AIM AND OBJECTIVES: To explore the participation and responses of children to an asthma education programme that was developed with the aid of children with asthma. In a larger perspective, the aim was to understand how educational approaches can be designed to help children learn to live and cope with asthma.
BACKGROUND: A literature search showed that programmes where children participate in the development of educational materials or programmes are lacking.
DESIGN: An exploratory descriptive design was chosen to get an in-depth understanding of the communication and collaboration between children and healthcare personnel.
METHODS: Data were collected through observations, tape recordings of the conversations and notes of the interactions between the children and the healthcare personnel and analysed by content analysis.
RESULTS: The significance of the asthma education programme emerged in four themes: (i) children are learning from each other: in a positive learning climate, the children were able to express emotional themes that they may not have communicated before; (ii) children are learning through an interaction with the educational material: the children discussed stories and pictures in a fellow interplay: when one child expressed something, another child would recognise it and continue the story; (iii) children are learning from their interaction with healthcare personnel and vice versa: adjusting the vocabulary according to the children's experiences, they were met on their level of understanding; and (iv) children can express and discuss their understanding of asthma.
CONCLUSIONS: The unique aspect about this programme is that it emanates from children's perspectives. The children were actively involved and learnt from each other's shared knowledge and experiences, which is a good source of meaningful learning and empowering processes.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Future educational approaches should use children's perspectives in a manner in which their questions, thoughts and daily challenges are emphasised.
2013. Vol. 22, no 7-8, 996-1004 p.
asthma; child; empowerment; health education; health promotion; learning; participation; qualitative