Throughout your child's education, there will be key people to help with his or her special needs. These caregivers and healthcare providers include:
- Members of your child’s Early Intervention or Individualized Education Program Team (if your child is eligible for special education).
- Your child’s primary care provider (PCP). If the PCP is unable to attend meetings, ask him or her to make contact with your child’s school nurse.
- Care Coordinators or Case Managers from your community, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, or another state agency.
- The MASSTART vendor in your area. Contact MASSTART at 800-882-1435 (in MA only) or 508-792-7880.
It is important to identify who will make decisions and provide care or services to your child while in school. This information should be part of your child’s Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP) and/or Individualized Education Program (IEP). For example, if your child needs one-on-one nursing care while at school, be specific about who will be responsible for coordinating that care. No changes should be made to an IHCP or IEP without your written approval.
It is also important to identify backup staff in case the school nurse or caretaker is absent. Backup staff need training and should be familiar with your child’s IHCP.
School nurses must follow specific rules. There are some types of healthcare that can only be performed by the school nurse. Non-health professionals may perform other types of care. Discuss your child’s specific care needs with the school nurse.
Some schools and families arrange for the parent to come to the school to care for their child if the school nurse is absent. You do not have any legal obligation to act as backup staff. It is your choice if you wish to do so.
This information is provided in part by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and mass.gov.