When the time comes to leave the hospital, part of your child's recovery is getting back into a normal routine, in which school plays a key role. To assist with this transition, the School Re-Entry Program is available to all school-age patients at the San Francisco hospital and is especially effective for children who are re-entering school with a marked cognitive, behavioral or physical change.
While there is no formal re-entry program at our Oakland campus, hospital schoolteachers support the transition back to regular classes by working with teachers and staff at your child's school, making sure they understand any special assistance or accommodations your child needs.
The School Re-Entry Program has four main goals:
- Prepare school staff. Our teachers can provide written and hands-on support to educate the school's staff about your child's condition. With your consent, our teachers will begin communicating with your child's school well before the time comes to leave the hospital. When your child is preparing to leave, our teachers, in collaboration with other members of the medical team, will provide recommendations on school accommodations.
- Make educational recommendations. These depend on your child's individual needs. UCSF staff will contact and may visit the school before your child's return to make sure accommodations are in place and to assist the school in coming up with a safety plan. Hospital-based teachers can also help initiate an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 plan, if appropriate for your child. These recommendations set the stage for a smooth transition.
- Educate classmates. To make sure the entire school community is ready to welcome your child, UCSF staff will make an age-appropriate presentation to teachers and students, so they can understand your child's medical condition. You and your child can decide whether you want to attend this. The presentation demystifies the student's absence and quashes any rumors floating around campus. When better informed, classmates develop empathy for your child's situation.
- Reduce teasing. A classroom presentation is an effective way to prevent teasing, as it empowers classmates, making them "experts." UCSF staff members pose scenarios and create opportunities for classmates to role-play. This allows them to practice what they'll say to your child and to other students in the school who weren't part of the presentation. This process makes the patient a hero, not a victim, and creates a supportive community for your child.
To enroll your child in the School Re-Entry Program of UCSF Benioff San Francisco, call (415) 353-1310, or use extension 3-1310 within the hospital.