Skin conditions such as psoriasis can be especially challenging for school-age children. Not only do they need to contend with the physical symptoms of the condition; they also often struggle with anxiety, self-esteem issues, and bullying from their peers. A new series of downloadable handouts from The Society for Pediatric Dermatology (SPD) aim to equip educators and school nurses with information to better support students with psoriasis.
Titled “Skin Conditions in Students,” the series of seven handouts offers information on dermatologic conditions — including one on psoriasis. They are intended to facilitate in-school conversations and care for students living with skin conditions, helping them to have the best possible experience during the school day.
“We have heard a lot of concerns addressed by both the children and their families about what to do in schools … Kids not understanding, their teachers not understanding what their skin condition means for them,” said SPD member Dr. Arianna Yanes, speaking on HCPLive’s “DocTalk” podcast about the goals of these handouts.
The handouts, available in English and Spanish, are meant to help school staff “create an environment where these kids can thrive — where people understand them and have an opportunity to learn more about their skin disease,” said Dr. Yanes.
As with each handout, the psoriasis version of “Skin Conditions in Students” provides a high-level overview of the skin condition and suggests ways school nurses and educators can support students with psoriasis. It includes information on:
The handout also emphasizes that faculty and staff should ask the child and their family directly how to help in a way best suited to the child’s needs. “Generalizing may limit some students who don’t need certain limitations,” Dr. Yanes told HPCLive. “[It] really is about each individual in the context of their classroom.”
Ultimately, Dr. Yanes stated, the SPD encourages school nurses, faculty, and staff to use these handouts as a jumping-off point. “They really do distill down the most critical points. But obviously, the conversations around these diseases are more nuanced and more complicated,” she said.
These handouts, she underscored, are meant to “get that conversation started. To equip parents with something to bring to the teacher to start this conversation and talk about their individual student.”
These conversations, noted Dr. Yanes, can help “create better understanding and, overall, more empathy and support” for children with skin conditions like psoriasis.