This is how you discuss your child’s state of health at school – with your finger on the pulse | Directory Mayhem

The start of school is in full swing and with each new school year, many parents often have new questions about their child’s health. For children with health conditions, to understand when and how best to communicate with teachers and school staff about a child’s medical needs, determine the right amount of information to disclose, and identify the right programs and services for students who need specially designed lesson plans or placement plans is important but can sometimes be confusing.

dr Ashley Moss, child psychologist at Seattle Children’s, shares some important advice on how parents and caregivers can communicate about their child’s health at school.

Talk to teachers and staff about health

When a child has a medical condition, how it is treated at school is important. Carers must work with their school to ensure their child’s health needs are met and to give them equal opportunities to participate in school and other activities. according to dr Open communication is critical to Moss to ensure the school creates a safe and supportive environment that encourages both learning and participating in activities like their peers. She points out that schools have an obligation to keep a child’s health information confidential.

Creating a written care plan

dr Moss says a family’s medical team is a key resource in learning what information is important to share with a child’s school. Medical teams and organizations dealing with chronic diseases often have helpful online resources with information to share with school staff. She also advises parents and carers to ask their medical team for housing recommendations to share with their child’s school.

In addition, according to Dr. Moss one of the best ways to ensure students are receiving the care they need is to create a written care plan that outlines the specific care students may need at school. Written care plans or physician orders are used as the basis for a Section 504 plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan, which may include housing for children with special health needs.

“Give consent to your medical team and your child’s school to communicate directly so that everyone caring for your child has information about their medical needs,” explained Dr. moss “Parents and carers are usually required to sign a release statement giving permission for the school and medical team to share information. School staff should know how to contact your child’s medical team, especially in the event of an emergency.”

Understand IEPs and 504 plans

dr Moss says there are important differences between an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and a 504 plan, but notes that not all students with disabilities require special instruction.

Ashley Charlene Moss, PHD of Seattle Children’s

“An IEP is being developed for children with disabilities who need specific instruction to meet their educational needs,” she explained. “504 plans are used for students with disabilities who do not require special instruction but need assurance that they will have access to educational opportunities and services. IEPs and 504 plans should be reviewed annually and updated as necessary or if there are significant changes in your child’s health or treatment. This will ensure that students receive the most effective accommodations to meet their health needs in the school environment.”

dr Moss says 504 plans can help bridge the gap for students with chronic health conditions and that the accommodations provided are designed to remove barriers to learning and prepare students to perform at their best in school. She adds that students with medical conditions may need housing specifically tailored to their health needs, which can help reduce the impact of their medical condition on their academic functioning.

“The 504 Plan takes children from elementary school through high school,” explained Dr. moss “Reviewing and adjusting the 504 plan at the time of transition to a new school is especially important to ensure new school staff are on the same page with families. Schools often have a 504 or IEP coordinator, so plan to talk to them about your child’s medical needs as soon as possible. You can also speak to your child’s principal or other school administrators to start the assessment process.”

She suggests that parents reach out to their child’s school to ensure they can contribute to the process of developing a plan.

share information appropriately

Sharing information about children’s health needs is critical to ensuring school staff are ready to protect your child and support their engagement in the classroom and other activities.

“Some parents and caregivers worry about sharing information about their child’s health, but the more school staff know, the better prepared they will be to help their child throughout school,” added Dr. added moss. “If school staff do not have information about your child’s health status and medical needs at school, they may make incorrect assumptions about your child’s behavior and academic performance.”

It is also beneficial to provide a brief medical history detailing diagnosis(s), contact information for the child’s medical team, any medications or procedures required during the school day, and any special dietary or transportation needs.

dr Moss also suggests having plans for missed class times for doctor’s appointments, trips to the nurse’s office, and other emergency response. She advises parents and carers to think about any special precautions, signs or symptoms the school should be aware of and how to respond to these situations.

Communication is key

“When students miss a lot of school because of their health condition, parents, carers and the school should try to reduce the impact on schoolwork and social relationships,” said Dr. moss “Keep kids connected with their peers, provide support to make new friends and try to maintain normalcy.”

She adds that responding to the needs of children with medical conditions requires a comprehensive, coordinated and systematic approach informed by the medical team.

“Students with chronic conditions can reach their maximum potential when their needs are met,” said Dr. moss “Open communication about student health needs can promote better participation, improved engagement, fewer symptoms, fewer restrictions on participation in activities, and fewer medical emergencies.”


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