I'm a teacher, and it's terribly frustrating for me to learn that one of my students has an illness only after some type of episode has occurred during class. Let me explain:

A couple years ago, a child started class before his records arrived.  When his mother brought him in, she didn't mention anything about his history of health problems. He appeared somewhat spacey, as if on an extended day-dream, and over the next few days I began to wonder if he was at risk for failure. When the child's school records finally arrived from his previous school, I learned that he had a medical history...of seizures. I called his mom who told me that he was on anti-convulsant medication and that the exact dosage was still being worked out.  Before I had a chance to learn more about what type of seizures he was having, what symptoms I should look for, how I might best help him, the name of the medication he was taking, the dosage plan in place, before I had this information that I consider essential, he moved on to another school.  I  sometimes wonder what happened to this youngster, and wish that I had been better informed!

I have had children with known insect allergies start school without my being aware of their sensitivity, and with fire ants populating the same school as the children, the situation was a dangerous one. Though most parents are open and informative about their child's illness, the potential consequences of not sharing vital health information with a person who spends 6 hours a day for 180 days with a child is scary! 

As the school year begins, I hope that you'll take the time to visit your
childrens' teachers, alert them to any health problems (in the event that an episode occurs during the school day), and  share with them those strategies for handling emergencies you've learned to be effective. In addition, make sure the teacher knows about all medications and any restrictions in activity or diet that you feel are important. 

Please keep your children's teachers informed of any changes in health status, too.  We depend on you. When teachers say things like  "Call me, let me know how your child's doing", know that we are serious. We really do care because your children are the keys that make our jobs so incredibly rewarding. They have become important people in our lives, and we thank you for trusting us with their education. 
Thanks for visiting. Peg

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: March 27, 2009