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Skin camouflage can also benefit children and young people but what special considerations are there for parents thinking of going down this route? SCA’s Rowena Wilson gives some guidance.
What is the right age for skin camouflage: whilst there can be no set rule, very small children may not to be aware that they have a visible difference in appearance and if this is the case a camouflage consultation may not be appropriate. Where children are about to change school from junior to middle/senior level then camouflage products may give them self confidence and they are at an age where they can make decisions about their appearance. Other changes such as undergoing treatment may also initiate these considerations. Private practitioners often set their own minimum age for consultations involving children. At SCA its 5 yrs old.
Consultation etiquette: Children 16 yrs and younger are not usually seen alone in consultation with a skin camouflage practitioner and will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. You may also wish to check if your practitioner has CRB clearance.
You know your child best: Sometimes it is difficult for the practitioner, who has never met your child before, to find out what he/she is feeling about the skin camouflage and the results that the practitioner is getting. Children can be shy or unwilling to express an opinion to an adult. Without dominating, try and hep the practitioner find out what is going to work best for your child.
Dont overwhelm the consultation: Whilst one parent needs to accompany a child or young person, it can be distracting for the child and the practitioner to have the whole family there. Siblings may tease, everyone will vocalise their opinion and the patient may feel self conscious. If childcare arrangements permit, keep the number attending the consultation small.
Keep the routine simple: young children especially will not have the concentration or skills to follow complex or time consuming routines. As a parent you may need to be the one who applies the camouflage products in the beginning but ultimately camouflage will only be successful if the child feels it is worthwhile doing. Work with the practitioner to develop a simple routine – you can always come back and build on the routine once it is established.
Supporting and involving young people: Many charities have campaigns that focus on children and young people who have a visible difference: Changing Faces (www.changingfaces.org.uk), the Vitiligo Society (www.vitiligosocietyweb.org.uk) and Katie Piper Foundation (www.katiepiperfoundation.org.uk) are good examples. Also the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (www.raft.ac.uk) which is SCA’s Featured Charity, runs a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme (www.raftdofe.com) for the volunteering section of the award, one of only 10 charities to have received this status. RAFT also runs work experience placements where students can obtain an in-depth insight into the scientific research that RAFT undertakes outside the school environment.
If you would like an informal chat about skin camouflage for your child contact SCA on firstname.lastname@example.org