Our Family Support Program helps ease the emotional strain a childhood cancer diagnosis takes on families by providing a case manager who stands by a family’s side throughout their journey. NCCS case managers are trained in providing practical and emotional support to parents and caregivers. These dedicated individuals offer support during difficult times, educate parents and caregivers on how to best advocate for their child and provide referrals when needed.
Our Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for children ages 10-17 who are in treatment to be partnered with childhood cancer survivors who are now young adults. The mentors are an experienced guide, trusted ally, and caring role model in helping face the challenges of childhood cancer.
In addition to these programs, many parents struggle with how to manage school issues when their child is in treatment. The following information can help you with this important matter.
Parents may feel an instinct to shelter their child while they are sick, but kids should attend school whenever possible. Research shows that long-term survivors who attended school during treatment had better social skills, more self-confidence and were also less likely to have academic problems than kids who were in tutoring programs at home. However, many children with cancer have to miss school frequently due to treatment, complications, or a compromised immunity. For this reason, many schools offer homebound tutoring or private tutoring to students who must be absent from school over an extended period.
If your child does a homebound program, they would remain enrolled in school and be expected to return as soon as they are able. Most students benefit from intermittent home tutoring, meaning they attend school when they are able, and are tutored at home when they are not. This process can be discussed and arranged through a school counselor. Intermittent instruction, however, may not be right for every child or available in every district.
Sometimes, your child may need to be hospitalized. While he is inpatient, the hospital’s educational coordinator can help with academics. Many coordinators will also help when your child is outpatient.
Unfortunately, by missing school, kids also miss the important socialization lessons that school provides. There are ways to help your child stay involved while they are at home.
Before returning to school, discuss these things with teachers and your principal.
Sometimes, childhood cancer survivors develop difficulties in school as a result of treatment. Academic problems can appear immediately or not show up for several years. A 504 Plan is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and requires schools to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
When your child is first diagnosed, consider requesting a 504 Plan and maintain it through high school. Resources are easier to access when the plan is already in place. Keep in mind; studies on childhood cancer are continually revealing new facts about educational late effects. Childhood cancer is rare and many educators are not familiar with the late effects on learning. Children who are struggling to learn may display difficulties with:
Cancer Treatment May Impact School: How to Convince Your Child’s Teacher
Presented on: 09/28/10 (1hr in length)
Presenter: Mindy Aylward, RN, BSN, CPON
From: Akron Children’s Hospital, Oncology Outreach Educator
Optimizing the Lifelong Health of Childhood Cancer Survivors: School Issues
Presented on: 4/20/11 (1hr in length)
Presenter: Daniel Armstrong PhD.
From: Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
There are federal guidelines in place to ensure that every child’s special educational needs are met. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that “children with disabilities” are entitled to a “free appropriate public education which includes special education and related services to meet the unique needs of all disabled individuals between the ages of 3 – 21.
Related services covered under IDEA include physical, occupational and speech therapies, counseling, sign language interpretation and providing classroom aides. IDEA lists several categories of disabilities and impairments, but most children with cancer are eligible under the “other health impairment” category.
Download our Parents Guide, “The Other Side of the Mountain.”
Advocating for School Support: For the Parents of Childhood Cancer Survivor
Presented on: 10/25/11 (1hr in length)
Presenters: Thurma Deloach, PhD; Leslie Johnson, MA; Julie Tadros, RN, Staff from the Kirkwood, MO School District
National Rehabilitation Information Center
Provides direct, personal and high-quality information to the disability and rehabilitation community. This website offers online publications, searchable databases and timely reference and referral data.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
Conducts educational programs, provides services, and recommends instructional activities to aid those with learning disabilities.