Returning to school after transplant is a major milestone on the road to recovery. School helps children get back into a normal routine and provides a sense of belonging. Your child may be eager to get back to school. There are things you can do and resources you can use to help with this transition.
Knowing your child’s education rights
After his transplant, Joe received academic support and resources to help with the transition back to school. Read Joe’s story and find out how you can help get support for your child.
Your child has a legal right to their education (K-12). If your child’s medical condition requires special accommodations your child may be entitled to special education services through Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These services and accommodations generally require an evaluation to determine if your child qualifies. Talk to your child’s teacher or school administrator to find out what is required to schedule an evaluation.
If your child qualifies for IDEA, he/she may benefit from an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which may include home tutoring, allowing more time for tests and other accommodations. Ask your transplant center social worker for help getting any required documents.
Continuing schoolwork during recovery
Read more about how to partner with your child’s teachers.
For the first several months after transplant, most children will do schoolwork at home until they’re able to attend school in the classroom--usually after 6-12 months. Talk with your child’s teacher to plan how your child can keep up with class work and stay in touch with classmates. It may be helpful to arrange an IEP for your child during this time.
Meeting with teachers and school administrators
Meeting with your child’s teacher and other school staff before your child returns to school can help ease the transition for you and your child. Help them understand your child’s medical condition and work with your child’s school for any special accommodations. Your child’s school social worker or guidance counselor can help you plan for your child’s return to school.
Good communication between you, your child’s doctor and the school will help with your child’s transition back to school. When you meet with your child’s nurse and teachers, bring a letter from your transplant doctor that explains your child’s recent treatment, recovery, and need for any special accommodations.
Planning for the first day back at school
The first day back at school may cause many different emotions for you and your child. You can prepare together by making plans for your child’s first day back in the classroom. If you live close to your transplant center, ask the child life specialist or nurse from the hospital to visit the class before your child’s return to talk about the transplant and answer questions. If you don’t live close to your transplant center, ask if the school nurse can visit the classroom before your child’s return.
The transplant center child life specialist or nurse can also help you and your child plan how to answer questions when back at school. Older children may prefer to answer questions themselves.
Be The Match® can help you learn more about education plans and connect you with appropriate resources. Contact our patient services coordinators at 1 (888) 999-6743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.