For Teachers

Tips to support a child with a chronic illness in the classroom

Hero Parents

Working as an Educational Team to Support a Student with Chronic Illness

As the person who spends a large part of the week with a student with a chronic illness, you have invaluable insight into his or her daily educational needs.

As it is with all students, your job is to monitor progress and hurdles in learning. For a student with chronic illness, your role is also to be the eyes and ears in the classroom and report back to the team that is supporting the student.

“My role in the team was definitely to stay in constant communication with the parent,” says elementary school teacher Kristal Peterson in this video, “and to make sure the necessary team members were present, to ask questions when I didn’t know or understand something, and to make sure that the best interest of the child was always taken into consideration.”

With parents, colleagues, and medical professionals, you can navigate the challenges—and celebrate the successes—together. Each member of your educational team has a different job, which you can learn about in this video. When you meet, keep track of all information and tasks on the worksheet below. If there is no team in place yet, identify an administrator who can support you.

In addition to working with the other adults in the student’s life, it is important that you acquaint yourself with the educational protections in place for children with chronic illnesses. The downloadable Teachers’ Guide walks you through two key federal laws, IDEA and Section 504.


Two elementary school teachers talk about their roles in the team of adults that supports a student with a chronic illness.

A student’s pediatrician can provide guidance on appropriate educational accommodations. Listen to a physician talk about her role in supporting young patients with chronic illnesses.

An elementary school case manager explains how she facilitates the educational accommodation process for a student with a chronic illness.

Hear from a hospital-based teacher about how she helps students during their absences from school and serves as a liaison between physicians, parents, and teachers.

A school nurse explains how she works to keep students as healthy as possible when they are in school and trains teachers to implement the accommodation plan.

Students who are often absent from school see Hospital Homebound teachers. Here, one describes her role in a student’s educational team.

Hear from an elementary school principal about how she helps manage all the different pieces of a student’s educational team in order to provide a supportive school environment.


Gather and organize information

Keep track of all the information you receive about your student’s chronic illness, its effect, and their educational accommodations.
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