Clin Exp Pediatr.  2020 Apr;63(4):141-145. 10.3345/kjp.2019.00696.

Korean parents’ perceptions of the challenges and needs on school re-entry during or after childhood and adolescent cancer: a multi-institutional survey by Korean Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Center for Pediatric Cancer, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • 5Department of Pediatrics, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Korea
  • 6Department of Pediatrics, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 7Department of Pediatrics, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • 8Department of Pediatrics, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, Korea
  • 9Department of Pediatrics, Chungnam National University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
  • 10Department of Pediatrics, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 11Department of Pediatrics, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea
  • 12Department of Pediatrics, Inha University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
  • 13Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
  • 14Department of Pediatrics, Daegu Fatima Hospital, Daegu, Korea
  • 15Department of Pediatrics, Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 16Department of Pediatrics, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea

Abstract

Background
For children and adolescents with cancer, going back to school is a key milestone in returning to “normal life.” Purpose: To identify the support vital for a successful transition, we evaluated the parents’ needs and the challenges they face when their children return to school.
Methods
This multi-institutional study was conducted by the Korean Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. The written survey comprised 24 questions and was completed by 210 parents without an interviewer.
Results
Most parents (165 of 206) reported that their children experienced difficulties with physical status (n=60), peer relationships (n=30), academic performance (n=27), emotional/behavioral issues (n=11), and relationships with teachers (n=4) on reentering school. Parents wanted to be kept informed about and remain involved in their children’s school lives and reported good parent-teacher communication (88 of 209, 42.1%). Parents reported that 83.1% and 44.9% of teachers and peers, respectively, displayed an adequate understanding of their children’s condition. Most parents (197 of 208) answered that a special program is necessary to facilitate return to school after cancer therapy that offers emotional support (n=85), facilitates social adaptation (n=61), and provides tutoring to accelerate catch up (n=56), and continued health care by hospital outreach and school personnel (n=50).
Conclusion
In addition to scholastic aptitude-oriented programs, emotional and psychosocial support is necessary for a successful return to school. Pediatric oncologists should actively improve oncology practices to better integrate individualized school plans and educate peers and teachers to improve health literacy to aid them in understanding the needs of children with cancer.

Keyword

School re-entry; Childhood cancer; Parents
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