Graduation Date

5-2014

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

The advances in medicine today have created an emerging population of student-survivors, school-aged children living with and/or recovering from serious health conditions (Bauman, 2010). Each school day in the United States, 46 young people, or the equivalent of two classrooms of students, learn they have cancer (Cure Search National Childhood Cancer Foundation, 2010). These statistics reflect the fact that cancer is one of the most chronic illnesses in childhood. Most serious childhood medical issues will have life-long ramifications. This qualitative research study is comprised of an in-depth review of the research literature and the responses and information gathered from two professionals. The purpose of the study is to identify common issues faced by student-survivors and to examine the relationship between psychosocial support and school performance. The results indicate that there is a commonality of psychosocial issues that affect this population. Chronically ill children are experiencing schoolrelated problems and the information being exchanged between the trinity of professionals, which includes-educators, medical professionals, and mental health professionals- to families is inconsistent and confusing thwarting access to resources. It can be concluded that the needs of this population are not being met in the traditional context of the public school system and that teachers are feeling ill prepared to serve them, but that positive school experiences, in one form or another, amidst childhood illness can provide the social structure necessary to alleviate the feelings of isolation and psychological distress commonly experienced.

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