Summer鈥檚 wrapping up and many children, like yours, are preparing to return to school, or to go to school for the first time. If the thought of your child going back to school fills you with dread, you are not alone. It is normal to feel stressed as you assist your child with their transition back to school. Adding a bleeding disorder on top of that can make back to school time seem even more daunting.

HFA has put together a back-to-school checklist for you to assist with your child鈥檚 transition into the classroom.

Tip #1 鈥 Establish communication with your child鈥檚 school

Sending your child with a bleeding disorder back to school can be overwhelming. First and foremost, schedule an educational meeting with your child鈥檚 school principal, teachers, school nurse, and social worker and use this time to talk about your child鈥檚 bleeding disorder:

  • The basics of bleeding disorders
  • How to recognize a bleed and what to do if your child has a bleed
  • What having a bleeding disorder means in the school setting
  • Things to expect
  • When the school should call you

It is your responsibility to communicate your child鈥檚 condition, their activity level and treatment plan. Check out the links at the end of this article for a customizable presentation for this meeting, as well as more back to school tips!

Tip #2 鈥 Develop an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP)

Work with your local HTC, the staff at your child鈥檚 school and the school nurse to develop an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP). All adults in the school setting in contact with your child should not only be aware of your child鈥檚 bleeding disorder, but they should also be made aware of this plan. The purpose of the plan is to identify your child鈥檚 health needs and create solutions to potential health problems that can occur in a school environment. Your IHP should:

  • Include your and your child鈥檚 doctor’s contact information
  • Address both routine and emergency care
  • Include specific instructions for meeting your child鈥檚 healthcare needs
  • Outline any classroom accommodations as well as guidelines regarding participation in PE, recess, field trips and other activities

Tip #3 鈥 Advocate for your child鈥檚 educational needs

As the school year starts, it is important to advocate for any accommodations and/or additional services your child may need to be successful in school. There are different support programs at your child鈥檚 school, such as the 504 Plan or the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), to ensure your child鈥檚 academic success and access to an appropriate learning environment. Your child may be eligible for one of these programs or both, depending on their circumstances. Take some time to consider what accommodations your child would benefit from during the school day and be sure to discuss them with the school. Remember, these plans must be reviewed annually, and you have the right to request a meeting at any time during the school year to discuss your child鈥檚 progress.

Tip #4: Obtain medical information jewelry and protective gear for your child

It is recommended that your child always wear medical identification jewelry, but even more so at school. In an emergency, the bracelet or necklace will alert urgent care providers to your child鈥檚 bleeding disorder.

Another item that can keep your child safe in a school setting is protective gear, such as a helmet or comfy cap, and knee/elbow pads. These items could save your child鈥檚 life! Talk to your child鈥檚 medical care team to see what specific items are a good fit for your little one. If you need assistance with the cost of these items, click the link at the bottom of the blog for the Helping Hands Items Assistance program.

Tip #5 鈥 Encourage your child to seek support at school

While starting the school year is exciting for most kids, it can also be stressful and challenging, especially during a pandemic. Your child may be anxious about having a new teacher, going to a different school or making new friends and having a bleeding disorder may add an additional layer of anxiety.

Create a safe space to listen to your child鈥檚 concerns and acknowledge that it is okay to feel what they are feeling. Encourage your child to build trusting relationships with adults in school, such as a guidance counselor or social worker, that they can talk to about not only their worries and feelings, but about their bleeding disorder.

Additional resources to assist with the college transition:

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