Advocating for Children with Special health Care Needs  

Case Story

This case focuses on a young child's experience when her well-intentioned mother does not fully inform school personnel of her child's special health care needs (CSHCN).

The Case of Transitions

Sally in her schoolyardLike any normal kindergartener, Sally skipped her way into school this morning full of energy and insatiable curiosity.  To her teacher, Sally was just like any other healthy 5-year-old, and today was like any other kindergarten day. Unfortunately, today was not like any other day and Sally’s teacher and nurse learned the hard way that their student had asthma

Sally’s mom, Teri, had decided she didn’t need to tell anyone at the school about her daughter’s history with asthma.  Sally hadn’t had any asthma attacks since months before she started school.  Sally was diagnosed with asthma when she was 2 and had required frequent nebulizer treatments ever since. 

So, Teri had sighed with relief when her daughter could stop using the nebulizer last May—no more masks and crying about taking nasty medications!  Teri was ecstatic that Sally was doing better. She knew that this would make Sally’s life easier as she began school.  Her daughter wouldn’t be treated any differently than the other kids, and Teri was happy that the asthma had retreated for the time being. 

Today, after running around on the playground during recess with the other kids, Sally started wheezing heavily and coughing.  Her trip to the nurse resulted in something that no one wanted—a call to the Emergency Medical Services and a trip for Sally to the hospital.


Things to consider about this case

There are several issues to consider about this case. You will explore these issues more fully in the learning activities. 

  • What preparations should be considered when a child with a chronic illness begins school?
  • What are the major transitions in this case story? What are the major transitions for children with chronic illness?
  • Who has responsibility for insuring the safety of children with chronic illness in the school setting?


Things to consider about this case

Now that you have read the case, go to the Lecture section to gain a better conceptual understanding of the Transition Model and the impact of transitions on families.