Health conditions and learning – information for teachers

Every learner’s response to and experience of a health condition is different. The impact on each learner’s hauora and their learning will depend on many factors and will change over time. They may make leaps and experience set-backs. Observe them closely and unobtrusively. They’ll need you to check in often. Hold positive and realistic expectations, gently supporting their participation and learning in ways that work for them.

Pay attention to:

  • attendance
  • energy – both physical and wairua/high or low spirit and mauri moe, expressions of gloom, sadness, fear, guilt, mistrust
  • fatigue (yawning, fuzzy, apathetic, slurred speech, arriving late, taking a long time to complete tasks)
  • behaviours such as withdrawal, aggression or frustration, or changes in expression such as talking a lot or talking less
  • attention and distraction
  • falling behind with school work
  • connections with friends and peers and evidence of healthy, nurturing relationships
  • agency around what they can and can’t do and need support with
  • levels of confidence, self-consciousness, self-image
  • what is easy, challenging
  • what brings joy, what brings frustration.

Be willing to help by making adjustments to:

  • reduce environmental triggers and infection risks (eg for allergies or asthma attacks, sensory needs, exposure to viruses)
  • aid physical accessibility
  • manage fatigue
  • provide for social and emotional needs
  • foster dignity, independence and self-management
  • reduce self-consciousness – eg flexible uniform policy, access to drinking water, how to ask to be excused from class, opportunities to demonstrate areas of strength
  • support attention
  • support communication
  • support organisation
  • build confidence and a feeling of safety
  • respond to changes in fine motor skills
  • plan for safe trips
  • homework volumes
  • access school work when not at school
  • exam conditions (see Special Assessment Conditions guidelines(external link)).

Listen to and talk regularly with ākonga and their whānau about (daily check in/check out or notebook between home and service/school):

  • how well they’re sleeping
  • pain levels
  • their energy levels - both physical and wairua/high or low spirit
  • when they’ve eaten
  • thoughts and feelings – worried, sad, angry, scared, joy, gratitude, in control, overwhelmed
  • when they’ve taken medications
  • worries
  • friends and friendships
  • hopes and goals.

Teach about health conditions, about health management, social and emotional learning

Read more useful strategies to support learning

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