Facts and Numbers

Typical school problems in children with congenital heart disease:

  • School absenteeism
  • Low participation in physical activities
  • Discrimination 
  • Difficulties with social integration
  • Learning difficulties
  • Behavioural problems 
  • Occasional lack of motivation

Main reasons of school problems:

  • High frequency and long duration of medical consultations and admissions to hospital
  • Medication effects (eg, with diuretic or anticoagulant drugs)
  • Possible physical or neurological limitations in some children
  • Difficulties in school adaptation after surgery or long-term admission to hospital
  • Overprotecting or non-demanding attitude from teachers
  • Difficulties forming social relationships with classmates

People who are involved in the school development of a child with congenital heart disease:

  • The child
  • Parents, family and friends
  • Teachers
  • Classmates
  • Doctors and hospital-based teachers

Teachers’ responsibilities:

  • Be well informed about the health situation of a child with congenital heart disease and provide the correct information to classmates
  • Treat the child in a proper way (not overprotecting or ignoring the child; avoid making the child feel different)
  • Detect health problems in the child, and physical or behaviour changes (eg, depression symptoms, loss of appetite)
  • Thorough knowledge about the medication that the child takes
  • Adapt the curricula for children with physical or neurological restrictions
  • Ensure social integration of the child not only in classes, but also at the hospital (try to facilitate contact between the child and his or her classmates when the child is admitted to hospital)
  • Coordination with the hospital-based teacher
  • Maintain regular and fluid communication with the family