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School Liaison Program

What is the School Liaison Program?

 

The School Liaison Program helps children and families who are transitioning back to school after a serious illness or extended hospital stay at Baystate Children’s Hospital.  The program aims to address common concerns that children and families may have about returning to school.

 

Returning to school offers children and families a feeling of normalcy, routine, a sense of purpose and hopefulness for the future – all of which may have been altered during treatment.  The program tailors its options to meet the unique, individual needs of your child and school. 

 

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How does the School Liaison Program work?

 

Our Liaison team (comprised of your child’s Child Life Specialist and sometimes a Primary Nurse) is specially trained to provide developmentally appropriate presentations to students in preschool through grade 12 regarding cancer, blood disorders, and other conditions.  These visits are designed to alleviate any anxiety the child may have about returning to school, as well as any anxiety their classmates may have about the returning student.  These visits are also intended to encourage sensitivity and support for the student.

 

During the school visit, the Liaison team discusses basic anatomy, the child’s diagnosis, treatment, side effects, medical procedures, and the emotional aspects of the child’s condition.  We aim to alleviate myths and misconceptions, while fostering a sense of empathetic understanding.  Based upon the individual needs, age, and developmental level of the class, teaching tools may include videos, picture books, teaching dolls, etc.  Students have the opportunity to ask questions and verbalize concerns. 

 

The Liaison Team will work individually with your child and family prior to your child’s return to school, including:

  • What information does your child want to share with his/her classmates?
  • How does your child want us to share this information? (e.g., books, dolls, etc.)
  • What information does your child prefer we not share?
  • What level of participation does your child want during the school visit?

           

How do I know if I should contact the School Liaison Team for my child?

 

The School Liaison Program is ideal for any child who has experienced a lifestyle change as a result of hospitalization or illness.  Many children have minimal problems adjusting and may not be appropriate for a school visit.  Consider how much impact your child’s hospitalization has had on his/her life. 

            

The School Liaison Program is designed to assist any child who has:

  • Experienced a new diagnosis
  • Experienced an extended hospital stay
  • Experienced an amputation or traumatic injury
  • Additional emotional needs related to hospitalization

 

If you are not interested in a school visit, but have questions or concerns about your child returning to school, visit the links below for more information.

 

Just For Parents      

Just For Teachers     

Just For School Nurses   

Tips for Helping Siblings

           

Contact Us

Child Life School Liaison Program
Betsy Arseneau, MA, CCLS II
Baystate Children's Hospital, 759 Chestnut St., Daly 4
Springfield MA, 01199
Phone: 413-794-3145