Endocrine Abstracts (2011) 27 S13

Helping children to learn about and understand their illness: a quick look at theory and its application

Alan Pritchard


Warwick Institute of Education, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.


This short presentation will consider the fact that many adults underestimate children’s ability to understand many things – this works in two ways, sometimes children understand more, and sometimes less than we might imagine – and by doing so may cause upset and misunderstanding. In any case we will see that all of us, including children, try to make sense of our surroundings, of new information, and of what happens to us, and children, in particular, need a certain amount of help with this process. A brief outline of constructivist learning theory will provide a foundation for building ideas about how children might come to terms with new and sometimes confusing information about their health. Some examples of misunderstanding will be considered and some practical suggestions for helping children through what can be a very difficult time will be suggested. The presentation will be necessarily brief and should be considered as a small window into rather large topic.

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