The end of summer and the beginning of the school year brings conflicting emotions. Kids say goodbye to their long vacation, but hello to a new grade and new friends.
For kids with psoriatic disease, heading back to school may stir up an extra serving of anxiety. To help you and your children navigate this transition, NPF launched Our Spot, a site devoted to the 700,000-plus people under the age of 18 who have psoriatic disease in the U.S.
Our Spot offers a School Action Kit that you can share with teachers, administrators and classmates. The kit includes sample letters addressed to school, fact sheets on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, PowerPoint presentations for classroom use, a Parent Guide and much more.
Help for busy administrators
Schools usually have some kind of process to help integrate a child with a chronic disease into their classrooms, explains Michele Harmala, Ph.D., former school superintendent, and associate professor and graduate director of the College of Education at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.
An example of a chronic disease that schools commonly encounter is diabetes. “Children with diabetes have varying ranges of their condition, just like kids with psoriatic disease,” she says. “What these children need comes down to a case-by-case basis,” worked out among teachers, the principal and the family. “You always work with the family,” Harmala says.
In the U.S., 82 percent of public schools and 35 percent of private schools have a full- or part-time nurse on staff, according to the National Association of School Nurses. If your school has a nurse, make sure he or she is included in any conversations about your child’s disease or changes in treatment.
Harmala praised the resources available in the School Action Kit on Our Spot. “I liked their ease of use,” she says. “They were nice and quick, accessible, and not tremendously lengthy.” The resources are just the thing for busy administrators who must absorb enough about a child’s situation to be able to respond to each individual. “We always ask one question,” Harmala says. “Here’s the child. What do we do?”
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.