Educational support needs of injured children and their families: A qualitative study
Objective: To explore the educational support needs of injured children and families.
Patients: Thirteen injured children and/or their
parents (n = 19) discharged from a major trauma centre within 12 months.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews analysed with thematic analysis.
Results: Theme 1: communication and information needs. Schools need help to understand the effects of children’s injuries and the adjustments required for their return to school, such as how to involve chil-dren in the more active elements of the curriculum. Thus, effective communication between the injur-ed child, their family, health and education professionals and outside agencies is needed. A specialist key-worker could co-ordinate communication and school return. Theme 2: Educational support needs. Injured children experience changes to their appearance, new symptoms, and altered physical and cognitive abilities. Their absence from school often
adversely affects their friendships. Consequently, injured children need continued access to education throughout recovery, support with learning, a flexible timetable, opportunities for social integration, involvement in all aspects of the curriculum, and environmen-tal adaptations to maintain their health and safety.
Conclusion: Children with different types of injuries have similar needs for flexible learning and environmental accommodations. Social integration and participation in physical activity should be specific goals for school return.
Serious injuries in children can have significant impacts on their school life, which often result in prolonged absence, which may affect their success. Teachers and health professionals need to understand how to make the return to school as quick and easy as possible. To understand more about their needs when returning to school we interview-ed children with a variety of injuries and their families. Schools needed help to understand how to support injured children and the changes required for their return. These included: access to education throughout recovery, a flexible timetable, help to “catch up”, and changes to make the school environment safe. A health professional (key worker) could provide this advice and assist communication between the hospital and the school. Adjustments need to ensure that children remain with their friends and are involved in all types of school activities.
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