School During Eating Disorder Treatment
We take school very seriously, as do our patients and families. Any chronic illness interrupts school and causes worry about grades. For this reason we have a private teacher, Pam Williams-Gifford who works with all patients in the our Kartini Day Treatment Unit. If your child is hospitalized during the school year, please contact your child’s teacher(s) or counselor to get missing assignments. Unless you have your child’s specific permission to do otherwise, please inform school officials on a need-to-know basis only about your child’s diagnosis. We advise you to let your child be in charge of what he/she wants friends and non-essential school officials to know.
Managing School Issues During Treatment
Many patients understandably experience stress as a result of missing school during their treatment in the Kartini Day Treatment Unit. For patients who transition from the hospital into day treatment, this level of stress is often higher due to an increased amount of time away from school. Parents need to play a proactive role in communicating with their child’s school regarding their treatment schedule at Kartini Clinic. Parents may also make a request to our Day Treatment Unit teacher to send specific information to their child’s school and to assist in educational coordination during day treatment. Here is additional information on how to address school issues while your child is in day treatment:
Sign the release form in your parent manual to allow Kartini Clinic providers to communicate with your daughter’s/son’s school.
Request a conference with the school counselor to explore educational options and to ensure your child receives any needed support during and after day treatment..
Request a letter from Kartini Clinic excusing your child from PE classes if she/he has activity restriction during transition from day treatment back to school.
PE or health classes in particular have proven to be a trigger for many of our eating disorder patients, particularly if curricula includes discussion of eating disorders, nutrition, weight loss, and related issues. As a parent, please do not hesitate to request a letter from Kartini Clinic excusing your child from such classes if she/he reports increased stress as a result of participation..
Consider developing a 504 plan or an IEP with the school counselor to ensure that your child receives the support needed to transition successfully back to school and learn to live with a chronic illness.