Beginning treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia : schooling issues
Although the present advances in the treatment of leukaemia are very exciting the results come at a cost to both the patient and their family. This article documents the impact of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia on the schooling experience from the perspective of the parent, the sick child and their well siblings. The findings indicate that there are many concerns for the patient related to both absenteeism and reintegration to schooling. Although schooling provides a stabilising force in the life of the well siblings, there are also major problems associated with the absence of the parent in the educational life of the child. Suggestions for addressing these issues are made which include maintaining the connection with the sick child during hospitalisation, welcoming the sick child back at the point of reintegration, being sensitive to the sick child's need to be seen as normal and providing emotional and practical support to well siblings during the treatment experience.