Going back to school after long-term illness

Mickey Guisewite, Parent With A Purpose, shares advice for parents on how the best way to help their child return to school after recovering from a long-term illness
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Going back to school after long-term illness

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I think it was extremely important to have good communication with my son’s school from the very onset of his disease. So in the beginning, we wrote an open letter to the school – to the teachers, to the parents – that everybody received. We explained what was going on with our son, that he had cancer, that cancer was a disease that he needed to fight within his own body, it wasn’t something that anybody could catch. We explained that we were going to be out of school a long time and that he was going to get better. The school was fantastic. They had a whole assembly. They sat the kids down at school and explained what had happened to our son and that he was in the hospital getting better. This sort of all led up to when it was time for our son to go back to school seven months later, we wrote another letter that the teachers got and the teachers all sat down and talked about getting our son back into school and making that transition very, very smooth. And we actually even sat down and met with them. Everybody knew that our son didn’t want to dwell on his cancer – that was something that happened, it was behind him and he just wanted to come back and like everybody else be a normal 7th grader. And the teachers were great about talking to the other kids about that and it was okay to come up to him and say, “Welcome back,” but it wasn’t okay to sit down and go, “Did you almost die?” “What was it like?” “Are you going to be okay?” The school did a great job of keeping that at bay and I think that we kind of helped facilitate that.

Mickey Guisewite, Parent With A Purpose, shares advice for parents on how the best way to help their child return to school after recovering from a long-term illness

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Mickey Guisewite

Parent with a Purpose

Mickey Guisewite is a former advertising executive and syndicated newspaper columnist who started The Bottomless Toy Chest after her son successfully completed cancer treatment. The Bottomless Toy Chest is a nonprofit organization devoted to delivering toys, crafts and hands-on activities to hospitalized pediatric cancer patients. Mickey lives at home with her husband, son, daughter, two dogs, two cats and two turtles. When she’s not delivering toys to sick kids, she’s at home trying to find a tiny space on the couch among her two-legged and four-legged family members. 

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