School

Most of us had two feelings at the same time:

wanting to go back to school and being scared of going back.

—Eleven children with cancer

There Is a Rainbow Behind Every Dark Cloud children with cancer often experience disruptions in their education due to repeated hospitalizations, side effects from chemotherapy and radiation, or not feeling well enough to fully participate in daily school life. As their health improves and treatment allows, returning to school can be either a relief or a challenge for children with cancer.

For many children, school is a refuge from the world of hospitals and procedures, a place for fun, friendship, and learning. Because school is the defining structure of children's daily lives, for many children returning to school signals normalcy; indeed, expectations of school attendance impart a clear and reassuring message that there is a future. Other children, however, especially teens, may dread returning to school because of temporary or permanent changes to their appearance or concerns that prolonged absences may have changed their social standing with their friends. Additionally, school can become a major source of frustration for those children who learn differently as a result of treatment.

The issues of educating children with cancer are complex, but most can be successfully managed through planning and good communication. In this chapter, many parents share advice and experiences to help you meet the educational needs of your child.

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