Supporting primary school children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A qualitative investigation of teaching staff experiences

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Background: Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) has a deleterious impact on numerous areas of children’s lives including school functioning. This study moves beyond eliciting child reports of school functioning to examine teaching staff’s experiences of supporting a child with JIA in school. Methods: Fifty-one UK based teaching staff with experience of supporting a child aged 7-11 years with JIA in school were recruited. Participants completed an online qualitative survey regarding their perceptions and experiences of supporting a child with JIA in school, with a sub-sample of 9 participants completing a subsequent telephone interview to explore responses in greater detail. Survey and interview data were analyzed using the conventional approach to qualitative content analysis. Results: Analyses generated 4 themes: (1) communicating, (2) flexing and adapting, (3) including and (4) learning and knowing. Findings highlighted the importance of clear communication between teaching staff and parents in addition to the need for teaching staff to provide individualized support for children with JIA which maximized their inclusion within the class. Conclusions: Teaching staff are proactive and creative in their efforts to support children with JIA. Additional resources to assist teaching staff to support children with JIA within school settings are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 23 Jun 2021

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