Going to school with a brace can be the scariest part about getting a scoliosis brace.
We have some ideas, things to expect when you go back to school and ways that you can address the nerves. Below are 5 areas of school that often worry patients.
At Perth Scoliosis Clinic we will give you a “get out of jail free card” which is a letter from us simply stating you are wearing a scoliosis brace and to discreetly accommodate your requests where possible. It often saves you having to explain yourself and can make things more formal for the teachers who can sometimes be difficult. Being honest and open can be an important step to being a successful brace wearer and minimise anxiety.
WHAT TO WEAR
- Make sure your school uniform still fits with your brace, and be prepared in case you need to go up or down in size
- Sometimes while you are getting used to wearing your brace, it is possible for some schools to allow you to wear your PE uniform (permission must be gained from school)
- Wearing quality singlets that support you under your brace can be really valuable to helping your experience wearing a brace: we stock ScoliFit singlets.
- Be prepared that the plastic on the plastic of chairs can be difficult. Mention this to the teacher and use an alternative where possible.
- You can put a little pillow/soft pad under your pelvis when sitting on plastic chairs to help with comfort.
- School assemblies can also be difficult as students tend to sit on the floor. If you are uncomfortable we would recommend asking to sit on a chair, as sitting on the floor for a long period of time can be very painful and uncomfortable in your brace.
- Opt for a backpack that has thicker straps and more padding
- Ensure you fit it so it sits hard up to your back
TELLING FRIENDS, CLASSMATES AND TEACHERS
- Be open and honest with your classmates; it is usually curiosity (and sometimes strangely jealousy) as to why sometimes people tease.
- If the opportunity arises to do a Q and A in your group of friends, classroom, home room it is a great way to champion your cause and is something you should be proud of. This will take away stigma and help you feel empowered.
- You will surprise yourself that most people will support you, and remember: those that matter, don’t mind and those that mind, don’t matter.
- Don’t be afraid to let your teachers and head of year know about your brace, so everyone is aware.
- If your school has a wellness center/ nurses office it is a great place to leave your brace somewhere safe or get changed in (they usually have a private toilet) instead of gym toilets/ change rooms.
If you are feeling uncomfortable in your brace don’t be afraid to tell your teacher and go to the wellness center to adjust your brace and make yourself feel comfortable again.
PE & EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
- Try and wear your brace for as many PE activities as possible
- If you are uncomfortable getting changed with your peers then school nurses will always accommodate you.
- Ask for support.
- Possibility to ask for study periods (school depending) instead of having to observe a PE class, where it may be difficult for you to participate in your brace.