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Olga Lizasoáin Rumeu, School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra

The here and now of the child with cancer, and its future projection.

Sat, 15 Feb 2020 13:50:00 +0000 Published in News Journal

International Childhood Cancer Day, celebrated on February 15, is an ideal date to address the fundamental role of hospital pedagogy. This focuses on the educational care of sick and hospitalized children, so as not to delay their academic development and staff, being a reference of the inclusive and personalized Education . It is a basic pillar of the humanization of hospitals, and its scope of action also reaches home educational care and the patient's family context. It is a pedagogy that focuses on the disease and on life; without renouncing school learning, it goes far beyond it. It thus breaks with the rigidity of curriculum to focus on the here and now of the child with cancer, projecting him or her into the future, moving from 'educating for life' to 'educating in life'.

The professional of the Education has to manage the methodology in this process of teaching-learning, and in particular the active methodologies, in addition to the information and contents. It is necessary to emphasize the nuclear importance of the partnership with the academic staff of the high school of these students, in order to achieve the connection between both contexts, the school and the hospital.

The management of the information by the professional of the Education goes hand in hand with the professional secret, defined as the obligation to keep (medical) information acquired in the framework of their functions and that reaches a very particular aspect within the hospital context. This secrecy is a guarantee for the trust of the work team, which converges in its mission statement to provide financial aid professional to the patient and his family.

In this educational activity, what has to be very clear is that the real center is the sick child, with his or her own characteristics of temperament, character, family status , state of mind, pain, etc. And what do children with cancer tell us? If we ask them how they feel, they will tell us, in different ways, with different expressions and words, phrases such as: "I am sad, I feel unhappy, between the treatments and the tests I don't even know where I am"; "I am not myself, I am someone else, and I liked the way I was before! And no one sees me because I cry inside myself"; "The weather is weird when you are in the hospital. Weekends are even worse and you want Monday to come!"; "When they ask me how I'm doing I always answer: fine! It's just to please them"; "I don't feel like anything, I just want to escape. I'm afraid, I'm very afraid...".

And how does the hospital pedagogy professional respond to the child and his family? With a solid and continuous training for the implementation of educational actions, through a good management of the methodology professor; and through the exchange of experiences among the professionals involved. And all this accompanied by large doses of empathy, sensitivity, humanity, realism, enthusiasm, commitment, flexibility, trust, naturalness, exigency, communication, listening, patience, initiative, optimism, joy, sense of humor, strength of spirit and ability to overcome.

Let us defend the right of the child with cancer to Education , because anyone who does not understand that these patients have care needs that go beyond the medical-physical, that they should continue with their own activities such as studying, playing, talking, laughing and being with other children; anyone who does not understand that a child with an uncertain prognosis has the right to continue learning, being interested in things and carrying out activities; anyone who does not understand that these parents with a child with cancer need support and guidance, ... simply has a wrong or partial conception of life.... simply has a wrong or partial conception of what life is all about.