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Published:September 1, 2022

DOES YOUR CHILD NEED A MODIFICATION TO SCHOOL DUE TO AN ILLNESS 

I have noted that some of my tweens and teens have needed a 504 plan or an IEP in school. These are both plans that address educational needs or assistance for students while they are in school. The 504 plan allows for accommodations, in regular education for students. An example is extra test time, a quiet room to test, and preferential seating, just to name a few. The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is for someone with a diagnosis that meets the criteria for additional support. This plan allows for accommodations, special instruction, and any other services needed. This can include speech therapy, one on one assistance, transportation, and occupational therapy, just to name a few. 

For this Blog, I am not going to go into great detail about the different plans, I have instead attached a short video that explains the plans in greater detail. I've instead opted to share how not having the above-mentioned plans can impact your child’s mental health. 

When a child is struggling in school due to a disability, mental illness, or health concern, it is unfair to hold them to the same standard as other children. Imagine being a child that suffers from an illness that disrupts their ability to perform as others but you're still expected to perform despite those challenges. That creates pressure and sets that child up for failure. Parents are then constantly encouraging them to complete homework, they may be placed on punishment, miss out on events or family outings because they're behind, or receive other consequences due to their inability to maintain good grades.  Parents should consider how that child may feel given the circumstances mentioned. This child may experience anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty sleeping, thoughts of harming themselves, sadness, irritability, and the list goes on. This also could trigger their medical condition due to their high-stress levels. There are accommodations at the school to help with these types of illnesses or conditions. If you feel like your child may benefit, contact the school and ask for more information on the educational plans offered. 

Link to the video ​​https://youtu.be/0J8q6i7LtMs

-Shareela Allen, LCSW

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