School re-entry for the child with chronic illness: parent and school personnel perceptions
PURPOSE: The number of children returning to school with chronic illnesses has increased during the past decade. Studies have suggested that school personnel are not well informed about chronic illness, receive little or no training, and feel unprepared to deal with these children in the classroom. Few studies address the concerns of parents when their children return to school. The purpose of the study was to identify and describe specific concerns and educational needs of parents and school personnel. METHOD: Telephone interviews were conducted with 21 parents. Twenty-four questionnaires were completed by school personnel, social workers, principals, psychologists, teachers, and school nurses. Content analysis was used to explore the data for recurrent themes. FINDINGS: Five areas of concern were evident in the survey responses of parents and school personnel: (a) how parents informed the school about the child's illness (breaking the news), (b) the processes related to the child's actual re-entry into the school (making the transition), (c) the ongoing monitoring of the child's health status both parents and teachers felt necessary (watching the child), (d) the need to teach school personnel about unexpected health problems (teaching the teachers), and (e) school personnel's expectations for the child (working with the child). Specific examples of positive and negative experiences related to these themes are provided.
Kliebenstein, MA; Broome, ME
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