Ronald McDonald House CharitiesIn October and November, CureSearch will host two webinars for school personnel and families on how to care for a student with cancer in the classroom. The goal of these webinars is to provide practical information from clinical experts on how to support a students and family during treatment, strategies for reintegrating a student with cancer into the classroom, and helping staff and families work together to support children. We invite school social workers, school nurses, teachers, and families to join us in learning how to provide compassionate and constructive classroom support when a child has cancer. This webinar series is made possible by a grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities and help from the Child Life Council.

Part 1 – Cancer in the Classroom: Caring for Students After Diagnosis

This webinar will provide guidance to school personnel about what to do when a student in their school is diagnosed with cancer. A general discussion of childhood cancer, its incidence, and short and long term effects will be presented as background. Panelists will then give practical advice about how to support the student and their family during treatment. Detailed discussion of the organization of home hospital instruction and how to prepare for eventual reentry will be provided as well as what to tell classmates and faculty.

This webinar is led by Kathy Wissler, M.Ed and Dr. Michael Amylon.

Kathy WisslerKathryn H. Wissler, M.Ed started her career as a special education teacher and administrator but later served for 18 years on the faculty of the University of Rochester Medical Center as the Educational Liaison for the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Division of Golisano Children’s Hospital @ Strong. In that capacity she provided guidance and advocacy to school districts and parents of children who had educational issues arising from the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, including late effects of treatment. She is currently an educational consultant to families with children who have cancer and other serious illnesses.

Michael AmylonDr. Michael Amylon received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1972 and his M.D. from Stanford University in 1976. After continuing at Stanford in a Pediatric Residency and then Post-doctoral Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Amylon joined the faculty of the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1981. Dr. Amylon also has a long-standing interest in the psychosocial impact of pediatric cancer and its treatment on patients and their families. He previously served as a member of the American Cancer Society’s Peer Review Committee on Psychosocial and Behavioral Research, and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of COCA-I and chairs their Research and Education Committee.

Part 2 – Cancer in the Classroom: Reintegration into the Classroom

Ending treatment can be a time of great transition for children and their families. Patients have endured much with intensive chemotherapy, radiation, hospital admissions, isolation from peer groups, and academic disruption. This webinar will focus on strategies to ease children back to school, with special attention given to social and emotional aspects as well as academic considerations, legal issues related to school, cognitive side effects that can effect learning, and helping school staff and families work together to best support these vulnerable and resilient children.

This webinar will be led by Mindy Szelap, LCSW, and Katie Devine, PhD, MPH.

Mindy SzelapMindy Szelap, LCSW is a clinical social worker in pediatric specialties in San Francisco, CA. She has worked with pediatric oncology patients and children with chronic and life threatening illness in Bay Area children’s hospitals, summer camps, and nonprofit agencies for almost 25 years. She writes, speaks and teaches extensively on topics related to helping children and families better cope and adjust to chronic and critical illness. She also has a private pediatric psychotherapy practice in Oakland, CA.

Katie DevineKatie Devine, PhD, MPH, is a pediatric psychologist working with children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer. Her research focuses on enhancing the psychosocial functioning of childhood cancer patients and survivors. Recent work involved the development and evaluation of a school-based peer leader intervention to improve the social functioning of children surviving brain tumors.

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