My 6 year old son started losing his hair at the start of October, and now he's almost completely bald, with just a few eyelashes/eyebrows left.
I've been AU for 15 years, so when I noticed his hair thinning I spoke to his teacher right away about the possibility of him having Alopecia like me, and what that meant. She has been so supportive, as has the school principal.
Now that we have the official diagnosis, I am sending a letter home with his classmates for their parents to read, explaining what my son is going through, and what Alopecia is. I'm also sending a letter to the rest of the teachers/staff of the school. My goal is to educate everyone.
The principal was so impressed with my letter, she has now asked that I come and speak to my son's class about Alopecia, which I am more than willing to do. But this is where I am at a loss.
It's odd...my son already knew what Alopecia is because of my AU, so there wasn't much explaining to do. But I have no idea how to explain it to a class full of 5 and 6 year olds who have never heard of Alopecia before!
Is there anyone out there who has spoken to their child's class who can give me some advice?
I want to make it informative, but fun, not scary.
Thanks in advance...I appreciate any help I can get!
I think www.naaf.org has videos.
i have done so years ago. i am au and a young man in our elementary school had aa. i started by showing cut outs of young models, male and female. then started talking about that we all really dont look like that. and it would be boring if we did. i then explained to the young ones that aa is like having an allergy to your own hair. i was wearing a wig and i did take it off (tho not necessary). i told them that they might giggle at first and that i understood that. not often that they see a bald woman. but i also told them after awhile they would get used to me...and that after that if things were said to hurt me....that would just be so sad. i also asked them to be "special". that they had a little job to do...and that would be to look out for people that were getting bullied. this empowers those bullies that are doing so because in reality they are hurting. really works. and of course, at the end of the 45 mins. asking taking questions, they said they were all used to me. the young man i was talking abouat it now a wonderful adult who has shaved his head for many years now.
has had girlfriends, gone to proms and is just totally awesome. seems like your child has a super wonderful role model!!!!! good luck
I've been involved in quite a few school education meetings with classes of my daughters and with young people I have helped.
I think with the age group you are talking with it's just important to be age appropriate. Even though your son will have a good understanding about what alopecia is the other little people in his class will not have had any education about it at all.
Some things that may help is to keep the discussion short and factual to begin with. Many children at that age can relate to differences but don't really understand the ramifications of those differences. Talking about different hair colours and discussing how that doesn't make the inside of a person different, just like your son not having any hair doesn't make him different, he still wants to play and be a friend like everybody else. Explaining in simple terms what the condition does - 'his body has an allergy to his hair'. Explaining that it doesn't hurt your son and that it is not something that anybody can catch - just like you can't catch peoples hair colour etc. Then going on to talk about how people should be treated kindly no matter what their differences. Hope this helps. :)
How is your son feeling about your intention to talk to his class? I know that different children behave in different ways and even though this may be absolutely the best way to handle things it's always great to have him fully on board with what you are going to do, with him being fully engaged. (I'm sure you have already done this :).
Recently I talked to a beautiful young lady who has alopecia areata as does her mother. Her mother had been dealing with the condition for many years and was very good with dealing with her condition (positive and lovely). When I began talking to the daughter (separately from her mum) I realised that she had been holding back her own grief about her hairloss because she felt she should be coping just like her mum. Which she was but she really hadn't given herself time to grief her loss and had also locked her mum out to a certain extent as she didn't want to seem to be not coping (she wanted to be as sorted as her mum). It was complicated and nobody was in the wrong, the mum had been doing a sterling job as had the daughter. I asked the daughter to go and talk to her mum about her upset - which she did and they were able to be supportive and close as they had been through the journey of alopecia to that point. I just thought I would pass this on as sometimes children so want to please their parents that they forget to do what works well for them.
Good luck to you and your son with all you are doing. You sound like a wonderful caring supportive mum (of course) and I believe your son will very much appreciate your own experience with this condition.
The Canadian Alopecia Association CANAAF may be able to provide you with a powerpoint presentation on Alopecia. They have some slides with kids in them and they are very fun and upbeat. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm sure he would be happy to help contribute.
my daughter has AA. she is in 4th grade and the kids were starting to tease her saying she had lice, thats why her hair was falling out. I ended up making a power point to show the class. It discribed the condition, showed pictures that were appropriate for school age kids. I would be more than happy to forward that power point to you in an email if you want. my email address is email@example.com
good luck! I know kids can be cruel but I think the younger it happens its almost easier. I'm hoping now that the kids understand whats going on my daughter will just be the girl with bald spots.
Sorry for dropping off the radar. My mom was in town to visit, so the last several days have been all about Zander, my son.
First of all, I want to say that I have spoken to him about coming to his class. The first time I mentioned it (shortly after he was diagnosed) he didn't want me to. He said he didn't want anyone to know he has Alopecia. But one day he asked me if I was going to talk to his class...I asked if he was okay with it and he said yes. Now he's so excited about it! It's so cute...he just reminded me tonight that it's just over a week till I come to his class to talk about our Alopecia. He's such an amazing, brave boy!
Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I am definitely going to email CANAAF to see if they can help.
Zander has been using the term "Alopecian" (which I've used to describe myself for years)...he calls us "the two Alopecians", and he loves that word. It's like a cool way of saying we have Alopecia. Since the kids are so young and I want to make this a learning experience, but a little fun for the kids, I was thinking of making magnets (I'm a crafty lady!)to give to the kids that say something like "My friend is an Alopecian" or something.
What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks again for all of your help!
Now that we have a people who know, I am transferring a letter home with her friends for their parents to read, define what my child is going through, and what Alopecia is. He can have https://essayhunters.com/trustmypaper-com-review/ for them. I am also sending a letter to other teachers / staff of the school. My goal is to educate everyone.
Hi there! So much love to you and your son. I just released a children's book about alopecia for ages 4-9 that I have created to help start conversations and spread awareness about alopecia especially in the classroom. You can read the beginning of the story on my website at www.raisemarigolds.com/shop. I hope it serves as a valuable resource to you :)