Our schools are seeing an increase in the number of students with serious chronic health conditions – including social, emotional and developmental issues – which can be a barrier to learning:
The most prevalent health condition among young people, Washington’s 2014 Healthy Youth Survey reports the asthma rate of youth under the age of 18 diagnosed with asthma has grown to 5% – that’s 1 in 10 kids!
Another chronic health condition that has seen dramatic increases in prevalence in recent years, Washington’s 2014 Diabetes Epidemic Action Report, estimates 4,600 children and young adults under the age of 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Sever allergies have also increased, with 1 in 13 students having some type of food allergy that would require the emergency use of an EpiPen if exposed to their allergen, according to FARE-Food Allergy Research Education.
Social, Emotional and Developmental Issues
According to the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, over 43% of children age 2-17 years in Washington have two or more emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions.
The most preventable chronic condition in our youth, about 10% of Washington 8th, 10th and 12th graders are considered obese and another 13-14% are overweight, according to the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey.
Our schools play a key role in helping to manage, reduce and even prevent some of these conditions.
School nurses and behavioral health counselors play a key role in children’s physical, social and emotional health. They are the ones students come to when they do not feel well and are struggling in school.
On a deeper level, when families have medical, social or emotional issues that are affecting their children’s school performance, the school is ideally positioned to provide care coordination.