School is where your child will learn about the world, form friendships and develop into a young adult. Like all children, there may be some challenges along the way – and this may particularly be the case for a child with haemophilia. In some cases, they may even experience discrimination and/or bullying.
Dealing with discrimination
As a parent, you are in the best position to advocate for your child and ensure that they are not discriminated against. You might like to try these tips to help ensure that your child gets the best education possible and does not suffer discrimination based on their condition.
- Stay informed. Understand your child's condition and how it may impact their education.
- Communicate openly with your child’s school. Engaging with your child’s school enables you to be a better advocate for your child and will help ensure that your child’s needs are met. This might include developing a plan with your child’s teacher regarding how your child will keep up with their school work if absences from class are necessary.
- Know your rights. Your child’s right to a proper education is protected under the Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Standards for Education made under the Act. You can find more information on what this includes at the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
- Encourage your child every day. Positive feedback and encouragement will help build your child’s self-esteem and give them confidence that discrimination on the basis of their condition is not acceptable.
Bullying can happen to anyone at any time – and this includes children with haemophilia. It is a serious issue that can have damaging consequences, both physically and emotionally, and should never be tolerated as a ‘normal part of growing up’.
Signs that your child may be the victim of bullying
- They come home with damaged or missing belongings.
- They have unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches.
- They are uncomfortable or fearful about going to school, catching the school bus or taking part in school activities.
- They withdraw or isolate themselves from family or friends.
- They suddenly start performing poorly at school.
- They experience difficulty sleeping or loss of appetite.
What can you do if your child is the victim of bullying?
It is important that you maintain an open dialogue with your child about bullying. This way they should feel comfortable coming to you for support. Be calm and reassuring, and try to educate them on what to do when bullying occurs. You may also like to share any experiences you’ve had with bullying in the past.
It is also important to consider contacting your child’s teacher about the situation. Bullying can have damaging consequences and the school should take the matter seriously. You can also contact your Haemophilia Treatment Centre for additional support and guidance, or visit the Bullying No Way website.