Regular conversations between schools and students can help to improve the educational outcomes of the 500,000 students living with chronic health conditions in Australia.
In a blog post for the Psych4Schools website, Dr Julie White of The Victoria Institute (Victoria University) outlines how parents, schools and students can take simple steps to maintain a healthy dialogue in the interest of education.
Drawing from her recent research, Dr White dispels the myth that students with chronic illness spend prolonged periods in hospital.
“Today it is rare to spend long periods in hospital, with the average stay just 3 nights. More commonly these students spend long or frequent periods of time at home—not well enough to attend school, but not sick enough to be in hospital, “said Dr White.
Students are often keen to re-engage with school but are not always well enough to cope with the demands of full-time study; and even though they have left hospital, they often still need to attend regular medical appointments. These factors coupled with the students’ desire to fit in and simply be seen as just another “ordinary” student means they often don’t speak up and can, therefore, easily go unnoticed. This is neither a good outcome for the student nor the community.
Under Australian disability legislation, provisions have to be made to accommodate these students and their learning, called “reasonable adjustments”. The first step to making these adjustments begin with ensuring an open communication channel exists between the parties involved.
In her article “Improving communication for adolescent students living with health challenges”, Dr White provides simple, effective and practical advice for parents, welfare managers, school administrators, teachers and students to start the conversation. You can read her full post on the Psych4Schools website.