7 Ways to Help a Child With Psoriasis Head Back to School
Eileen Bailey | Aug 8, 2017
The start of a new school year can be difficult for children with psoriasis. A new teacher might not be familiar with your child or their medical needs. If your child is heading to a new school, you’ll want to let the staff know. Read through to see what steps you can take to help ease this transition.
Meet the teachers
Set up a meeting with new teachers in the beginning of the year. Use this time to educate those who aren’t familiar with psoriasis on how it affects your child. You can print out fact sheets to provide some basic information. Some online fact sheets can be found at Back to School Fact Sheet on Psoriasis in Children, Patient Information Fact Sheet, National Psoriasis Foundation Fact Sheet and Children with Psoriasis.
Check in with the school nurse
If your child sometimes needs help or medication during the school day, set up a time to talk to the school nurse. Explain your child’s needs, including how to apply medication, how often to apply it, and warning signs of more serious problems. Be prepared with written instructions from your child’s doctor (even if you are supplying over-the counter-medications).
Ask your child what makes him comfortable
Should you talk to other parents about your child? Should you share information with classmates in an effort to spread understanding? Some children feel comfortable with sharing information and some appreciate their parents’ efforts to raise awareness. Others are embarrassed when parents come to school to talk about psoriasis. Before deciding how to best support your child, ask.
Handle bullying with care
If a classmate is teasing, bullying, or otherwise harassing your child, you might be ready to step in and demand something be done. First, take a breath. Quickly reacting sometimes makes the situation worse because the bully sees your child as the “snitch.” Instead, talk privately with the teacher and guidance counselor. Ask them to keep an eye out and look for incidents where they can catch the bully in action.
Ask about accommodations
Discuss accommodations with the school. Psoriasis is a medical condition which may result in special needs. Time away from school for doctors’ appointments, missed days, needing to leave class to go to the nurse’s office, or evenings when the pain and discomfort prevent completion of homework are all possible disruptions to school. If psoriasis is interfering with your child’s education, request an evaluation for accommodations.
Help your child connect with other kids
Some children with psoriasis feel socially alone or like outcasts. Look for opportunities for your child to socialize with others. Scouting troops or afterschool activities with small groups can help your child develop friendships. Ask the teacher to help reduce the stigma in the classroom and help your child make friends.
Look for support outside the classroom
Look for opportunities outside of school to increase your child’s self-esteem and provide social support. Talk to the school nurse or guidance counselor about setting up a support group with other children with psoriasis or contact the National Psoriasis Foundation and ask about support groups and youth programs. It helps for children to know they aren’t alone.