Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Program
Children and Adolescents with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD): Information for School Teams
This information is designed to help teachers, nurses, school counselors and other school staff members to better understand congenital heart disease (CHD) and its impact on a child’s academic and behavioral growth.
CHD is a problem with the heart's structure and function that is present before birth. CHD can describe a number of different problems affecting the heart, and is the most common type of birth defect. It is important to know that CHD are related to changes in brain development, as well. Changes in blood flow related to CHD can have a direct impact on a child’s brain development.
Children with congenital heart disease can attend school and participate fully, but some children with CHD may have delays in development, learning disabilities or special education needs. Most school districts, with the aid of their school teams, can assist in supporting the needs of children with CHD in the school environment.
The school team can coordinate a range of support services for the family and the child with CHD. Contact the parents/guardians after learning of the diagnoses, and if possible, meet with them in person. Inform appropriate school staff of the child’s disease and provide the necessary supports to ensure the child is successful in school.