04. Kids with Cancer Still Need School: How Educators Can Help Families Affected by Childhood Cancer

Speakers: Juliana Pare-Blagoev, Ed.D.; Melanie Kabia, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP

*These speakers will be presenting virtually.
**This session is available for in person and virtual attendance.

Unsurprisingly, childhood cancer can be overwhelming for families during the early stages and treatment. However, it may shock educators to know that it is not uncommon for families to report that schooling issues are more challenging than the cancer itself! This session introduces educators to school related risks that can affect childhood cancer survivors and provides resources that educators can use to help. The approach, framework, and materials we will share were borne out of collaborations with affected families, school, and community stakeholders. It considers concerns of equity and inclusion as well as the general issues arising from acquired learning differences.  While the focus is on children and families affected by cancer, the themes and concerns are relevant to families dealing with other issues including those associated with mental health and wellness concerns.

Credits: Act 48, ASHA, Psych PA Board

Audience: Special Education Teachers; Teachers who work with students who are blind or visually impaired; Teachers who work with students who are Deaf-Blind; Teachers/other professionals who work with students who have sustained traumatic brain injury; Speech Therapists; General Education Teachers; Assistive Technology Specialists; Occupational Therapists and/or Physical Therapists; Orientation and Mobility Specialists; School Counselors and/or School Psychologists; Paraprofessionals

Speakers’ Bio: 
Dr. Juliana Paré-Blagoev,
Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University, is trained in developmental psychology and educational neuroscience. Current research efforts include understanding and addressing the unique educational needs of pediatric survivors of childhood cancer. She has previously conducted neuroimaging studies of skill and language learning but has learned she prefers collaborative and classroom-focused research. Prior to joining Hopkins she worked in the non-profit R&D sector learning and researching alongside educators. As a founding member of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society, she has worked to improve the bi-directional integration of knowledge from research and educational practice because she has seen that researchers have just as much to learn from teachers as vice-versa. She is currently Associate Editor for the Society’s journal, Mind, Brain and Education. She received her Ed.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, her MA in Child Development from Tufts University, and her BA from New College of Florida. Juliana plays the piano-but not too well, and she appreciates that her three children tolerate the noise.
Email: juliana.pareblagoev@jhu.edu
Melanie Kabia has been a key parent stakeholder in an ongoing R&D project with  Kennedy Kriger and Johns Hopkins Children's Center to identify and address schooling challenges faced by families affected by childhood cancers.  She has drawn on her own family's experiences in the K-12 setting following her child's diagnosis and treatment for cancer. Melanie has presented to faith based groups across the country on the role of faith during family medical crisis and at numerous conferences and fundraisers regarding the importance of childhood cancer research and programming. As an advocate for her child she has noted multiple schooling challenges and developed strategies for improving communication to help better address them and provide support for her son, during and after long term chemotherapy. Melanie is a certified Human Resources professional and  entrepreneur. She resides in Baltimore with her husband and children.
Email: melanie.kabia@gmail.com