Adolescence is the time when kids really begin to think about what they would like to do for a living when they are adults. There’s no reason to believe that children with bleeding disorders can't go on to have productive, successful, happy lives.
Laying the groundwork for their adult life begins now. Getting good grades is important. Children with bleeding disorders are entitled to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Accommodation Plan to help them achieve their best at school. Parents and teachers can help identify a child’s strengths and talents that match his or her ambitions.
If they haven’t already, parents should start investigating payment options for their child’s education after high school. Many information resources are available — talking to a school counselor can steer parents in the right direction.
This section of Next Step provides advice on:
- Discovering Strengths and Interests
- Staying Healthy for Today and Tomorrow
- Education Options Beyond High School
- Opportunities Through Community Activities
- Financial Planning
Part of the fun in planning for the future is keeping in mind that the sky's the limit. Even with a bleeding disorder, your child has many choices!
It's important to keep in mind that a child's choices for a career or extra curricular activity can - and in some cases will - change as he or she grows and explores new opportunities.
Here are some ways to help identify your child’s strengths and provide information to help them achieve their goals.
Discovering Strengths and Interests
There are so many career options out there. It may be overwhelming for your child to imagine where he or she will end up in the years to come. Observe your child’s natural talents and activity preferences (even if your child does not acknowledge these as preferences), and make note of the amount of time your son or daughter spends on favorite activities. Begin to formulate possible career choices that incorporate these interests. Encourage your child to participate in related hobbies and activities. For example, young airplane enthusiasts may enjoy Civil Air Patrol (Boy Scouts of flying). Research a high school that specializes in your child’s field of interest.
It may be helpful to ask your child some questions about his or her interests and activities. Your child’s answers can help determine his or her strengths and goals. You may be able to incorporate these into your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). When your child’s interests are included in the IEP, teachers will be better prepared to help him or her choose classes, activities, support services, and training programs that match his or her ambitions.
Here are some questions you might ask your child:
- What activities do you enjoy most at school?
- What activities do you enjoy after school?
- What are your biggest strengths and talents?
- What do you like most about yourself?
- What are your positive personality traits?
- What activities would build/enhance your strengths and talents?
- What significant event has affected your life?
- How did this event impact your life?
- Did the event change the way you see the world or other people?
- Did the event affect what you want to do as a career?
- What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What worries you about the future?
Staying Healthy Today for Tomorrow
Remind your child of the importance of staying healthy and making good decisions. To have the fullest and happiest future possible, your child needs to maintain a healthy body. Help your child understand that maintaining good health will expand his or her options. Keeping up with visits to your child’s Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) is an important way to help stay on a healthy course. (In addition, some scholarships for people with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders require regular comprehensive care.)
Education Options Beyond High School
What kind of education will your child need to put him or her on the right career path? Will your son or daughter need an academic college education? Perhaps a technical school that offers employment preparation skills is a better fit? Whatever path your child chooses, encourage him or her to do the best he or she can now in school. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) and 504 Accommodation Plan will ensure that your child gets necessary modifications (for example, a set of books for both home and school and ample time to make up missed schoolwork in case of a bleed), so he or she can stay on track with lessons.
Opportunities Through Community Activities
Encourage your child to participate in volunteer activities, either within the bleeding disorders community or with other organizations, such as March of Dimes, the public library, or an animal shelter. These activities give children an opportunity to build work skills, see how organizations are run, apply these activities to future work opportunities, and list newly developed skills on their resumes.
College can be expensive, but if you start planning and saving early it may help with the costs. It's not too early when your child is in middle school to begin researching colleges, universities, and trade schools that specialize in your child’s area of interest.
- Start learning about different financial aid programs and scholarships from your child’s school counselors.
- Explore academic and community service scholarships.
- Check out some of the special scholarships for individuals with bleeding disorders or other chronic conditions, as well as scholarships for kids with talents in areas, such as music or art.
- Attend financial planning or
how to pay for collegeworkshops that are offered at your child’s school or in your community.
- Visit colleges and talk with their financial aid counselors, as well as students and their families, about the different ways they've found to pay for school.