Chronic illnesses are constant or intermittent illnesses that impact (to varying degrees) a student’s health and can limit participation in many “normal” teenage activities. Some of these chronic conditions include seizure disorders, asthma, diabetes, lupus, hypertension, or a long-term illness such as cancer. Most of the ideas we share below apply best to more serious health conditions.
Caring for the student: The teenager may have some limitations and things you can’t do with him, but engage on an appropriate level. Ever wondered why pediatric units have video games available? Distraction is a great way to alleviate patients’ pain. This is probably the only area where you have a bona fide excuse that playing games is pure ministry! Find out from parents and medical staff what the student can and can’t do and what level of interaction is appropriate. Also remember the need for positive touch.
Caring for parents: Parents of a child with a chronic illness may feel a sense of powerlessness. They are stretched emotionally, spiritually, financially, and psychologically as they wrestle with this illness, helping their child have a good life. Steer clear of platitudes and clich