After a child’s physical injuries have healed, cognitive difficulties often remain. Children’s emotional, behavioral and educational needs are often very different than before their injury or illness. The school re-entry team helps to carefully plan a hospitalized child’s successful return to school, in collaboration with the patient and their family.
The school re-entry team is led by a pediatric neuropsychologist and includes a clinical social worker, speech-language pathologist and the rehabilitation clinic nurse. Led by the neuropsychologist, the school re-entry team works with the school, family and patient to understand the child’s level of functioning (strengths, abilities, difficulties, and weaknesses), develop tools for academic success, initiate special accommodations and provide support for social adjustments.
While a patient is in the hospital, the school re-entry team:
- Educates the patient and family on special services and advocates for the patient’s needs in returning to school.
- Helps parents request Individual Education Program (IEP) assessments and 504 plans.
- Coordinates the school’s attendance at a team conference—a multi-disciplinary meeting with the physician, rehab care team and family—prior to discharge.
- Works collaboratively with relevant members of the school to provide coordinated services between the rehabilitation team and the child’s school district to prepare for the child’s return to school.
After discharge, the school re-entry team is present at the patient’s follow-up appointments to provide continuity of care. During the appointment, the team re-assesses the patient’s educational needs and academic progress. Patients are followed by the school re-entry team until a successful return to school in an appropriate educational setting is obtained.
If school services are being adequately provided, the team may discontinue formal intervention. However, if new academic needs arise, the school re-entry team is available to formally intervene with the school district to ensure any new academic needs are met.