For kindergartners through teenagers, it’s back-to-school time. And while this annual rite of passage is often met with groans, for children undergoing cancer treatment, this can be a welcome change – provided you properly prepare.
“School serves as a normalizing experience for kids with cancer, because it’s what their peer group is doing,” says Lisa Northman, PhD, a staff psychologist in the School Liaison Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “It’s important for them to know that even in the midst of their treatment, there is a life available to them outside the hospital. They should participate in this developmental milestone as much as they can.”
While every case is different, and certain types of cancer involve longer inpatient stays and medical restrictions, Northman says there are many ways that parents can work with their school and care team to help children return to the classroom on a regular or occasional basis.