For Educators


Dear Educators,

Thank you for taking the time to visit the CHIRP website. If you have a student who is currently enrolled in the program, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you to facilitate improvement in your student’s school functioning and overall coping and illness recovery. 

Adolescents with chronic, debilitating, fatiguing and/or painful illnesses face challenges that may prove disruptive to their normal physical, psychological and social developmental trajectories. CHIRP, the Children’s Health and Illness Recovery Program, is a multidisciplinary family-based treatment program designed to maximize the functioning of teens with chronic illness.

School reintegration is a central component to the recovery process. Children and teens may vary in the level of social and academic impairment they exhibit.  Some continue to attend school only to experience extreme exhaustion at the end of the day that precludes them from engaging in family and peer socialization or recreational activities, and may interfere in keeping up with homework and out-of-class assignments.  Others have not attended school for weeks or months by the time they present for treatment, with many being home-schooled or receiving homebound instruction.  In light of these variations, school reintegration is a highly individualized process based on teen, family and school structure as well as needs/resources.  

To assist in the student’s school reintegration and improve school functioning, we will be happy to be available to you in interpreting the student’s illness to school personnel, increase understanding of the impact of the student’s medical condition on such factors as attention, concentration, memory, organization, etc., providing recommendations for patient- and illness-specific accommodations, advising or attending IEP/504 Plan meetings, providing needed documentation to support academic interventions, etc.  


The following are just a few examples of some accommodations that may be beneficial in assisting your student at school:

  • Allowing extended time on selected assignments and tests;
  • Allowing extended time for assignments and tests when student has missed school due to illness;
  • Taking tests in a quiet area away from other students/distractions; 
  • Reductions in overall workload;
  • Seating away from distractions in class;
  • Supplementing written assignments and essays with oral exams and reports;
  • Having access to another student’s class notes;
  • Use of an audio recorder for lectures and note taking;
  • Allow for extra books and supplies to be kept at home and in classrooms to reduce carrying heavy loads for any distance;
  • Use of orthopedic seat cushions in class;
  • Allow student to leave 1-2 minutes before the period ends or before the period begins for extra       transition time;
  • Use of a laptop for note taking and assignments;
  • Allowing the student to stand during class when sitting for an extended period causes pain; some students can work form a podium-style desk whereby they can do their work standing up;
  • Allowing drinks and/or snacks in class (for hydration and blood sugar level concerns)

The following is a list provides a brief description of some common pediatric conditions for which we have used the CHIRP interventions

This list is in no way exhaustive

  • Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome (JPFS) is a musculoskeletal pain syndrome characterized by multiple discrete tender points (TPs), fatigue, and sleep disturbance in the child and adolescent. The chronic musculoskeletal pain affects quality of life, whereas fatigability influences motor response and ability to complete activities of daily living in an expedient time frame.
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) can be characterized as an abnormal adduction of the vocal cords during the respiratory cycle (especially during the inspiratory phase) that produces airflow obstruction at the level of the larynx. VCD frequently mimics persistent asthma.
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a common, relatively benign disturbance of the sympathetic nervous system that primarily affects young women. POTS is characterized by excessive adrenergic symptoms when the patient stands up. Syncope episodes may occur.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is defined as chronic or recurrent abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, and bloating, with the absence of structural or biochemical abnormalities to explain these symptoms.
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) is non-menstrual pain of 3 months duration or longer that localizes to the anatomic pelvis and is severe enough to cause functional disability and require medical or surgical treatment.
  • Migraines Headaches are incapacitating, throbbing headaches frequently located in the temples or frontal head regions
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. The most common symptoms overall are burning and electrical sensations, described to be like "shooting pain." The patient may also experience muscle spasms, local swelling, abnormally increased sweating, changes in skin temperature and color, softening and thinning of bones, joint tenderness or stiffness, and restricted or painful movement.
  • Juvenile Arthritis (JRA) is a condition where there is inflammation of one of more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. 
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Persons with CFS most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness