Each year, tens of thousands of children are diagnosed with cancer. One of the best psychological and emotional treatments is to allow the child (if physically capable) to continue to attend school. Allowing the child to be with his or her peers, to continue on with a daily routine and schedule, will often lead to positive psychological effects.

To make this happen, the family, treatment facility and school need to “team” to come up with a practical plan. The team should include the child, the parent(s) or guardian(s) and cancer treatment facility staff. Many treatment facilities have family social workers, case managers, nurses, doctors and educational specialist that are capable of participating on this team. The child’s school counselor, school social worker and school nurse are capable of representing the school. It’s not necessary, in most cases, of getting everyone together in one room for a meeting, but important to have at least one representative from the treatment center, school and family communicating.

The following considerations need to be made while planning an appropriate school plan for a child who has been diagnosed with cancer:

Is the child capable of attending school for a full or partial school day?

Does the child have special transportation needs?

Does the child’s school schedule need to be changed or modified?

Does the hospital or treatment facility have specific diet recommendations for the child and school to follow?

What are the treatment facilities recommendations for the school nurse, school social worker or counselor?

Can the child still participate in extra-curricular activities that the school offers? These activities to discuss include sports, drama and school clubs.

Pressure and stress: The team needs to discuss the physical and emotional demands that the child may be facing. Stress “triggers” can change daily. The treatment plans that are flexible often have a better chance of succeeding.

If the child going through chemotherapy and losing hair, will the child be allowed to wear a hat in school? What other school rules need to be modified or changed to meet the child’s needs, or places the child in a rule exception situation?

Children who have cancer need everyone’s help and support. When treatment facilities, families and schools come together and “team” to support a child diagnosed with cancer, the child is given a better chance and options to reduce stress and succeed in feeling good about his or her day.

Author's Bio: 

Scott Wardell is the creator and author of ScottCounseling.com, a parenting Web site specifically designed to meet parenting counseling and parenting article information needs.