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You have a lot more responsibilities in middle school and high school than you did in elementary school. Your teachers and parents expect more because you’re older and more capable. They know the importance of education for your future and want you to do your best.

Living with a primary immunodeficiency (PI) can make doing your best pretty tough at times. You may be absent more which can lead to:

  • Falling behind on your work.
  • Friends and teachers asking why you aren’t at school.
  • Missing time with your friends.
  • Not being able to commit to a team, school play, etc.

If your school day is not affected by your PI, it is up to you and your parents whether you say anything to the school about it. However, you should tell your school about your PI in the following situations:

  • You are absent or expect to be absent more than other students.
  • You take medication at school.
  • You need adjustments made to your day, like more frequent restroom visits or a rest break during physical activity.

If any of these apply to you, have your parents arrange a meeting with your school.

Keeping up with Your School Work
The move from elementary school to middle school or high school can be exciting, but it can also make you nervous. You might wonder. Will I see my friends? Will I like my teachers? Will I find my locker or classroom? Sure, there are new things to get used to, but things usually go smoothly.

Coping with your PI in the school setting requires a little more thought. You may feel stress at school when you are experiencing homework overload, teachers giving deadlines, and you’re not feeling well. You can make it work with proven strategies to relieve the physical and emotional stress. Here are some suggestions to help you cope with the pressures and demands of school work:

  • Plan ahead. Use your time wisely in school and give yourself plenty of time to complete your work at home if you want to do well. You can save yourself a lot of stress if you plan ahead with good time management skills. If you are having trouble managing your time, talk to your parents, teachers or the school counselor.
  • Get organized. Have a system of organization for note-taking, keeping track of assignments, and other important papers. Being organized can bring you the peace of mind that comes from knowing where everything is, remembering deadlines and test dates, and clearing your mind of some of the mental clutter that disorganization brings. Your stress level will definitely be lowered. A daily planner is a great way to keep things organized.
  • Create a good study environment. Creating a soothing environment can reduce stress and help you learn. Some students listen to music when they study. The study environment you create needs to help you concentrate on your studies and be one that works for you.
  • Learn study skills.
      • First things first, avoid procrastination. Don’t put things off. This is especially true when you are feeling really good and have lots of energy.
      • Try to study at a time of the day when you are at your best, especially on the weekends.
      • Concentrate on one thing at a time. The quality of your work will improve if you work on one thing at a time. When it comes to homework, multi-tasking is a bad idea.
      • If you have a big project to work on, break it down into smaller tasks. Trying to complete a big project in one sitting may be too mentally overwhelming and it will be much harder to keep up your concentration.
  • Ask for help. It is okay to ask for help from parents, teachers, friends or other school staff if you are having difficulty with an assignment or keeping up with your work.

Teasing and Bullying
Teasing is something that happens to many students, whether it’s during school or after school. Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or the intention is to harm another person. Here are examples of bullying:

  • Verbal – name calling, threats
  • Physical – pushing, tripping, hitting
  • Psychological – spreading rumors, leaving others out

If you are in a situation where you are being bullied, tell a trusted adult right away. If the adult doesn’t listen, tell another adult until you are heard.

Click here for tips on explaining your PI to others.