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Going Back to School Isn't Always So Easy

Posted by lynnesmith in The LLS Blog, 29 August 2014 · 85 views
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, LLS and 2 more...

Returning to school always stirs up mixed emotions but never more so than when cancer treatment is involved.

What will other kids think? Am I behind on my work? Did I miss any fun activities? Do I look different?

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has resources for parents who want to make sure their kids ease back to school smoothly, as well as tools for the educators who will be helping to keep up with the child's needs and making sure any issues are addressed.

How can a parent help?
  • Discuss any fears your child has about school before he or she returns and help him or her develop coping strategies for various situations that might come up. For example, if your child has visible changes from cancer treatment, he or she should be told that they might get teased. Helping your child to learn ways to deal with it and whom to talk to will provide a sense of control over the situation if it occurs.
  • Before your child returns to school, meet with school administrators, teachers and counselors to make sure the staff is aware of your child’s medical condition and ask for any accommodations that may be needed.
  • Allow your child to meet with his or her teacher(s) prior to returning to school in order to reduce anxiety.
  • Ask if someone on the treatment team - many hospitals provide such support – can give a class presentation to help school friends and classmates learn that it is okay to discuss the illness. If your child has physical differences as a result of treatment, such as hair loss, weight gain or scars, it may be helpful to include this topic in the talk with students. Your child can participate in a way that makes him or her comfortable.
  • Ask your child’s physician to write a letter outlining any physical limitations or medical needs your child has, such as the need for extra snacks, water or bathroom breaks.'
LLS’s booklet "Learning and Living With Cancer” discusses the challenges a child may face, laws that protect the educational needs of children with cancer, and specific ways that schools can help meet a child's educational needs. It’s in Spanish too! LLS also has a "My Child Has Cancer"online discussion board where parents can communicate with others experiencing some of the same issues.

For more information, check out LLS's back-to-school resources or contact our Information Specialists at (800) 955-4572.

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