Childhood Cancer

Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Keeping the teacher and classmates involved

While your child is hospitalized, it helps to stay connected with his teacher and classmates. Parents can help by calling the teacher periodically and bringing notes or taped messages from the sick child to her classmates. Following are some suggestions for keeping the teacher and classmates involved with your child’s life:

  • Give the teacher a copy of the booklet Living and Learning with Cancer (listed in Appendix C, Books and Websites).
  • Have the hospital’s pediatric oncology nurse, social worker, or child life specialist give a presentation to your child’s class about what is happening to their classmate and how he will look and feel when he returns. This talk should include a question and answer session to clear up misconceptions and alleviate fears. All children, especially teenagers, should be involved in deciding what information should be discussed with classmates and whether or not the child/teen wants to be present.
  • Encourage your child’s classmates to keep in touch. The class can make a card or banner or send a group photo. Individual students can call on the phone or send notes, emails, text messages, or pictures.
  • If your child is old enough, allow her to establish a page on a social network site so she can communicate with her friends, express her feelings and thoughts, post photos, and remain connected.
  • If possible, use Skype® or a similar webcam software program to allow your child to interact “face-to-face” with classmates on the Internet, a smartphone, or another electronic device.