from hospital or home to see and hear, be seen and heard, and take their lessons in real-time. The kids can remotely operate and move their robot around their classroom as if they’re there.
“We are incredibly grateful - without the telepresence robot in that classroom, there's absolutely no way that our son would have graduated."
"I believe you are delivering an outstanding service and we feel very lucky that we have been allowed to access it. The team at MissingSchool is always a pleasure to talk to and your compassion and understanding for our unique situations is out of this world. It is a no brainer to me that this service needs to be made available to all families that require it."
"Socially, it was good for Hamish to see his friends. His last treatment was tough and seeing him smile again was good.”
"Without the robot I don’t know where we would be. If it wasn’t for that robot, I just can’t imagine. There’s too much pressure placed on parents already. You’re the parent, teacher, friend, doctor, nurse, the social worker… and to add teacher in the mix it’s a big challenge! There’s no way you could have done all of those things and ensured that she was up-to-date with school work."
"My daughter's robot, Rex (as she calls it) has been an amazing tool and such a fantastic way for her to stay connected with school friends during her long hospital admissions or bouts of sickness. It allowed her to not only stay up to date with her school work but also feel like she was still part of the classroom environment. Rex has been a complete lifesaver for us. I would 100% recommend MissingSchool to any family."
"I think that the most powerful part is it gives them the motivation and the link to their peers. So, they feel motivated to connect and they're not feeling the effects of isolation in treatment."
Tips for engaging your child’s school
Find the right person at the school to be a liaison person. This will enable you to share information on the illness and any current concerns, manage your child’s privacy, notify the likely length of any absences, and implement plans for continuity of learning.
Complete any documentation for your child’s safety while at school. Email any critical information to school staff who need it – including the individual learning and health/safety plans – and ensure the information is kept in the student’s records.
Ask for an individual education/learning plan. This can include establishing formal learning, attendance and assessment adjustments for your child, and cover plans for learning and social connection between all places of care (school, hospital, home).
Maintain regular email communication with teachers. Have materials – such as worksheets, handouts, resources, information, assessments, social activities – emailed to you, or put online, so you can partner in supporting your child.
Request one-to-one videoconferencing and telepresence. Ask your child’s school if your child can have individual teaching and learning opportunities with their teacher through videoconferencing and reach out to MissingSchool for a real-time robot in the classroom.
Why does school matter when my child is seriously ill?
Research verifies that there is no safe threshold for absence and missing
more than 10 school days per semester increases the likelihood of negative effects
on education outcomes. Without school connection, your child’s academic achievement may be hindered, relationships with their peers and teachers disrupted, and isolation from their school community can affect their mental health and wellbeing. School absence increases the risk of disengaging from school and learning, with long-term consequences that may persist into adulthood. Sick kids get lonely and miss their friends and learning – and most want the normality that school life offers, especially when they can’t be there in person.
How can staying connected to school help my child?
Having your child’s school maintain connection can keep your child up-to-date socially and academically, help to normalise a critical period in their life, and give them a chance to be “just kids” rather than patients. The potential positive benefits of school connection for your child include improving mental health outcomes, improving educational engagement and attainment, and reducing social isolation. Benefits can extend to keeping peer relationships, and support families by reducing management fatigue.
What can I expect my child’s school to do?
Schools can help by: collaborating with healthcare services; early intervention and planning with parents; integrated and consistent provision of education across home, school and medical settings; individualised, formalised and actionable agreements and adjustments documenting support for your child; measures addressing your child’s social and emotional needs; and continuous connection between your child, their teachers and peers through real-time assistive telepresence during absences.
What is the Disability Standards for Education and what do they mean?
The Disability Standards for Education require your school to support your child with access to school facilities, assistive devices, accredited curriculum, and learning alongside their peers. The Standards do not limit equality to physical presence, and students who miss school with a serious illness still have a right to access their schools with the help of assistive devices (including technology) and receive ongoing support. Our robots work like access ramps to give sick and absent students an unmistakable presence in their schools.
How is a robot different from zoom or other digital options?
Unlike more static technologies (such as Zoom, Teams, or FaceTime, etc.), robots “teleport” in to your child’s classroom. From their remote location in hospital or at home, they can access their classroom. They can see and hear their teachers and classmates, be seen and heard, and move the robot around their classroom using their own device without the teacher’s intervention. The robot allows your child to participate in their lessons in real time, and be included in learning and shared social experiences (lunchtime, playground, assemblies, and ceremonies). As a proxy for physical presence and movement, the robot gives your child independence.
Get in touch
If you or your child need support, our team is on standby to answer any questions you may have. Simply fill out the form or call us on 1300 237 234.
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