Knowing what to expect
Classrooms are normally very structured environments where everyone is treated the same and everyone is expected to follow the same rules. This type of environment can help a teacher. But, it also means that you might need things that are generally labeled “against the rules”, like going to the bathroom during the middle of class. You may need to request exceptions to certain classroom rules because you have different needs than the other students. Be confident and not embarrassed about expressing what you need to your teachers.
Teachers may need help to understand the needs of a student with sickle cell
For children with sickle cell, fatigue and pain can influence their ability to concentrate in school. They are also more frequently absent from school compared to other children because they must attend doctors’ appointments or because they are having pain episodes. Children with sickle cell may require extra help or adaptations to the usual school routine.
Children with sickle cell are often smaller in size, have delayed puberty, and experience jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes. This makes them an easy target for bullying and teasing. Because they have to be careful when exercising, they may also have fewer opportunities to play with other kids. Teachers may be able to organize team building activities that allow these children to socialize and build relationships with their peers.
Children with sickle cell may experience pain, and it is essential that teachers know how to react. Parents may want to provide care plans to teachers for symptom management.
Individualized education plans (IEP) can help some students with sickle cell
A 504 plan or an individualized education plan (IEP) provides adaptations to a child’s regular education program. A 504 plan is monitored by classroom teachers, whereas an IEP is controlled and delivered by additional support staff. Both plans are documents to ensure remedial instruction. Parents are involved in the development of the plan, which should be updated yearly to meet the child’s needs.