Knowledge and attitudes of high school pupils towards children with special health care needs: an Israeli exploration
Journal/Book: Patient Educ Couns. 2000; 40: 5-10.
Abstract: One hundred seventy-one pupils of a high school in Holon (Israel) were questioned regarding their attitudes towards chronically disabled individuals who have special health-care needs. The level of pupils' knowledge concerning the etiology, symptoms and complications of these chronic conditions was approximately 72%; it did not increase in four years of study. Previous personal knowledge of a child or adolescent with a chronic disease or handicap influenced the understanding of that particular ailment. The pupils' attitude towards handicapped individuals become more positive and tolerant with increasing age (and class level). A correlation was found between the level of knowledge about special medical-health needs and tolerant attitudes toward chronic patients. Most of the pupils think that the following occupational and recreational interests for the disabled will help to increase their self-image and improve their feelings of acceptance: computers, music (playing and listening), sports and domestic pets. The pupils believe the topics of chronic diseases and patients should be studied as a regular part of the school curriculum and these subjects should be taught with the participation of both physicians and teachers. The pupils stressed the role of the teacher in handling children with the chronic disease. Only half of the pupils think that their class peers should also know about the chronic disease of this individual pupil. The information sources of pupils concerning chronic disease are mainly TV, newspapers, adolescent periodicals, books, physicians and nurses, and lastly, the school. Conclusions are presented concerning health promotion activities in the school.