The start of a new school year is a stressful and exciting time for both kids and parents. If you’re the parent or caregiver of a child with a bleeding disorder, you have a lot more to consider than just which school supplies to buy. There are precautions you can take before and during the year to ensure things go as smoothly and safely as possible.
Talking to Your Child
The best way to prepare for the new school year is to get together with your child, their doctor, and the school staff to agree on a plan. Start by having a one-on-one conversation with your child. Make sure they understand their condition and encourage them to speak up if they need help or are experiencing a bleed while in school. They should know how important it is to take care of their bleeds right away.
Talking to a Physician
Next, meet with your child’s hemophilia treatment center (HTC) doctor or nurse to come up with a treatment plan. Talk about your child’s participation in sports and other physical activities. You should sit down with the HTC doctor or nurse before any meetings you have with the school regarding bleeding disorders, because it is good to have an overall understanding of things yourself.
Talking to the School Staff
It is important to plan a meeting with the school staff before the school year is in full swing. If you haven’t done this yet, try to organize a meeting as soon as you can; don’t wait for back-to-school night when teachers will be busy meeting with many parents in one evening.
Contact the school nurse, counselor, or principal to organize the meeting. You should talk about safety precautions, the storage and possible use of treatment in school, and the importance of not singling out or embarrassing your child. People who should be at the meeting include:
- You and your child
- Primary teacher(s)
- Gym teacher
- School nurse
- An administrator (eg, principal, vice principal)
- A previous teacher who has experience with your child’s condition (if available)
What to Do During the Year
During the school year, your child needs to be comfortable speaking up if or when bleeds occur, and teachers should be able to recognize bleed symptoms as well. Provide them with a checklist of basic symptoms, as well as an emergency contact list of whom to call if a bleed happens. The same goes for gym class and after school activities—if your child can participate in these activities, the staff should be on the lookout for bleeds or other issues.
If the bleeding disorder causes absences or missed schoolwork, you, your child, and their teacher(s) should work together to figure out the best way to get caught up. Your child should know that it is okay if their condition prevents them from completing some work on time, but that bleeds are not an excuse to put off responsibilities.
Working as a Team
Perhaps the most important thing is to keep in mind that everyone involved is part of a team. You all have the same end goal: to help your child have a productive and enjoyable school year. The school staff may not have much experience with bleeding disorders, which is why it’s important that you all work together throughout the year to ensure your goals are reached.
For printouts on bleed symptoms, emergency contact information, and other useful resources for the school and your child, visit the NovoSecure™ downloads page.
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