Bleeding disorders and school

Starting or changing school, whether it is nursery, primary or secondary school, can be a daunting time for any parent.

Parents of children with bleeding disorders spend their lives coordinating and planning for both the obvious and the unexpected, working hard to maintain as normal a life as possible. While they recognise the need for someone else to be involved with their child’s education, this also means letting someone else monitor and support their child’s needs in relation to their bleeding disorder.

Children with bleeding disorders like to be treated as ‘normal’ at school especially when with friends. They will be able to participate in most of the same activities as other children. Many have had their bleeding disorder diagnosed since birth and have had time to be aware of their disorder.

Older children should be able to identify if they are having a bleed even before any symptoms are detected. It is important to remember that the parent, and often the child, is the expert. They will be able to fill you in on the details of how the condition affects them.

The child will be registered and followed up at a haemophilia centre and the team there can provide advice and support. The haemophilia nurse will liaise with the school and can visit in person to provide advice in developing a care plan if requested. This can be particularly helpful in ensuring everyone is confident in what to do.

All inherited bleeding disorders are rare, and our Bleeding disorders and school booklet concentrates on the most common: haemophilia and von Willebrand disease (VWD). With any bleeding disorder, any action that needs to be taken at a nursery or school will be similar.

The information in the booklet is designed to help teachers and parents create an appropriate care plan to meet the specific needs of a child with a bleeding disorder. The desired outcome is happy, healthy and safe children and confident teaching staff who know enough to act appropriately and seek advice when they need to.

Most teachers will never have come across a child with a bleeding disorder and will need guidance and support to feel confident in meeting their needs while at school. Schools are busy and dynamic places, but it is important that several people within the school understand the needs of a child with a bleeding disorder, so there will always be someone available if a child needs help and support.

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