Students With Chronic Illnesses: Guidance for Families
Chronic illnesses affect at least 10 to 15 percent of American children. Responding to the needs of students with chronic conditions, such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, and epilepsy (also known as seizure disorder), in the school setting requires a comprehensive, coordinated, and systematic approach. Students with chronic health conditions can function to their maximum potential if their needs are met. The benefits to students can include better attendance, improved alertness and physical stamina, fewer symptoms, fewer restrictions on participation in physical activities, such as field trips, and fewer medical emergencies. Schools can work together with parents, students, health care providers, and the community to provide a safe and supportive educational environment for students with chronic illnesses and to ensure that students with chronic illnesses have the same educational opportunities as do other students.
- Notify the school of the student's health management needs and diagnosis when appropriate. Notify schools as early as possible and whenever the student's health needs change.
- Provide a written description of the student's health needs at school, including authorizations for medication administration and emergency treatment, signed by the student's health care provider.
- Participate in the development of a school plan to implement the student's health needs:
- Meet with the school team to develop a plan to accommodate the student's needs in all school settings
- Authorize appropriate exchange of information between school health program staff and the student's personal health care providers.
- Communicate significant changes in the student's needs or health status promptly to appropriate school staff.
- Provide an adequate supply of student's medication, in pharmacy-labeled containers, and other supplies to the designated school staff, and replace medications and supplies as needed. This supply should remain at school.
- Provide the school a means of contacting you or another responsible person at all times in case of an emergency or medical problem.
- Educate the student to develop age-appropriate self-care skills.
- Promote good general health, personal care, nutrition, and physical activity.
- Notify an adult about concerns and needs in managing his or her symptoms or the school environment.
- Participate in the care and management of his or her health as appropriate to his or her developmental level.