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Case Study: Improving the lives of children with Sickle Cell disorders: An information pack for teachers and school nurses funded by the QNI.
Project leaders: Daksha Elliott and Rebecca Sekyere
Sickle Cell Disease is a severe, inherited red blood cell disorder which affects all organs of the body and all aspects of a person's life. In children it often leads to disruption of their education. There is a general lack of understanding of the condition in the education system even though knowledge about the condition can make a great difference to a child’s life.
'Sally' is an 11 year old girl who suffers from Sickle Cell Anaemia. Sally’s health at school was suffering, made worse by the fact that other children and teachers did not understand the disease and its implications. Many classmates thought that Sickle Cell Disorder is contagious which meant Sally had no friends. She wasn’t always allowed to use the bathroom when she needed (people with SCD need to keep well hydrated and need to use the bathroom often as their kidneys are unable to concentrate urine). Sally’s class had never received the 100% attendance award and Sally had been made to feel that it was her fault.
A meeting with the school nurse and class teacher was arranged to discuss Sally’s case and also educate the staff (with the use of the information pack) about Sickle Cell Disorder, its implications, how to prevent problems at school and danger signs to look out for as well as making sure the child does not feel singled out. Sally also asked for some teaching sessions with her classmates. We met Sally’s classmates and explained in basic terms what Sickle Cell Disorder is, what causes it, what an individual with Sickle Cell Disorder has to cope with and how important it is to be supported by their peers.
At the end of the session the pupils were allowed to ask questions and when asked to summarise the learning of the session were able to recall everything accurately. Sally was very pleased about the session because it made a great impact on the attitude of her peers and teachers; people became more understanding to her condition, and much more supportive. Provisions were made for Sally to catch up with any class work that was missed because of absences and her attendance and performance at school improved.'
To read more about the condition visit NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Sickle-cell-anaemia/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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