Surviving High School with a Chronic Illness

Going back to school can be stressful. Adding a chronic illness makes the situation more daunting.

If you are one of the many teenagers living with a chronic illness, we know how hard it can be to face another school year. We are here to share some tips on things you can do to help thrive in school this year.

Watch the Video: Surviving High School with a Chronic Illness

Get Up-Close and Personal with Your Condition

You will learn many things in school, but learning about your disease is not likely to be one of them.

Educating yourself on your symptoms, how the disease progresses, and what benefits and side effects to expect from your medication are crucial to leading the best life you can.

Your doctor will prove an excellent ally as you educate yourself. Make sure to reach out to them with any questions and ask them to recommend websites and support groups you can join.

Get Comfortable Educating Others

When you first received your diagnosis, you probably didn’t know or had misconceptions about your illness. Unfortunately, this is true for most people, including your teachers and peers.

As a result, you will get many questions regarding your chronic disease and how it affects your daily life. Try to answer as many as possible, but let people know when a question makes you uncomfortable. 

Don’t feel pressured into having to answer all questions, but know that helping others understand what you are dealing with can help them become more accommodating to your needs.

Know and Accept Your Limits

Having a chronic illness can change you. You are likely to adopt lifestyle changes, and there might be things you used to do that are now more challenging.

Pushing yourself to be the best you can be is not bad. However, going beyond your limits or trying to blend in with your classmates can be disastrous.

Chronic illnesses are unpredictable. When you are having a good day, it’s almost easy to forget you are sick, but when you have a flare-up, the things you did just a few days before seem impossible to accomplish. That is why you need to know, understand, and accept your ever-changing limitations and learn to communicate them.

Get a 504 Plan

Section 504 is a federal law that requires school districts to provide regular or special education, assistance, and services to students with any disability.

You can apply for a 504 plan with the help of your doctor and school nurse. The plan will ensure you receive special considerations depending on your illness. 

Special considerations will vary. Although the law protects your right to receive assistance to ensure you succeed in school, it is your responsibility to communicate your limitations and needs to your principal and teachers. 

Don’t hesitate to talk to your teachers whenever you are feeling unwell and need a little extra help.

Turn a Negative into A Positive

Research if any scholarships are available for students with your condition or use your experience to write an honest and inspirational college essay explaining how life changed after your diagnosis and how you overcame adversity. 

You didn’t choose to have a chronic illness, but you can choose to use this challenge to boost your future.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness when you are young can be scary. With new developments in infusion biologic therapies, young patients are living better, more fulfilling lives than ever before.

Ask your doctor about the benefits of receiving biologic infusion treatments and whether these medications are right for you.

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