We asked one of our community members, about how she creates and maintains good communication with her daughter’s teachers.
Why do you think open and honest communication is important for a parent/ teacher relationship?
Good communication will assist the teachers to have a level of understanding of cystic fibrosis. Communication will allow them to understand the importance of Zoe’s health and what is critical in a school environment to maintain good health and wellbeing.
Can you tell us about your relationship with Zoe’s teachers?
I’ve always set up meetings at the start of the year to explain our expectations of what is required in the classroom/outside the classroom – this, I found has helped set up good foundations for school life and anything that comes up (like excursions). All activities are always thought out with careful consideration and open discussions.
Do you use a Health Care Plan with the school? Is it regularly checked or updated?
We use the health care plan created by CFCC and we use this yearly with each new teacher Zoe has. We update it according to any changes that year.
Over communicate rather than under – don’t have the expectation they know what you are thinking..."
How do you communicate with Zoe’s teachers about her CF and any things they should be aware of?
Our initial communication is formal. We have an in-person meeting to discuss the health care plan (at beginning of the year). Then throughout the year, her teacher prefers to have chats/discussions after school/before school in person (to avoid any miscommunication/interpretation), which I have found very comforting.
Have Zoe’s teachers or school staff ever contacted you to ask questions about her CF? Have you made compromises and adjustments to tasks?
There have been many discussions – for example, the school decided to make homemade ice-cream for an experiment – I explained she would need extra Creon for this and I sent Zoe to school with extra tablets the next day. Zoe is allowed to refill her drink bottle and have as many toilet breaks as required, which is not allowed for other children in her class.
Has your communication with the school lead to any systems that assist Zoe?
Zoe is allowed to have her Creon with her (inside her lunchbox) and given under guidance, she’s also given ample opportunities to go to the toilet as required. There is also a level of understanding that she may have extra absence throughout the year due to illness or hospital appointments.
Do you have any advice for parents about communicating with their child’s teachers?
Over communicate rather than under – don’t have the expectation they know what you are thinking and make sure you advocate/speak up for your child’s needs or special requirements.
Do you have any advice for teachers, when they are communicating with a parent of a child living with CF?
Ask the parents/carers as many questions as possible –they are your ‘educator’s’ when it comes to information about cystic fibrosis – no question is too silly!