Your Child's School
Your child with a bleeding disorder will benefit the most from attending a regular school with children who don’t have bleeding disorders. In a regular school, she or he can learn to lead a more normal life. You will have to form a good relationship with the principal and teachers at the school. Meet with them to discuss the bleeding disorder, its treatment, and the things your child can and cannot do. You will want to plan with them how to handle bleeding at school. Educate them that easy bruising is very common. Be sure to stress that although first aid is the same for the child with hemophilia as for other children, you must be called right away if he has a head, neck, or throat injury.
Some hemophilia treatment centers will send a nurse or social worker to the school to educate the staff. They can take a packet of information written just for teachers.
The teacher can be a great help in taking care of your child's bleeding disorder. Educate the teacher! Ask the teacher to allow your daughter to be excused to the restroom as often as necessary to change her tampon or pad. Let the teachers know that your daughter is not trying to get out of class.
For the child with hemophilia, ask the teacher to watch for signs of bleeding. This is especially important if your child is slow to report bleeds. Signs a teacher might notice are limping, not using an arm or leg, swelling, or any unusual complaints. Remind the teacher that no one, including the teacher and the child, will be blamed if the child bleeds at school.
Let the teacher know that you expect your child to be treated the same as the other children. Special treatment by his teacher will not help your child learn to take responsibility for herself or himself. However, you might remind the teacher not to use physical punishment. The teacher does not need to caution the other children to treat your child with special care. Paying too much attention to the bleeding disorder may make your child feel vulnerable.
Stress to your child how important it is to attend school every day. If your child must miss school, insist that any missed school work be made up. Encourage your child to take part in school activities. He or she can attend physical education (PE) classes. Exercise will build strong muscles which can protect the joints of boys with hemophilia. In girls, exercise can help decrease cramps from periods. Children with severe bleeding disorders need to avoid contact sports.
This checklist will help you to remember points to cover when you explain your child’s bleeding disorder to adults (such as teachers) who will be responsible for him or her. You may not want to include all these points with every adult. You may want to add some others. It often helps to list what you want to talk about.
Checklist of Things to Discuss with Adults Responsible for My Child
- The basics of the bleeding disorder and its treatment
- That my child will not quickly bleed to death as so many people think
- That small cuts and scrapes will not need special medication
- The need for my child to be treated the same way as other children
- The things my child does well and things he or she should not do
- The importance of exercise and other activities for my child
- First aid for my child (generally the same as for all children)
- That my child must never be given aspirin or other pain relievers without my okay
- That easy bruising is a very visible part of having a bleeding disorder
- Signs of bleeding that adults might notice in my child
- What to do in the event of a life-threatening emergency (Give the adult a copy of the child's medical identification to pass on to the emergency room staff.)
- When I should be called immediately
- Telephone numbers where I can be reached
- Other __________________________________________________________