WHAT IS SCHOOL HEALTH?
The Council on School Health (COSH) defines school health as an integration of wellness, safety, growth, learning, and development in the lives of school-aged children and adolescents within the context of their school, and with the coordinated alliance of the family and the medical home.
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Welcome to the AAP Council on School Health!
Schools at their best are where youth can be social, excel in academics and sports, and expand their minds and start to realize their promise. Children have the potential to be fulfilled in many different ways.
But for some children, school is a struggle. Their school and community may be underachieving, and not a good environment to nurture youth. A child may have a special need, for example diabetes requiring insulin administration, or Prader-Willi with learning problems, or significant issues after a concussion. They may face stigma from their religious or cultural background, or stigma from health related issues such as wearing a brace or not performing at the level of their peers.
In facing these challenges, it is clear to Pediatricians and other child health professionals that interaction with schools is necessary for the optimal functioning of the youth we care for.
Members of the Council of School Health (COSH) for the American Academy of Pediatrics passionately support the efforts of schools and all those connected with schools in improving the health and the lives of youth.
The Council on School Health is also invested in other programs related to children such as early intervention and preschool programs, camp programs, and non-profits supporting schools in improving and preserving critical activities such as recess, music and art. We are particularly here for health professionals such as pediatricians, nurses, and other health personnel who work in schools, or closely with schools. We also strongly support school staff who is more educational in their training but need to be knowledgeable and skilled in the health issues of their students.
Health and educational processes are in themselves quite complex and the interaction between the two is likewise, if not even more complicated than each alone. Therefore the work of the Council is rich in both the array of subjects that can be covered, and in the depth of the different issues that come up. Therefore this website covers a great range of topics. The policy from this Council covers areas from emergency preparedness to head lice.
Your executive committee (COSH EC), which has representation across the nation, and with many expertise areas, has been productive in creating opportunities, including SNAPP grants. The Council has an excellent manual, and sponsors important and sometimes provocative educational programs at the AAP National Convention and Exhibition (NCE).
Although the Council will continue to be involved in many different initiatives, over the next few years, the EC will particularly concentrate on school attendance, mental health issues and school readiness.
Please contact any EC member or myself if you want to be more involved with Council on School Health work.
We wish you the very best in your endeavors around school health.
Jeffrey Okamoto, MD, FAAP
Chair, AAP Council on School Health
IN THE NEWS
CDC Fact Sheet: “Helping Students Recover from a Concussion: Classroom Tips for Teachers”
Teachers play an important role in helping students recover from a concussion as they return to school. That’s why CDC is please to announce the availability of the Heads Up fact sheet, “Helping Students Recover from a Concussion: Classroom Tips for Teachers.” This fact sheet includes practical tips on how teachers can help students with their recovery from a concussion by making short-term changes to a students’ school work load and schedule. These changes can help give a student’s brain time to heal so that they can more quickly get back to their regular school routine.
Download the fact sheet at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/TBI_Classroom_Tips_for_Teachers-a.pdf.
For more detailed information on helping students return to school after a concussion download CDC's “Returning to School After a Concussion: A Fact Sheet for School Professionals".
AAP Offers Guidance on “Returning to Learning” After a Concussion
A concussion should not only take a student athlete off the playing field – it may also require a break from the classroom. In the clinical report, “Returning to Learning Following a Concussion," the AAP offers guidance to pediatricians caring for children and adolescents after suffering a concussion. Research has shown that a school-aged student usually recovers from a concussion within three weeks. If symptoms are severe, some students may need to stay home from school after a concussion. If symptoms are mild or tolerable, the parent may consider returning him or her to school, perhaps with some adjustments. Students with severe or prolonged symptoms lasting more than 3 weeks may require more formalized academic accommodations.
The report recommends a collaborative team approach to help a student recovering from a concussion. This team should consist of the child or adolescent’s pediatrician, family members and individuals at the child’s school responsible for both the student’s academic schedule and physical activity. Detailed guidance on returning to sports and physical activities is contained in the 2010 AAP clinical report, “Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents.”
“Students appear physically normal after a concussion, so it may be difficult for teachers and administrators to understand the extent of the child’s injuries and recognize the potential need for academic adjustments,” said Mark Halstead, MD, FAAP, a lead author of the clinical report. “But we know that children who’ve had a concussion may have trouble learning material and remembering what they’ve learned, and returning to academics may worsen concussion symptoms.”
Because relatively little research has been conducted on how concussion affects students’ learning, the report is based primarily on expert opinion and is adapted from a concussion management program developed at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Center for Concussion in Denver, Colo. The AAP calls for further research on the effects and role of cognitive rest after concussion to improve understanding of the best ways to help a student recovering from a concussion.