How much should a backpack weigh?

Have a child with SM/Chiari? Share issues unique to children and their caregivers.

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How much should a backpack weigh?

Postby joeysmom » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:38 am

Hello all,
A little background, my son is 9 has CM and SM and was decompressed 12/06. His SM has shrunk at the 10 month post-op mark. He still deals with some pain and weekness but overall is doing great. My question is this, he has a new teacher and yesterday she sent him home with some unfinished work including textbooks. He was the last child out of that school because his backpack was so heavy. I weighed it when we got home and it was a little over 9 pounds. The school really discourages wheeled backpacks and next year's school doesn't even allow them unless written in an IEP or SAS. I have seen here that no more than 20 pounds for an adult with SM should be lifted, but any idea on a child? His back is sore today so I am thinking we should limit him to about 5 pounds. If anyone has any "official" info that I can share with his teacher. I have already given her the print outs from the conquer chiari site. She is a really sweet lady, but I think she is rather clueless on how severe all this was and is. I would like to calmly inform her.

Thanks a bunch.
Tonya
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Postby jordysdad » Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:15 am

Tonya,

I can't give you an exact answer on this one, but I would think as little weight as possible when it comes to a backpack, until you get an answer from your neurosurgeon.

I am writing to tell you a good suggestion I saw somewhere, (don't recall exactly where). It is a good idea to have two sets of textbooks, one for home and one for school, to avoid having to lug them back and forth.

See if the school will work with you with this, but let me know if they don't. There are federal laws regarding the accomodation of children at schools, I can try to send you some of that info. if need be.

Joe
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Postby joeysmom » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:28 pm

Thank you for the advice Joe. I met with his teachers at the begining of the school year and was assured that he wouldn't be bringing books home this school year. Course, all that changed when he got the new teacher. Our original plan was to have a SAS in place for next school year. He moves to an intermediate school and we thought we should get one in place before the new school. Over all his elementry school has really been wonderful and accomadating. I just think his new teacher is a bit green (she is fresh out of school) and really is clueless. Do you know if I should ask for an IEP or a SAS? My older son had both at various times but I don't recall which one allows for the special accomodations like a 2nd set of books at home.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer me.
Tonya
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Postby brianfsmom » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:29 pm

Hi Tonya

Glad Joey is doing well. And whose back wouldn't hurt from those backpacks!!!???

I posted a similar thread to this back in September, maybe here or maybe on another board. Many people recommended the wheeled backpacks, and there's no way the school can prohibit it if you have a note from the doctor requiring it.

I think I actually asked our neurologist and got the answer, that there is no answer. It's as much as he is comfortable handling. (within reason)

First I would make sure that you do get a second set of books. Does Joey have a 504 plan? Get those books to leave at home. You will really feel the weight of it in middle school if you don't.

Secondly, ask Joey how he feels about the wheeled backpacks. Some older kids won't want to use them anyway. I try to tell Brian to carry a couple of books in his arms when he has a lot, but he never listens. This is still an ongoing issue that we have to deal with.

Remember also if he takes a bus, he will still have to hoist the backpack up, even if it has wheels. I wondered if the wheels might make the actual backpack heavier at that time. Also make sure the backpack has thick comfortable straps that distribute the weight well.

Good luck, sorry that isn't more helpful. In middle school, even without textbooks, my son's binders alone can weigh over ten pounds.
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Postby joeysmom » Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:26 pm

No, he doesn't have a 504. So is that what I need to ask for? He has not wanted to use a wheeled backpack. He thinks it isn't "cool". I will be speaking with this teacher Monday. I think I will request a conference with both teachers and tell them to get the paperwork started. What documentation do you think I will need? All I have is a doctor's note saying he is cleared. It doesn't have any restrictions on it. I do think the nurse with the NS office would help me there though. I will request a note for a 2nd set of books. Anything else you can think of? I still wish someone had that "magic" number of pounds though.

Thanks for your time.
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Postby brianfsmom » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:44 am

Hi Tonya,

The 504 is different from the IEP in that it can be changed or altered at any time, it isn't based on a once-a-year meeting and it doesn't classify your child as having a learning disability. Brian's only covers such things as having the extra set of books at home, extra time for taking tests, not lifting heavy weights or doing uncomfortable stretches in gym class, and being allowed to type long writing assignments. He's also supposed to have a "buddy" for note taking, but that hasn't worked out so far.

Some ADD kids have 504's in our school also. Theirs include things like making the teacher sign their assignment pads every day, or having them seated at the front of the room.

All it took to get Brian's in the first place was a letter that he was under this treatment. That was in elementary school, and that was for the extended test taking time. We modified it when he got to middle school to include all those extra perks, and at that point I brought in a letter from his neurologist that listed all the recommendations. That would be your best bet; because then the school has to do it.

Good luck! And I figured that with the wheeled backpacks. Brian is the same way.
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