School experiences after treatment for a brain tumour

P Upton, Christine Eiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background Children surviving a brain tumour face major difficulties including learning problems, lengthy school absences and psychosocial problems, all of which can impact on school functioning. Our aims were to provide information for parents and teachers about the skills and resources of this group. Specifically, we aimed to: describe the special educational needs of these children; document the impact of diagnosis and treatment on school attendance; compare parent and teacher assessments of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Methods Forty families agreed to participate (response rate = 58.82%). The children (19 males and 21 females) were aged from 6 to 16 years and had completed treatment at least 2 years previously (range = 2 years−12 years 5 months). Questionnaires (Strengths and Difficulties and school experience) were completed by mothers and teachers. Results Survivors were experiencing a wide range of physical, learning and interpersonal difficulties, according to parent and teacher reports. Almost half the children (n = 19) had ongoing neurological problems that were significant enough to require special help at school. Literacy and numeracy were the most common learning difficulties. Parents also rated brain tumour survivors as having more behavioural and emotional problems than would be expected from population norms. For example, survivors were rated as having more Total Difficulties (t = 6.86, P < 0.001), Emotional Symptoms (t = 8.82, P < 0.001), Hyperactivity (t = 2.25, P = 0.03), Peer Relationship Problems (t = 7.58, P < 0.001) and poorer Pro‐social Behaviour (t = −3.34, P = 0.002) than would be expected from population norms. These problems were also seen to be having a significant impact on the child's functioning (t = 3.95, P < 0.001). Teachers rated these problems as less serious than parents. Conclusion These children experience significant problems in school some time after diagnosis and when they are considered medically cured. Closer school–hospital liaison is essential to maximize integration and achievement in these children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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