The school year has started once again, in some parts of the country earlier than others. I love the line from the movie “You’ve Got Mail” on autumn, ‘ If I had your address, I’d send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils’.
The first day of school is a day for new school clothes, new backpacks- I had a Scooby-Doo lunchbox one year that I could not wait to use – a time of excitement and anticipation. But what if you’re a child with IBD? Back-to-school excitement and anticipation can also carry with them a measure of IBD-related anxiety and stress.
I’ve had parents share that, before starting at a new school, they’ve taken their child in to scope out where the bathrooms are in relation to classrooms. IBD can make knowing where the bathrooms as important as your locker combination.
But many parents do not know that there are accommodations available for children with IBD. Did you know that children with IBD are entitled to an Emergency Access Bathroom Pass? That means they do not have to wait to get the teacher’s attention or wait to be allowed to leave the classroom if they have to go right away. Such a simple thing can make a huge difference and most parents and children with IBD have no idea that such a thing as an Emergency Access Bathroom Pass even exists.
The thought of having to use a public bathroom can also be a subject of stress for children with IBD. Did you know that you can request access to a private bathroom, usually in the nurse’s office or even in the teacher’s lounge? Knowing that options are available is a great way to minimize the embarrassment of, forgive the frankness but, explosive diarrhea.
For lots more on what additional accommodations are available and other important information about school issues including medications at school, check out the great resources on this subject at http://www.pedsibd.org/parents/livingSchool.html
Know your options and minimize IBD related anxiety – here’s to a great school year!