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Maintaining a normal life is important for children and adolescents with a chronic condition. Helping them keep up with their education is very important. With very few exceptions, children and teens with an autoinflammatory disease can go to school as normal. To make attending school as easy as possible for your child, there are things for you to consider, and questions you should ask. We tackle a few of these on this site.

Information creates understanding

If your child has an autoinflammatory disease and attends a regular pre-school, nursery or primary/secondary school, chances are that teachers and classmates may not understand how the illness impacts your child’s life. It’s difficult to understand something if you’re unfamiliar with it, so you can’t really blame the teachers and classmates. What you can do, is talk to them about the illness.

By talking to teachers and classmates you can piece together what might be a puzzle to them – they may never have heard of autoinflammatory conditions, let alone know someone with one. Explaining the causes, the symptoms and what it means for your child day-to-day can improve their understanding of your child and how best to involve them in school activities. In turn, this may help your child settle into everyday life at school and take part in all that it has to offer: learning, play time and sports, school trips, projects, celebrations, and so on.

If your child needs support due to living with an autoinflammatory disease, you should discuss this with their teacher or staff at the school. Make a plan together on what support your child can be provided to make their life at school easier. Depending on your child’s needs, there are all sorts of things that can help, including:

  • Providing a second set of textbooks so they don’t have to carry heavy books back and forth to school each day
  • Allowing more time during written tests
  • Exempting them from certain gym class exercises and assessing their physical education performance in light of any disability
  • Agreeing to late school arrival on some days, e.g., when they have been unwell in the morning but feel better later on
  • Letting them use an elevator or escalator, if available
  • Providing teachers or caregivers with written details of any medication taken during school time, along with permission to give the medication
  • Notifying staff of medical appointments that your child needs to attend as far in advance as possible

 

Missing school time doesn’t mean your child has to miss out on education

Your child may need to miss school from time to time if their symptoms flare. If you’re concerned about your child possibly falling behind in school, make an appointment with your child’s teacher and the vice-principal or principal to find out what arrangements can be made to accommodate your needs.

You may have options such as home schooling, distance learning or tutoring that you can consider if your child is likely to be away from school for long periods of time. Your school or local school board should work with you to find a way to ensure your child has the opportunity to keep up with classmates and not fall behind.

For further information, please see some of the websites in our list of links.

Tim’s Story

A story about a young boy with an autoinflammatory illness

Learn more
Tim's story

NPR/ACZ885/0008E