Navigating school can be tough. Navigating school with a chronic illness can be even tougher – the key is finding support and knowing what resources are available to you.
In the fall of my freshman year of high school, I had what I thought was a cold. It soon became clear that it was something more, and I was out of school for the next 2.5 months. Over the span of a few weeks, my body rapidly grew weaker and I became increasingly sensitive to everything – sound, smell, light, and most noticeably pain. During a hospital stay, I was examined by a rheumatologist who would not only diagnose me with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue but become my greatest advocate in helping me navigate the waters of these diagnoses.
Children with chronic illnesses may experience a variety of symptoms that can impact their schooling and overall well-being. Here are five common symptoms that might be observed in such cases:
- Fatigue and Low Energy: Many chronic illnesses can cause persistent fatigue and low energy levels in children. This can lead to difficulty concentrating, participating in physical activities, and staying engaged in classroom activities.
- Frequent Absences: Children with chronic illnesses might experience frequent medical appointments, hospitalizations, or simply days when they are too unwell to attend school. These absences can result in missed lessons, falling behind in coursework, and difficulty keeping up with peers.
- Pain and Discomfort: Chronic pain and discomfort are common symptoms in children with certain chronic illnesses such as juvenile arthritis, fibromyalgia, or inflammatory bowel disease. This can make sitting for extended periods, moving around the school, and participating in physical education challenging.
- Cognitive Difficulties: Some chronic illnesses, such as certain autoimmune disorders or neurological conditions, can lead to cognitive symptoms such as brain fog, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can hinder a child’s ability to process information, complete assignments, and participate in class discussions.
- Emotional and Behavioral Changes: Dealing with a chronic illness can take a toll on a child’s emotional well-being. They might experience feelings of frustration, sadness, anxiety, or isolation. These emotional changes can affect their motivation, social interactions, and willingness to engage in school activities.
I never returned to school full-time that year, and spent the majority of it in a wheelchair. Beyond the standard of Biology, Geometry, English, and History, here are some additional things I learned that year:
- Having a doctor who is a partner in your care and wants to see you succeed is a game changer. It’s YOUR health, and you must take an active role in finding health solutions that fit your needs and goals.
- Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and put your needs first. This applies in the healthcare field, but also in the classroom. If you have questions, concerns, challenges, or ideas, make them known.
- There is no shame in asking for help and it comes in many forms. Talk to your teachers and keep them informed. Talk to your guidance counselor. In some cases (like my own), a 504 plan or IEP may be appropriate – see what options or accommodations may be available to you.
- Having support is essential. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family. Find a support group for your condition or seek help from a counselor. Having people you trust and who understand your situation are important in getting and staying well.
At the Revive Upper Cervical Chiropractic clinic in Cranberry Twp, we offer a complimentary consultation and screening process to determine how we can help. If friends and family live out of town, please let us so we offer the best referral options.
To schedule a consultation with Revive Upper Cervical Chiropractic, call 724-772-7060 or just click the button below.
If you are in or around the Cranberry Township area and are looking for a resource to help you or a child in your life with maybe trouble focusing, fatigue, mental fog, or other learning disorders. At the Revive Upper Cervical Chiropractic in Cranberry Twp PA Our practice is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm; Wednesday from 1 pm to 6 pm. You can also drop by on Fridays between 9 am to 12 noon.
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