What You Need to Know About Your Student's Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis


Learn what IBD is and how it affects kids in and out of the classroom. Teresa Wachs, RN, gives helpful tips on what to expect and how to help kids succeed. This video is for teachers, coaches, principals and school staff. Learn more about IBD treatment at Children’s Watch the rest of our IBD Video Series Partial Transcript: 0:11 You may have been asked to watch this video by a parent of a child who was recently diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. They want you to have more information so you can help advocate for their child ... 0:49 There's not a cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It's managed by medications, surgery, nutritional therapy and psychological support. Symptoms that children can experience can be severe. They can have multiple bouts of bloody diarrhea ten to 12 times a day. They can have extreme fatigue. They can have bad abdominal cramps ... Children that have Inflammatory Bowel Disease have some special needs and I'd like to share with you some of the things that you can do as a coach, as a teacher, as a school personnel to help assure that these children have the best possible experience. 1:42 Some factors that affect their performance and participation at school include fatigue. These kids can be tired because they were up six times last night to go to the bathroom. They can be tired because the prednisone that they're on kept them up last night ... These all can affect the child's alertness and their ability to participate during the day. The medications that we use to treat children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can also have side effects that can affect their performance and their involvement at school ... 3:06 ... Teachers can be very helpful in making sure and keeping their ears and eyes open that kids aren't being bullied or made fun of because of this weight gain and the round face that they can get from prednisone. Absences are inevitable for children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease ... 3:44 So what can we do to help the kids with Inflammatory Bowel Disease? First, we recommend that they all have a 504 Plan in place ... 4:16 A 504 Plan accommodations may not be necessary all the time ... The first accommodation is these kids need to have anytime access to the bathroom. They need to have a system that may be different in each one of your classes but that allows them to quietly slip out without attention being called to them when they need to use the bathroom ... 5:11 Lateness ... when you wake up in the morning, your GI tract wakes up and when an inflamed GI tract wakes up, you have cramps and you have multiple or prolonged visits to the bathroom. Despite their best intentions, they may be late for school. If it's possible for them to have a late start, have a study period or a free period first thing in the morning, that's ideal ... 5:48 Many children with inflammatory bowel disease can't eat normal amounts during mealtime. Their inflammation causes increased caloric needs ... So please allow them to have snacks and have beverages throughout the day ... 6:32 ...If you give a test and the test allows 50 minutes to complete and the student with IBD needs to leave class to use the bathroom, then the clock should stop for their testing period and resume when they return to class ... 7:03 Physical education for children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be a challenge sometimes... So please allow them to determine their level of determination in PE class. Plan for alternative activities that they can do if they're not able to participate in the activities of the day. There should not be a penalty for this accommodation ... 8:02 ... If a child is involved in an after school sport, frequently they're not allowed to participate if they've missed any part of that day at school ... Children with IBD should not be penalized if they're not able to make it to school the entire day ... 9:00 Teachers and coaches and other school personnel have a unique opportunity to observe the kids in situations where parents and medical personnel don't see them. You may pick up that they seem more sad. They seem more anxious. This is a common side effect with the medications and also with having a chronic illness that tends to be treated as something that's more private. If you notice these symptoms, contact the parent ... 10:06 ... We're not looking for special attention. We're not looking for special favors. We're just asking for the school to partner with the medical personnel and the child's family to give them equal opportunities for success in the classroom and throughout their life.