Returning to school after suffering a burn injury can be frightening, for the child and for the family. It can also cause much anxiety for the school staff because they usually do not know what to expect or what needs the returning student may have. The Burn Center is committed to making this transition from hospital to home to school as easy and positive as possible.
Discussion related to returning to school may start in the hospital or in the outpatient clinic. Any member of the Burn Team can recommend a patient be evaluated for the need for school reentry. Once a need is identified, the hospital school teacher, the Aftercare team, and the medical staff collaborate on the specific needs of the individual patient and formulate a plan. The team then presents its recommendations to the patient and family. If the family agrees with the reentry plan, the hospital school teacher contacts the school and coordinates implementing the plan.
Back to School
Reentry can take a variety of forms. Members of the Burn Team may accompany the patient back to school, offering the opportunity for the student to participate in telling the burn story to teachers and to students. There may be an opportunity for school staff to come together to offer information regarding the needs of the student and to ask direct questions regarding the optimum way to meet these needs.
Reentry might also consist of simply providing information to the parents and school staff regarding student needs and what to expect. There are numerous resources that can be utilized in accomplishing this, such as phone conferencing, DVDs, written recommendations, graduated school days, or a combination of any of these.
School reentry is individualized to the needs of the patient. It may be beneficial to repeat school reentry as students transition from elementary school to middle school to high school. As children experience developmental milestones in their lives and their needs change, the Aftercare team is available for support for as long as the survivor might need it. When possible, the team takes advantage of the opportunity to offer burn and fire prevention education in conjunction with reentry.
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