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Going back to school after finding out you have cancer and receiving treatment can be intimidating. The Child Life program and the school program provide a school re-entry presentation to classmates for patients requesting help with this transition. This program focuses on teaching their classmates about their illness, the hospital, physical changes they may notice, and clearing up misconceptions. Some examples of these subjects may include hair loss, multiple absences, use of a wheelchair, any visible catheters, infection control, and misconceptions about contracting cancer. Each school re-entry is individually created with the patient and family to address the specific information they would like shared.
St Jude school program staff and child life specialists can travel to a patient’s school for a re-entry presentation. This allows the patients and classmates to learn in an interactive atmosphere with games, movies, and medical play. It also provides an opportunity for classmates to ask questions so that correct information can be conveyed. For patients living more than 60 miles away, individualized letters for the classroom as well as photographs and videos of the hospital recorded by the patient and their child life specialist can be sent.
If you have a child experiencing issues with transitioning back to school and feel they could benefit from a school re-entry, please contact either the school program or their primary child life specialist.