New school. New friends. New workload. As a caregiver, it can be both exciting and nerve-wracking to see your teen take on the epic highs and lows of high school. The teenage years might come with a whole new set of challenges to face, but for those with cystic fibrosis (CF), the first day of high school will symbolize their next step on the road to independence. Time flies, doesn't it?
Create a routine together
To help your teen manage their time, work with them to create a routine and give them tools (like a planner or a shared digital calendar) to build one themselves. A big step in gaining independence is learning to care for themselves, so make sure your teen continues to prioritize their health and treatments.
Talk about CF
Talk about CF
Set your teen up for a successful school year by discussing CF with those who will be involved in their life, such as:
The faculty. Talk to school faculty, such as guidance counselors, deans, and, naturally, teachers, about your teen's needs. Help them understand more about CF and any accommodations your teen may need throughout the year, such as a modified schedule. If your teen feels more comfortable keeping their CF diagnosis to themselves, let the staff know so that they are able to check on your teen when needed in a discreet manner
The school nurse. Discuss the particulars of CF in case of an emergency, as well as classroom illnesses and your teen’s risk of getting sick
The teachers. Work with the teacher(s) your loved one will be spending the most time with throughout the day to identify how they can make your child feel more comfortable bringing up their CF-related needs in the classroom
Peers and parents. During the teen years, your child’s social life can be packed. Between high school clubs, slumber parties, school projects, and even dating, it’s important that you or your child are able to tell peers and parents about CF. Use this guide to help your conversations. If they are comfortable doing so, encourage your child to get involved in these conversations about CF. It might just help them to feel empowered enough to take on more responsibility