Prepping Children With Sickle Cell Disease for a New School Year
How parents and teachers can help kids manage their health at school
For many young people, summer has come to an end and the new school year has begun. School, no matter the grade or level, comes with both mental and physical challenges. It’s important that we equip children with sickle cell disease with the knowledge and tools they need to have a successful and healthy school year.
School is a different environment from the one children are in at home. For instance, they are free from the constant supervision of their parents. For many, school is where their true colors, beliefs, priorities, and personalities take shape and they become more independent.
It’s important that kids with sickle cell disease understand the importance of looking after their health at school. In order for them to hold their health in high regard, I strongly believe that parents and carers must do all they can to keep the child in the loop about their health.
Frequently speak to your child about what it means to have sickle cell and the impact it can have on their health. I know it’s a complex topic, so try to speak to them in a way they understand, even if you’re just sharing basic information regarding triggers and crisis pain. Once a child understands the relationship between these things, they can be more intentional about preventing a crisis.
In addition to having open conversations with your child about sickle cell, I’d also advise parents and carers to make sure that their child’s teachers are aware of their condition. They should discuss a care plan so that the faculty knows what needs to be done if the child starts to feel unwell. Teachers should also be aware that kids with sickle cell may need to take more breaks, use the toilet more frequently, and stay indoors when the weather is bad. Being familiar with potential triggers helps them minimize the child’s exposure.
When I was young, I didn’t fully understand the disease, and that affected the way I treated myself. I wasn’t aware of my limitations and would consequently end up in compromising situations that often ended with a hospital admission and time away from school. I believe that knowing more about my health at an early age would have made a world of a difference.
I’d love to know if my readers have any other school tips for parents and guardians of children with sickle cell. Could you teach me more about how the disease affects you?
Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.