Tips for Working with students with special health care needs

Tips for Working with Students with Special Health Care Needs:
What You Need to Know

Student populations are changing. In recent years, greater numbers of students with disabilities are attending their neighborhood schools. In some instances, they come to school with physical conditions that require care and attention.

But, who provides that care? In an ideal world, every school would have licensed, certified health care personnel on the premises who would ensure the safety and well-being of our students by attending to their special health care needs.

But this isn’t an ideal world. The best available estimates indicate that only about one in three public schools has a full-time nurse of staff.

ESPs are often asked, expected, or directed by their supervisor to provide care and assistance to students with special health care needs. Federal law does not specify which individual – a classroom assistant, school nurse, teacher, or some other individual – is to provide these services, but rather leaves this decision up to individual states or local school district. It’s important that you discuss these issues with your supervisor and review your school district policy manual and your contract for additional information.

For additional information, please refer to ISTA’s document, What Are Your Responsibilities Under the Law for Student Care?

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