Cancer - help at school
Keeping in touch
- As I may be away from school for long periods of time it would really help to know that I am still considered part of the class.
- Please keep me updated on what is going on socially even though I probably cannot attend.
- I will probably find it hard to come back after a long absence so if you keep me involved even from a distance it will go some way to helping with my feelings of anxiety.
Help with schoolwork
- Please liaise with the hospital teaching team and home tutors as it is really important to me to know what work my classmates are doing.
- There will be times I may not be up for doing much but at other times I will be well enough to get on with my work.
- I really want to get on and do what my classmates are doing.
- Using email with the hospital teachers and myself is a great way to get work and information to me quickly and it will allow me to send work back for marking or to simply ask questions if I am not sure about something.
Getting back to school
- It works best if this is planned in advance.
- Ask me and my parents / carers if it is OK to talk to my class and other teachers about my return and some things that may have changed.
- I may be returning to school having lost my hair, my weight may have changed and my face may be swollen due to the drugs I am taking.
- A member of the hospital team may be able to come into school and talk to staff and learners to expain these things.
- Let me adapt my school uniform so that I can feel comfortable.
- I may like to wear a scarf or hat until my hair has grown back.
- I may have special central venous lines inserted for the medication I need.
- Loose clothing may be better for me so I may prefer a wear different shirt or blouse.
- I may feel tired due to the side effects of the treatment as well as due to lack of sleep due to anxiety.
- It would be helpful initially if I could be involved in planning a part time introduction back to school. This could be short days or part of the week.
- It is helpful if you regularly check how things are going.
- I may need to do less PE or have help getting around school, maybe using the lift or having someone to help me carry my bag between classes.
Organising myself and my work
- Due to anxiety and the side effects of treatments I may find it hard to keep things organised.
- This is really a problem at secondary school with so many teachers and subjects.
- There are some things that do help, for example, having a buddy who can check in with me to help make sure I have key dates and equipment organised.
- Encouraging me to use my planner and or electronic organiser if I have a laptop for my work.
- Please remember that I may need additional reminders for things, do this in a supportive way, if I forget remember that I have a lot going on and am not being careless.
Concentration and processing time
- Due to the side effects of the medication I may not be able to focus and process information as I had previously.
- I may find this really disconcerting.
- Talk to me about things you notice in a supportive and contructive way.
- Adapt my work or change seating plans so that I can manage better.
- I don't want you to lower your expectations of me but help me manage my learning and that may require extra help.
- Talk to my parents / carers early on if you think I need significant extra help that may require being assessed for a statement of special educational needs.
It makes a huge difference for me to know that there is an adult at my school who knows all about my condition and who i can talk to if i am worried or unwell