A Pathway For Parents, From Parents: Part II

As promised, we are continuing to explore different chapters from our digital Parent-to-Parent Guide. Following the Communication Plan featured in last month’s e-newsletter is the Education Plan.

When educating yourself about your child’s cancer, it can be tempting to search the internet for hours on end, trying to gather every piece of information possible. It’s important to remember that the Internet can often be misleading and unreliable.

“I utilized the Internet a lot to find information but would caution parents to be careful to filter what they read. Being a nurse, I was able to do that some, but still found some information to be not entirely accurate and certainly not helpful in terms of trying to find answers for Lauren’s diagnosis,” said Tammy.

Doctors will usually provide a packet of basic information along with your child’s treatment plan. If you want to find more information about your child’s illness, ask your doctor about the websites he or she recommends. This will ensure the information you find is reliable and correct.

If there is any information that you have trouble understanding, ask questions. It’s extremely important to understand your child’s cancer and your doctor and support staff is there to answer any of your questions.

Educating your children the correct way is crucial. This is the cornerstone to helping your child through their cancer journey. Child life staff and psychologists are well-trained professionals who can help you express to your child what to expect from his or her cancer treatment. With resources such as books, toys and DVDs, your child can learn about specific cancer issues appropriately.

“As you know we were very honest with Sarah, and didn’t keep any of the “facts” from her. With the help of the child life specialists, we explained things on her level as they came. It helps to take it a piece at a time as it comes. You have to be truthful so that they will trust you,” said Dianne.

Chemo Duck is a great instrument for educating children on their own level. The following are steps outlined in the Education Plan:

 

  • Talk to the child life specialists
  • Take it a piece at a time from the beginning
  • Keep it age appropriate
  • Tell the truth or be as honest as you can
  • Use all of the resources available

 

It’s important to talk to hospital support staff about contacting your child’s school. They can assist you with paperwork to set up and develop an education plan that is specific to your child’s needs. Your child life specialist should be able to provide useful information and guidebooks for educating children with cancer.

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