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PSRP/School Support Staff: How do students' physical or mental health issues (e.g., dental, eating disorders, vision, asthma) affect their academic performance?

Comments: 100

I am a second grade teacher, and I notice on a daily basis that my students have health problems. My students can not focus on their academics if they are too tired, hungry or have dental problems. I communicate with the parents and for whatever reason their response is not accepetable to me. I provide food at times, and we have Cleveland State dental students to provide free dental work. I am thankful for that but in reality I feel sorry for my students. This goes without saying that our students have health problems that need consistent attention parents are not able to take care of their children.

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Gina Foster
ctu279
Cleveland, OH

I know it affects the performance of a child. Example: A car without oil or gasoline can't function, neither can a child without food. I am retired now, but I remember students coming to school crying that their stomach hurt because they hadn't eaten anything. Many others have concerns about where their next meal will come from. I had a student who told me that her mother had to remain on welfare even if she didn't want to, so that she and her children would have the opportunity to visit the doctor when they got sick or the dentist. The brain has to be fed to function, it is fuel for the body.

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saundra Goldsby
4
gary, IN

If students are struggling with physical or mental disorders, they are not able to concentrate on the academic challenges facing them. For all students to have a 'fair shot' at proficiency in all academic areas, they must be assisted by addressing their health issues first.

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Virginia Koning
Albuquerque - ATF
Albuquerque, NM

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ~World Health Organization, 1948 Therefore more must be done in the area of prevention. The emotional climate of the school and the physical environment of the building are key in creating a safe school. The fact that health clinics are becoming an integral part of the school in areas where resources are limited creates a win win situation for students,parents, and teachers.

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Phyllis Murray
UFT
Scarsdale, NY

Research bears out that all of the factors of physical or mental health issues affect students' academic performance. That is why I feel strongly that more counseling psychologists and school psychologists need to be recruited and highly trained for the k-12 school systems and the post-secondary schools (including higher education) in the USA. I'm especially appalled at the lack of counseling staff in our Florida schools and I bet it's no different in the rest of the country.

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Myra Suzanne Brown
UFF-UF
Gainesville, FL

Students are very sensitive to their environment, physically and psychologically. I have four repeaters this year in my classroom and all of them have serious problems at home, in spite of being healthy. This is a 20% of my students.

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Claudia Hughes
hisd
houston, TX

Sick students (depressed, too) do not attend school regularly. Consequently, they fall behind and never have the opportunities to achieve along with their peers.

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Kathleen Greenawalt
WSTU 571
Burr Ridge, IL

If students' physical and/or mental issues are not addressed it will clearly have a negative impact on their availabilty to learn. Until physical and mental health needs are treated children will flounder and make very little, if any, measurable progress.

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Margaret Ann Schwerdtman
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Health issues can make it very hard to concentrate on anything other than what is going on in your life. The problems begin to consume you and take over everything which leaves you to not care too much about anything anymore.

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Claire Knox
Lexington, KY

All of our children in this world need the proper nurishment to function well. The proper nutritional food will give all children the strength and a functional brain to do well in school. All children need dental, vision and medical insurance. Asthma is an serious sickness if not treated it could lead to lung failure and death. Any child with this illiness will not be able to functon well in school. We must educate our children on eating healthy and the harm that they will bring upon themselves if they have eating disorders. Helping our children with education, good health and living their dreams is the best we can do for them. Thank you....

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La Joyce Morales
AFT
Chicago, IL

but they sense the anxiety and tenseness of the home situation. Children need to be reassured. Parents need to know what their children know and don't know. They need to discuss it with them and quiet their fears. Parents also need to know their children well enough to detect mental problems. If the child had hepatitis, he would be immediately given medical treatment. If something is wrong with his mind, there is usually denial on the part of the parents and a reluctance to get the child the professional mental care he needs. Until we change are ways, we will not change our outcomes.

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doris morazan
MCC
edison, NJ

Just as an invalid without legs cannot walk, so a child with a chained mind or body cannot perform. The body must be cared for and be kept robust, active and healthy. The key is proper nutrition and this is not being executed in most homes in spite of all the new knowledge we have acquired about food. The American public ignores nutrition, because it is too busy making money (or to be honest making ends meet)so another night of pizza instead of broccoli, mashed potatoes and grilled fish. In regards to the mind children pick up on moods and atmosphere around the house. They may not understand the problems in depth, TO BE CONTINUED

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doris morazan
MCC
edison, NJ

Education is a multifaceted process. A student must be in school,attentive,with attitude of wanting to learn. The teacher presents concepts and information to the ready student. Illness is a barrier to learning. Dental disease is the number one reason for student absence. Students not in their seat miss instruction and class interaction. A student with eating disorders may be distracted, sleep deprived, in pain, have cardiac irregularity, may require hospitalization for multilevel treatment. Vision impairment interferes with access to material. Asthma lung disease causes panic if not controlled, needs treatment. Healthy students leaarn best.

