Primary School Teachers’ Awareness of Chronic Diseases of Children

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Abstract

Introduction: More and more children and adolescents suffering from chronic diseases are included in common school education. Unfortunately, teachers do not feel confident enough about how to cope, fulfil and satisfy the needs of these children in the educational, social and emotional spheres. The aim ofp this part of research was to discover how teachers work with chronically ill children of younger school-age. There were three aims. The first aim was to investigate if teachers have basic awareness and knowledge about selected chronic diseases in children of younger school-age. The second aim was to discover what experience and attitudes towards chronically ill children of younger school-age teachers have. The third aim was to discover, how the quality of school care of chronically ill children of younger school-age can be improved. Methods: We used qualitative research methodology. Data were processed and gathered from semi-structured interviews. Interviews were conducted with 12 teachers. Results: Our findings revealed that teachers should be acquainted with the disease itself and its consequences in all aspects. In some cases, teachers must be acquainted also with the practical aspects of a chronic disease, e.g. first aid and application of drugs and aids in order to assist children if necessary. Discussion: The study offers unique insights into primary teachers’ views and experiences with chronically ill children, how teachers work with chronically ill pupils of younger school-age and how the quality of school care of chronically ill children of younger school-age can be improved. Limitations: The research is still being conducted and therefore, it is not possible to provide more detailed results and conclusions. However, our main aim was to draw attention to the very problem from the point of view of teachers themselves and to highlight their vivid experiences. Conclusions: It is necessary to create interconnected networks of experts and families who will cooperate and communicate and who will participate in satisfying needs of a child together. These networks will ensure that children will be integrated into common school life in spite of their disease without serious consequences affecting their development and education.

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