Although knowledge about the disease is incomplete, it’s important for parents to be as well informed as possible, so that they can help their child avoid pain crises. Counseling will give them a safe, confidential way of exploring their feelings, and provide a source of encouragement and support.
When the child starts school, parents should inform his teachers of his condition, making sure they are aware of the problems it can impose on his education. The child might have to miss some classes, for example, because of hospital admission or a crisis. He child should be reassured and encouraged to express his anxieties freely.
The child’s feelings must be given great consideration. Many children with SCD can experience difficulties with their classmates at preschool and school. The child’s teachers should educate the other children about SCD so that the child does not suffer from feelings of alienation or isolation – as he might if, for example, they thought they could catch the disease from him.
Once they can speak, many children with SCD express a fear of dying or being deformed. Others feel different and alienated, thinking they are the only ones who are suffering from this condition and that nobody understands them. Yet others are afraid of expressing when they are in pain in case nobody believes them. Parents can help greatly by making sure that the child feels assured of their understanding, sympathy, and care whenever he needs it.
Abnormal hemoglobin leads to the production of red blood cells that are short-lived, fragile, and, sickle-shaped.