Your child may have additional needs, due to his/her cancer diagnosis or due to side effects from the chemotherapy and radiotherapy used to treat the cancer. It also may not be physically possible or advisable for your child to attend school at particular times during treatment owing to risk of infection or other factors. There are supports for children with certain conditions, however these supports will not be provided to children with an ‘illness’. If you are asking your consultant for letters describing your child’s needs ask them to describe the ‘conditions’ the child has, eg peripheral neuropathy, lack of balance, that give rise to the needs rather than the illness itself. The Department of Education has very strict guidelines for providing supports in schools and it can be difficult to get such supports. If your child is seeing a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, audiologist or eye specialist ask each individual for supporting letters also. Your child’s school principal will be able to help you to make applications for these supports and will advise you of the dates such applications are required. Usually applications for the new school year must be in by March.
Explanation of terms
If your child needs more help than other children to participate in and benefit from education because of a physical or mental disability, they are described as having special educational needs.
Special needs education means the educational arrangements that are in place for children with special educational needs. Special needs education is provided in mainstream settings as far as possible. Children who have been diagnosed with a disability may get special needs assistance from resource teachers and perhaps other specialists such as speech and language therapists or educational psychologists.
Learning support is the help given to children who may lag behind other children in school perhaps because of learning difficulties, behavioural problems or undiagnosed disability. This is given by learning support teachers.
Special needs assistants (SNAs) work with children who need non-teaching support perhaps because of a physical disability or behavioural difficulties. Special needs assistants are not there to teach your child, but to ensure that they are safely participating in the school day. Pupils’ needs could range from needing an assistant for a short period each day – for example, to help carry their school bag to and from the school bus – to requiring a full-time assistant.
Resource teacher: certain special needs – such as hearing difficulties – give a child an entitlement to resource hours for one on one teaching outside the class room. These can be used for pre teaching of certain subjects or for reemphasis on what the class teacher has done during the day.
Home Tuition: If your child misses a significant amount of school (more than 20 days) due to treatment or illness or is unable to attend school due to illness he/she will be entitled to home tuition. Please click on the link below for more information. Your school principal will be able to assist you with this also.