“Most charities talk about helping more than they actually help, but Chai Lifeline has been a true lifeline for us.” read full story
In the spring of 2016, Eli was diagnosed with a serious chronic disorder. As the realities of his new life, one where he would be more restricted in his movement, sunk in, he became more withdrawn. Concerned, they confided their worries to their Chai Lifeline West Coast case manager. read full story
From the moment you wake up until the time you rest your head upon your pillow at night, your day is filled with the responsibilities of caring for your sick kid (or sick children!), and their brothers and sisters. Treatment, therapy, medical appointments, or school issues, not to mention the day to day necessities of taking care of a home and making a living. As you haul that last load of laundry up the stairs or fall into bed at night, you find yourself wondering, “When is it time for ME?”
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Adolescence is a time when parents of teens with chronic illnesses or medical challenges may want to tear their hair out.
Adolescence is the period where teens need to psychologically move away from their parents and become more independent. Many times, teens will push limits to see how far they can go.
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When a child is born or diagnosed with a serious illness, brothers and sisters are bound to be impacted. Why do some exhibit signs of stress or depression while others seem to thrive?
Siblings living alongside a child with a chronic illness will experience a jumble of positive and negative reactions. They can feel love and a combination of resentment, embarrassment, guilt, sorrow or fear simultaneously. Without the skills to understand and cope, a child’s self-esteem can suffer. Anger and guilt can turn inward, leading to a sense of shame or worthlessness. Depression, anxiety or somatic symptoms can arise.
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Too often, our default emotion when we hear about childhood illness is pity. It’s natural to feel awful when confronted with the reality of pediatric illness, but does it really reflect how children with illnesses see themselves?
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We welcome this contribution from Deanna Power of Social Security Disability Help. Please note that we cannot answer any questions about specific situations. Please address all questions about eligibility or how to apply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is almost a law of nature that a child’s illness impacts a family’s income. Medical bills, time off from work, extra housekeeping or childcare needs add up quickly. SSI (Supplemental Security Income), a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides some relief for families through monthly financial assistance to parents of children with life-threatening or severe chronic illnesses.
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Two Questions To Ask Yourself About Summer Camp For Your Child
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While most parents of overnight campers are already thinking about trunks and sunscreen, there remains a group of moms and dads who are still on the fence about sleepaway camp. Many parents of children who are ill or disabled haven’t found the camp that meets their child’s needs.
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Rivkah Reichmann, the associate director of Camp Simcha Special, a camp for chronically ill and disabled children and teens in Glen Spey, NY, has counseled hundreds of parents since the camp was established in 2001. She asks parents two questions to help them decide on camping options.
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Can the child’s health and safety needs be met by the camp?
Clearly, this is the most important concern regardless of a child’s health status. Parents should ascertain that the camp’s facilities are appropriate. If the child needs a wheelchair or walker, there should be easy access to every building so that the child can participate in all aspects of camp life. As important, maintenance and cleanliness standards must be high. Parents should also check the medical program: is there staff who can deal with both day-to-day needs and emergencies? Does the camp have emergency procedures in place? What about medication? Injections? Does the camp feel confident that its medical staff can deal with your child’s health requirements? Do you?
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What about your child’s social and emotional needs?
Summer camp is about friends and fun, but it’s also about growth and self-enhancement. The best camp for your child is the one that will allow him or her to shine through friendships and new skills. When the choice is between a “normal” camp and one designed for children with special needs, parents should consider the child’s social life throughout the year. Children who have to work to keep up may do better in a camp where everyone is working at their pace.
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“Sometimes children with illnesses or disabilities are the only kids who are sick in school. They are labeled. They feel left out. They may have few friends. These children may do better in an environment of peers, where all the children are struggling with similar challenges,” said Mrs. Reichmann. “They learn to appreciate their own strengths and differences. They are no longer isolated. The ‘bump’ they get at camp may be enough to make a difference all year long.”
7 Ways to Help Children Traumatized by the Midwood Fire
Note: The professionals at Project CHAI, Chai Lifeline’s crisis intervention and bereavement division are available to answer questions and provide personalized assistance to parents, educators, and community leaders following this weekend’s tragic fire in Midwood, Brooklyn. Please call 855-3-CRISIS or email CRISIS@CHAILIFELINE.ORG. Rabbi Sruli Fried, MSW, has prepared this video presentation: Speaking To Your Children About the Midwood Fire
The Jewish community of Midwood, Brooklyn, one of New York’s five boroughs and home to one of the largest Jewish communities outside Israel, was rocked by the devastating fire that killed seven siblings, ages 5 to 16, and left a mother and surviving daughter in critical condition.
Within minutes after the Sabbath ended, Chai Lifeline’s crisis hotline lit up with phone calls from concerned parents who needed assistance talking to their children about the tragedy. Project CHAI’S professionals, all therapists with training and experience in responding to traumatic situations, offer the following suggestions for parents, educators, and community leaders:
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- Be attentive to your child’s behaviors that may signal distress. An event like the recent fire can trigger reactions in the immediate aftermath and for the next several weeks. These behaviors are normal after a traumatic event, and are the child’s way of coping with the trauma. Some children will be able to verbalize their fears right away. Others may experience nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, a reluctance to separate from parents, or a terror of ordinary fire, among other responses.
- Be aware of your own reactions to the event. Children work out how to react to a situation by watching the significant adults around them, particularly parents and teachers. Try, if at all possible, to behave in a calm and controlled manner.
- Be prepared to speak about the event with your child. Your child may want to speak about the event at great length, or may prefer not to talk about it at all. Feel free to ask questions, but do not force your child to speak if he or she does not want to. If the child wants to talk about feelings, be supportive and encouraging. Show your understanding and acceptance of these feelings by explaining that feelings such as fear, anger and guilt are all normal reactions to such an “abnormal” event.
- Encourage alternatives to talking. Drawing, writing, drama and music are all wonderful creative outlets that can be introduced to help children share their experiences.
- Try to maintain a normal routine, and provide children with reassuring and realistic messages about their safety. Talk about what steps you have implemented in the home to ensure safety, and to prevent fires in the future. This will strengthen the children’s sense of safety and control.
- The single most important resource for children after exposure is the network of adults in their lives. Most children will recover from exposure to trauma with the aid of those close to them, including parents and teachers.
- Don’t hesitate to call a professional if your child’s behavior or feelings seem extreme or if they persist after a month. The Project CHAI hotline, 855-3-CRISIS, is staffed by therapists who are trained in helping families cope with the aftermath of traumatic events. Emails to CRISIS@CHAILIFELINE.ORG receive immediate responses.
Your Child Beat Cancer (YAY!). 5 Things Your Pediatrician Should Know
Physicians Lisa Diller, the chief medical officer of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Peter Manley, an oncologist and director, Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic, note five areas for pediatricians as survivors transition back to healthy pediatric care.
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1. Physicians should receive a copy of the child’s treatment summary and care plan created by the oncologist.
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2. Remember that the end of treatment is also a time of anxiety and transition for children and parents.
3. Watch for signs of side effects from treatment. (The article notes resources for the physical effects of treatment, but pediatricians and parents should be on the lookout for emotional and social changes as well.)
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4. Know what services are available for survivors and their families.
5. Promote good health habits.
Read the entire article here.