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Patricia Christie
Pajaro Valley Unified School District
Santa Cruz, CA

kids with physical or health issues need to have those issues addressed before they can put their attention fully to school. we need to feel safe and well fed.....healthy... in order to move on to other things.

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Lois Nokleby
farmington education association
Hampton, MN

Students' physical or mental health issues do affect their academic performance. If a student isn't well then that student wouldn't reach his or her full potential. Healthy children do better in school. Thank you.

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Miguel Henriquez
PSC/CUNY
Round Rock, TX

I work with students who have reading difficulties, ages 6 through 12. Their academic success is severely undermined as they struggle with physical and emotional challenges. Some students need glasses. Many have severe allergies and have missed many school days. A majority of students have a history of ear infections that have resulted in some hearing loss as preschoolders. Some have lead poisoning, sleep apnea, or very poor nutrition. These issues are accompanied by home lives that include parents on drugs, physical abuse, violent neighborhoods, and sometimes homelessness. These issues need to be addressed if students are to succeed.

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Carol McMahan
Cincinnati, OH

Any of the above can adversely affect a student's academic performance which is why some students are referred for school based support services( school social worker, psychologist or school nurse)or an outside referral is suggested to parents. If services are already initiated by parents, the school based personnel consults and collaborates in order to develop strategies which will maximize the student's chances for success within the academic setting.

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ruby kelly
ctu
chicago, IL

Students with physical or mental health issues are at much greater risk of low academic performance. And, due to privacy issues, we teachers, who spend our days with these children have not much recourse when it comes to helping these children learn. Sometimes we can recognize a problem such as vision impairment, and can give the child better seating. However, in the case of mental problems, we may never be told that a child has diagnosed condition, and this leads to questions that may never be answered in order for us to help the child in the classroom. This is completely unfair for the child who's academic performance will be hindered.

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Martha A. Damian
CFT - #6047
Lake Charles, LA

It is virtually impossible for the brain to be receptive to active learning while physical or emotional issues are present. As the phrase goes, the cup needs to be emptied before it is filled again. The brain is only one small part of the whole being of the child and all aspects need to be taken into regard.That is why frequent movement is important, teaching to different modalities in learning and nurturing of the whole child is so important. A teachers perception is of paramount importance with regard to optimum learning.

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kayla meadows
MCOE Local 4245/Charter School
Willits, CA

A child's health and mental issues greatly impact their performance. High absentee rates, attention disabilities, lack of proper nutrition (low or high blood sugar rates), insufficient sleep and worry/anxiety over problems at home or school lowers the child's ability to absorb the massive amounts of content they need to learn. The student then can enter a cycle of debilitating results of anger, frustration, and low test scores which increase their low self esteem and erode their confidence in doing well in school. A good teacher can help break the cycle but it will continue as long as the health and mental issues remain unsolved

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Patricia Schulze
UFT
Maspeth, NY

A student's health is significant regarding their academic performance in that it causes them to miss a time from class. One's performance depends on how they feel. If they are in pain or experiencing any type of physical discomfort, they do not perform well. Although, some students are determined to complete a course regardless of their illness.

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Rose Edwards
New Castle, DE

I teach ESL and when my students come to class with health, social or mental issues such as homelessness, hunger, tooth aches they are often not able to pay attention or participate in a meaningful way. Many of their issues, rightly,take precedence over their educational needs. I have seen students flurish academically soon after their other immidiate and important needs are addressed.

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ronnie moshi
NORTA
tarrytown, NY

Students are faced with many challenges on a day to day basis. When students are not feeling well, they are not able to concentrate and keep focused on getting their job done. Their job is to learn as much as they can, so they can be a success in their lives in the present and in the future, and be a positive influence on others.

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Rosemarie Fisichelli
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Students need to be in good health -- mentally and phyisally. If the student is hungry -- he cannot concentrate. If he has problems at home, even worse.

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Anne Harris
Polk Education Association
Haines City, FL

Mental health issues have potential to derail a student's school career impacting post-school outcomes. They are also related to suicide- 1 of the leading causes of death amongst 15-24 year olds. Students need access to mental health supports embedded within a school-wide system of supports. This means schools must coordinate with local support providers, implement a proactive continuum of supports, and have flexibility in scheduling supports. Students can't wait for a new semester to get help; immediate access has the greatest potentially decrease the impact of mental health issues.

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Jessica Swain-Bradway
Eugene, OR

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