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Classroom Accommodations

Childhood cancer treatment may have long-lasting side effects that can affect learning.

Sometimes children and teens may struggle in school in ways they didn’t before treatment. Some students may have problems focusing and paying attention.

But there are ways to help children adapt to changes. The key to getting the most out of these options is for your family, school, and hospital to work together. A school liaison can help you with putting this team together.

Some treatments can affect:

  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Focus
  • Attention
  • Processing
  • Organization

Federal law provides for supports and services through Individualized Educational Programs (IEP) and 504 Plans. The goal of both is help students with challenges learn better.

IEP or 504 Plan Meeting

What Will Happen during the Meeting?

The 504 Plan or IEP meeting may include:

  • School administrators
  • Counselor
  • Teachers from school
  • Parents
  • Hospital school program teacher or liaison (may be done by conference call if needed)

The group will discuss the specific accommodations or support services your child might need in school. Members will identify the problems your child is having and propose solutions.

What Information Should I Bring to my Meeting?

You know your child better than anyone.

Suggest approaches that have worked in the past.

Bring information about your child’s cancer and the side effects of treatment to share with educators.

What are Tips for an Effective IEP or 504 Plan?

It’s important that the IEP or 504 Plan be specific in the wording of accommodations or support services your child needs. This wording can eliminate confusion. For example, if your child is to receive memory aids, name the exact memory aids.

Make sure to document who is responsible for carrying out the different parts of the IEP or 504 Plan. Discuss all school settings that might require supports – each classroom your child spends time in, outdoor recess and physical education, and field trips.

You know your child better than anyone. Be your child’s advocate in planning and monitoring your child’s progress. If you believe your child’s needs aren’t being met, request a meeting to discuss needed changes.

For more information, talk to your hospital’s school liaison or teacher or administrator at your child’s school.

Reviewed: July 2019