Back to School - A daunting time for young ostomates? - GoldCare

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Back to School – A daunting time for young ostomates?

Children across the UK are preparing to go back to school in the coming week, many for the first time. However, amongst the photos of children in their brand new uniforms there will be a small minority of children who are going to school with more than just books in their bags. School is tough time for many children, but it can be especially scary for those young ostomates who are self conscious about their stoma bag.

There’s the fear of being mocked for being different, and we all know how cruel kids can be who have yet to develop a full sense of empathy. It can be tempting for many children to try and hide their condition as a result, which can lead to a whole set of other problems. We would always encourage everyone, young or old, to be proud of their stoma, not ashamed. If a school has a child with a stoma, it’s critical that all children are educated about them and how it’s saving someone’s life.

The staff will play a huge role in ensuring the a child with stoma is comfortable at school and receiving the care they need. We know from experience that there are so many fantastic teachers and support staff in schools across the country. Those that go above and beyond to ensure all children feel accepted and safe whilst in school. However, they can only help with situations they know about. It’s incredibly important that all staff are aware of a child who has a stoma and should be the first to be informed. For example, special exceptions, such as being able to visit the toilet whenever required, can be made for a child who has a stoma.

Finally, there’s the disruptions to a child’s education to consider. They may miss more classes and school than your average child due to hospital appointments and illness. Most schools will have a plan for dealing with this kind of thing, but it’s absolutely essential that no child is allowed to slip behind in their education due to something that is out of their control. Parents need to do their part, of course, but a school should be able to help a child catch up wherever necessary. This could be through allowing them to take class work home or helping them to keep up-to-date during school time.

It’s important that we start to identify and reduce the stigma around having a stoma, especially in our schools. So, when the new term starts, spare a thought for those children who are battling hidden disabilities of all kinds.

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