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School and Peer Support Services

Our staff are here to help your child or teen as they get ready to go through treatment or return to school. 

Teacher teaching in classroom with children in view

Staff members in the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Child Life, Psychology, Transitional Oncology Program (TOP), and School programs offer support to your child or teen as they prepare to undergo treatment or go back to school. 

Services we provide

Talking to classmates

Our team can talk to your child or teen’s classmates about the details your child would like to be shared. We can teach about such topics as:

  • Your child or teen’s illness
  • The hospital
  • Physical changes
  • Mistaken beliefs about your child’s illness
  • Hair loss
  • Multiple absences
  • Use of a wheelchair
  • Visible catheters
  • Infection control

St. Jude School program staff and child life specialists may be available to travel to your child’s school to talk with teachers and classmates. This allows your child and their classmates to learn in an interactive atmosphere with hands-on activities and medical play. It also allows classmates to ask questions so that the correct information can be conveyed.

Services for patients living more than 60 miles away may include individualized letters or PowerPoint presentations for teachers and classmates, photos and videos of the hospital recorded by your child and their child life specialist, or a virtual live classroom presentation by your child life specialist.

Talking to your child or teen

Child life specialists, psychologists, or other members of your child or teen’s care team can have conversations with your child or teen to prepare them for transitioning back to school. In these conversations, professionals can guide your child or teen to develop coping skills that will help them navigate any fears they have about returning to school.

If you feel like your child could benefit from a school or peer support intervention, please contact either the School Program at 901-595-1783 or your primary child life specialist.

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