About Connected Kansas Kids

Concept

Connected Kansas Kids (CKK) was conceptualized as a way to extend the work of Dr. Kathy Davis to more kids with chronic illness, their classmates, and their loved ones across Kansas, using technology and the technological infrastructure of the state. Often, chronic physical or mental health conditions can be "invisible" disabilities, which cause such problems as school absences, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, inattention, chronic pain and medication side effects. An acute or chronic health condition can impact a young person's ability to learn and fully participate in activities, just as with "traditional" learning disabilities. Often, minor accommodations can make major differences in long term outcomes for the young person. Connected Kansas Kids enables the young person, parents, educators, other caregivers and healthcare providers to collaborate on goals that aim to enhance optimal health and quality of life.

Good news

Kids going to school.

Medical advances and new technologies, such as telemedicine and interactive Web sites, have enabled many children, who previously might have been excluded from normal activities, to participate in school, clubs and sports alongside their siblings and peers.

All children and adolescents, including those with serious physical and mental health diagnoses, are guaranteed a "free, appropriate public education" at no cost to the parents or guardians. The opportunity to continue to grow, develop and learn is not eliminated by a serious diagnosis.

Kids and life

We now know that being involved in school and activities helps a young person with serious illness maintain a normal routine, and allows continued growth and development. A return to school and activities does not increase the stress on a seriously ill young person, but rather it reduces stress and anxiety, and it helps restore a positive quality of life. When our expectations meet the needs of a young person with a serious illness and we help find challenges and successes, everybody benefits.

Research has shown us that a positive outlook and a focus on normal activities can speed up the recovery process for patients. Kids want to get back to school to see their teachers and friends. It should be no surprise that there is absolutely no research indicating that doing a math assignment, reading a book, or having fun with friends will make a child more ill.

Accommodating kids' needs

Kids going to school.

Obviously, children with chronic illnesses do have special needs. Teachers, peers, siblings, child care providers, clergy, coaches, scout leaders ... everyone who cares for or about kids will want to ensure that they are acting in the young person's best interests.

That is why CKK is here. This site is intended to ensure that the caregivers have all the information they need to feel comfortable welcoming the young person back into the classroom, onto the playing field, or into whatever activities were an enjoyable part of life. With accurate and thorough information, caregivers will be well-equipped to develop an appropriate plan to meet the needs of the individual and the school as a whole.