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Telepresence - a group of worried mums created a solution for kids with long periods of missing school due to serious illness

Shared by Maria João Jacinto on 2022-11-29 12:07

About the solution

There are tens of thousands of sick kids in Australia who miss school often or for long periods due to their illness. Sick children can fall behind academically and experience isolation from their school communities. They experience deep anxiety, loneliness, and isolation after more than 12 months’ of school absence. Those who had returned to school found it very difficult to adjust and to form friendships, and their learning suffered.

In 2012, Cathy Nell, Gina Meyers and Megan Gilmour realised that there was no framework in place to support their children’s need to maintain contact with their schools and classmates and to keep up their education. Their children’s had just recovered from long and frightening critical illness. That was how MissingSchool was born: a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the educational issues facing children who miss school because of critical or chronic illness, and to exploring ways of supporting the children, their families, their teachers, and their learning through very difficult times.
MissingSchool looked for technological solutions. In 2018 ran the first pilot scheme to place telepresence robots in willing schools to demonstrate that continuous two-way connection is possible between seriously sick children and their classrooms when they are absent. “Telepresence allows kids who are away from school to dial in and be seen and heard in their classrooms, move around, and learn from their teachers with their classmates. The pilot is intended to be a catalyst for long-term solutions for sick kids that integrates connection between hospital, home and school.”
The Australian-first telepresence robot service began as a pilot in the ACT and now operates in every state/territory in Australia.

The Australian-first pilot is supported by a grant of up to $600,000 over three years from St.George Foundation. The grant is helping MissingSchool roll out at least 75 robots over three years to demonstrate cost effective and innovative ways to include sick kids in their regular schools.

Adapted from: https://www.actparents.org.au/index.php/news1/item/329-robots-keep-sick-..., https://www.missingschool.org.au/

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

DISCLAIMER: This story was written by someone who is not the author of the solution, therefore please be advised that, although it was written with the utmost respect for the innovation and the innovator, there can be some incorrect statements. If you find any errors please contact the patient Innovation team via info@patient-innovation.com

About the author

Cathy is a mum of two and her youngest child is a childhoold cancer survivor. Cathy became interested in learning issues resulting from cancer therapy after her son had a cord blood transplant in 2005 and a second transplant in 2010 for relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

In 2008, Gina’s son was diagnosed with a critical and life-threatening illness which kept him in and out of hospital – and out of school – for around 18 months.

Megan Gilmour is a mother to a young son who survived a life-threatening illness.

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