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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Hospital/ Homebound Programs

Hospital/ Homebound Programs

Related Tags: Special Education
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I work in the Broward County School System,in Florida. For the last 17 years my asignment has been with the county's hospital/ homebound program. This is an elegibility for students that have medical and/ or psychological problems that prevent them from attending a typical classroom setting. Our typical middle and high students attend class by "calling in" to assigned courses with a conference call format and some use of whiteboard technology. They are at home with speaker phones and text books,when they call in to the conference line, they participate with the class and teacher.Our pre-school, elementary and special needs students have a teacher go out to the house, medical facility or hospital, to provide one-on-one school sessions. It would be interesting to hear how other school systems provide access to education for this type of student --they are unable to actually attend a school site on even a part-time basis.

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Larry Kwiatkowski's picture
Larry Kwiatkowski
Credentialed for Severe K-12, Adult, Los Angeles

I work off the school site in a children's hospital in Los Angeles. I do bedside in the Pediatric Sub-acute Unit. These are the kids you never see. Disabilities come from gunshots, car wrecks, near drowners, falls from windows, sudden illnesses that have severly impacted them, developmental delays, birth defects, etc. All are on ventilators, O2, Gastrol tubes and more. Most are semi comatose.

peggy C's picture
peggy C
Special Ed. teacher with most invovled st

In Broward County Florida School System, we see those students at the hospital also, then follow them into the homes, rehab centers and/ or pediatric nursing homes. I have been working with this population for 35 years and LOVE it !! There are 20 teachers in the program: 1 is assigned to a children's hospital full time; several are on the phone with telecommunication classes for middle and high schoolers; the rest are on the road for pre-schoolers, elementary and ESE students for one-to-one classes . I know that there must be other teachers out there that work with this unique population. It would be good to communicate with them about their programs.
Thanks for sharing. I think we have a lot in common ( I see 9 students-all non-verbal, physically impaired, cognitively impaired with serious medical complications ). I hope you have an great and uneventful school year-the worst part of our job is that we deal with the death of children .

peggy C's picture
peggy C
Special Ed. teacher with most invovled st

I posted my main reply and a description of our program on the site. There is a male teacher that works in my department that also works at the Joe Dimagio Childrens' Hospital in Hollywood ,Fl. He has an on site classroom there and does bedside around the hospital.Please read my posting-I would love to hear more about how your system handles the follow-up from the hospital, etc. Those of us that service the children that are unable to attend on site school have a different veiw of education. it would be nice to hear more. Thanks for posting.

Larry Kwiatkowski's picture
Larry Kwiatkowski
Credentialed for Severe K-12, Adult, Los Angeles

It's hard to know where to begin. 98% of our kids will never leave the hospital. The few that do go for homeschool. There is a seperate program for them. Two other teachers and myself are permanent at the hospital. They hold regular, special day class in a room set aside for them. The kids that can are wheeled in in their wheelchairs. I am strictly bedside. No point in following kids that don't leave. If they go to a different hospital they are serviced there by someone else. Because of the severity of my kids, if they can even hear or see is in question. A couple of mine have their eyes taped shut. Loud noises, clapping, snapping fingers in many instances are not effective indicators of hearing. Obviously, books, written materials are no good either. I do a lot of tactile stuff. Hard, soft, scratchy, etc. My laptop has become my right hand. There are tons of things that can be used on it. Youtube is a great source of animal videos. Discovery Channel is great for dinosaur programs and documentaries. There is a site out there called Miro. They have an amazing amount of videos on just about any subject. The Los Angeles County Library has a program called Tumblebooks. It just for kids. You can access it for free if you spend a little time there. I download about 10 books at a time. When they are played, the show the pictures and the words are read out loud. As the words are read, they are highlighted. Great for beginning readers and/or English Lang learners. It's my hope that even if they can't see the screen, maybe they can hear what's going on. That's the beauty of the internet. You guys that are not here can still access the LA Library. I bought some PC speakers that have flashing lights. Good for the limited vision ones. Something else I try is what I call "bone induction". I take the speakers and put them in direct contact with the students' skull in order to bypass the ears which don't work. I have seen indications that a few of the kids react to this. A side benefit to this is that I look for material that interests me too. As most of you have probably found out, sometimes working bedside can become a very slow process and sometimes staying awake and alert is a problem. Having matarials that are interesting to me helps prevent that situation.

peggy C's picture
peggy C
Special Ed. teacher with most invovled st

What you are describing as a hospital, I would describe as a residential facility, like a pediatric nursing home. Different state, different labels ( LOL).I would like to share an experience with you that I had with a residential student that was in a coma from a head injury suffered in a car accident. He was one of 3 students in a small group that i was teaching 3 times a week for 1 hour sessions. He was "out cold", non-responsive and 2 and a half years after his accident.He was weaned off his vent and was g-tube fed, still had a trach and required a lot of suctioning. He was also considered deaf-blind. He started to move his hands, then responded to a thumbs up command , thumbs up for "yes", thumb down for "no", then opening his eyes and looking around----well, after 18 months of gradual improvement, he was looking at words on a dry erase board and not just eye gazing to requested words, but actually reading them verbally--he now talks in complete sentances, reads short sentances and can use a calculator to add, subtract multiply and divide(when shown a problem from a page).During the summer he was moved to a group home near his family in Dade County. I saw him at a social event that the family invited me to--he remembered family members by name and was asking them about the children that he remembered, etc. It was truely amazing. That is the type of once in a carreer experience that keeps me going. It is hard to see the kids that you see. The smallest thing is like the world opening up for them. Keep up the good work. It sounds like you really care about your students. We are bringing the world to them and making a difference in the quality of their lives.I tell people-you never know what is going on inside their head--never say never-
I love the Tumble Books too-can"t work without my computer, switches/ voice output devices and Calssroom Suite programs. When I shop, I feel everything, look out for crazy lights and things that vibrate---we are unique teachers.
Hope to hear from you again. It would be nice if other teachers around the country that teach this population would join us. We are always "the odd man out" at meetings and trainings.

Ida Brandão's picture
Ida Brandão
Senior officer at the Ministry of Education in Portugal

In Portugal, some hospitals have so-called <> for ill children (namely with cancer), with teachers that provide support and linkage through videoconference to the classrooms of the schools they are enrolled.

There's also an agreement with PT Telecom to install videoconference systems in schools/hospitals/homes to support children with serious illnesses, during the periods they are absent from school so that they may keep in touch with schoolfellows (the social and emotional aspect is very important in these vulnerable situations) and if their health condition allows it to follow classes.

Other free communication tools have been used as well, such as Skype, Moodle, email, etc. The most important is for teachers and families to organize themselves in order to get support.

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