Many children with IBD do not completely understand their condition or what they are going through, and this can affect them emotionally.
IBD is often thought of as a “young person’s disease” because its onset is typically between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can certainly be diagnosed at a younger age.
The school’s involvement can help these students live normal lives, while lack of involvement and support from the school can lead to poor adjustment on the students’ part, which can then lead to:
- difficulties completing work on time;
- diminished academic performance;
- difficulties sitting exams;
- difficulties maintaining relationships with school friends;
- difficulties participating in school activities (e.g., physical education, excursions);
- lack of confidence, motivation, or self-esteem; and
- issues relating to body image
Many people with IBD live very normal lives, but students with IBD will most likely experience a disruption to their education, extra-curricular activities, and social life. IBD can also disrupt their
physical growth and maturity, especially during the critical stage of puberty and adolescence.
A major physical impact of IBD on children up to 12 years old is delayed growth. This means that the student might be shorter, thinner, and/or smaller than his peers.
Children with active disease might seem frail, and sometimes listless and lacking in energy. And while they might actually look well at times, they still could be suffering from other symptoms, such as cramps and lack of appetite.
Adolescence is a time of extreme self-consciousness and insecurity. For adolescents with IBD, this time can be far more challenging.
Teens with IBD can become even more self-conscious than their peers, especially if they look younger and different. This makes it more it difficult for them to socialise and participate in activities.
Young people with IBD who are about to start tertiary education have many new things to deal with, and might find that stress worsens their symptoms. It is therefore important that they thoroughly prepare well ahead of time, to lessen the stress later on.
For more information, see The Inside Story: A Toolkit for Living Well with IBD available in the Member’s Only section of the website.
Download Students with IBD (PDF 770KB) or call our office on 1800 138 029 to have a copy sent out to you.