ORLANDO, Fla. – For children with chronic illnesses, getting to school can be difficult. However, at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, thanks to funding through the Children's Miracle Network, there is now a full-time teacher on staff bringing the classroom to children's hospital bedsides.
The in-hospital education help is the first program of its kind in Central Florida, insuring that students don't fall behind.
Eddie Nasello said he's spent the last few weeks meeting patients and explaining his new role.
"This gives me the opportunity to get to know them even better than I would working in a school. Being removed from a classroom, it can be very easy for them to become detached from academics, but also feel a little lost," Nasello said.
To qualify for homebound hospital education, a student must have missed more than 15 days of school. Nasello said his job is to add another layer of support, in addition to support from the child's school system. Nasello will mainly be working with patients from the hospital's kidney care center and oncology unit. However, because day-to-day routines vary in a hospital, Nasello offers flexibility for school work.
"Their physical condition, how they feel from one day to the next, their emotional state. So really, trying to assess all those different components to develop strategies and approaches for working with those children," he said.
Bree Ligon, 10, is a patient at Arnold Palmer. She said her favorite subjects are reading and writing.
"Instead of laying in bed all day you'll have something to do. And sometimes school can actually be fun and educational," she said.
Nasello estimates he'll work with anywhere from five to 25 students per week.
"It's amazing to see how strong these patients are and how resilient they are in the face of some difficult circumstances," he said.