Your child’s main job is to be in school. By supporting your child’s attendance at school, studying hard and spending time with peers, you are expressing your conviction that your child can live a normal life. Depending on the demands of treatment and how much school your child has missed, it is possible that there will be catch-up work to do. In some cases, it might be most efficient to work with a home tutor for a few weeks. However, if your child is eager to return to school, help after school or over weekends might be best. In some cases, older students may choose to lose a semester when significant amounts of work have been missed. However, if possible, it is better to allow students to stay with their class by catching up during the summer, if necessary.

Keeping up can be challenging when treatment-related health problems occur. Not uncommonly, illnesses or unexpected hospitalizations can disrupt progress. Although disappointing and even disheartening, there are ways your child can keep up with schoolwork during treatment.

  • Arrange additional tutoring
  • Request an extra copy of all textbooks to keep at home rather than carrying them back and forth and so they are available if your child is absent
  • Contact the teacher about modifying your child’s timeline for handing in homework
  • Request that your child only take exams when he or she is caught up with the class. Helping your child stay on track toward his or her vocational aspirations is the goal of returning to school.

Children with disabilities (including cancer) have the right to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. This can include music and art classes, advanced placement classes or just the same 3rd grade education his or her classmates are getting. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal civil rights act that says that your child has a right to an Individualized Educational program (IEP). This includes an assessment and a plan for your child to get an appropriate education. (For more detailed information, see Learning Problems During or After Treatment)

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