The School Liaison Program

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The School Liaison Program is for patients who are diagnosed with or have completed a treatment that involves the central nervous system. We provide consultation about the cognitive late effects of treatment to help parents understand and advocate for their child's learning needs.

We also work with school systems to help educators understand the late neuropsychological effects of treatment and tell them about services and strategies that will enable young patients' success in learning.

When might a child be referred to the School Liaison Program?

  • The child has new learning problems.
  • The child has had a recent neuropsychological assessment and the school would benefit from understanding and implementing the recommendations.
  • The parent is unsure whether the child could benefit from academic support services.
  • The child's oncologist is concerned about learning difficulties.

In order to be eligible for School Liaison services, a child must:

  • Be a registered patient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
  • Be of school age, between kindergarten and high-school graduation.
  • Have been diagnosed with leukemia or a brain tumor; have had a bone marrow/stem cell transplant; or have undergone surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy involving the central nervous system.
  • No longer be receiving active treatment.
  • Live within 60 miles of Dana-Farber so that our staff can attend school meetings in person. If the child lives more than 60 miles away, consultation will be by telephone only.

Consultation

We view consultation as an interactive, problem-solving process to meet a child’s educational needs. Our goal is to improve parents and school professionals' understanding of the child's school-related requirements in order to provide the best services based on those unique needs.

I am interested in school consultative services for my child. What's the process?

The consultative process involves several steps:
  1. A parent or treating professional makes a referral.
  2. The family receives an intake packet to complete and return to the School Liaison Program.
  3. A program clinician reviews the intake material and contacts the family.
  4. Additional documentation (school records, assessments) and information (via phone consultation, meeting, and/or observation) will be gathered to help us understand the child's school-related needs.
  5. Based on the identified needs, the program clinician and parent develop a consultation plan of how best to address the concerns in the school setting.
  6. The consultation plan is implemented.
  7. The clinician and parent evaluate the effectiveness of the consultation plan and decide on additional intervention.

What might parents and schools expect from the School Liaison Program?

  • Initial assessment of the child's school situation.
  • Review of school documentation including Individual Education Plans (IEPs), 504 plans, evaluations, progress reports, etc.
  • Meeting with school team (if needed).
  • Observation of child in school (if needed).
  • Collaboration with multidisciplinary teams at Dana-Farber and Boston Children's Hospital.
  • Education about the needs of survivors through educational forums and written information, including workshops, parent nights, and college nights.
  • Support and education for school teams on teaching a survivor of childhood cancer.
  • Recommendations for additional outside services.
Contact

The School Liaison Program
Division of Pediatric Psychosocial Services
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-632-5909
Email: schoolliaisonprogram@dfci.harvard.edu 

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