Academic achievement in children with new-onset seizures or asthma
Dr. Angela Marie McNelis, PhD, RN, PMHCNS, FAAN, ANEF, CNE
- Sigma Affiliation
- Phi Epsilon
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It has long been recognized that children with epilepsy have more learning difficulties in school than either children without seizures or children with other chronic disorders, such as asthma. Problems such as repeating a grade, receiving special services, and scoring poorly on standardized achievement tests are over-represented in children with epilepsy. Factors that lead to problems with academic underachievement are not well understood. Primary purposes of the study were to examine change in academic achievement over a 12-month period and to identify factors related to achievement in children with new-onset seizures. A secondary purpose was to examine differences in academic achievement between children with new-onset seizures and those with new-onset asthma. Baseline data were collected within 6 weeks of children (8 to 14 years) having a first seizure or being placed on daily asthma medications. Data collected during the baseline interview provided information from the year prior to the onset of the health condition. The 12-month data collection provided information for the period of baseline to one year after the condition onset. Results at baseline indicated that children with seizures had lower math scores than children with asthma. Moreover, in both samples girls had higher reading and total battery scores than boys. At 12 months, there were no differences in achievement between the seizure and asthma samples, nor were there differences between girls and boys. In general, over the 12 months there was a decline in academic achievement for all children, however, children with seizures did not show more of a decline than children with asthma. Across samples, girls declined in reading, language, math, and total battery, and boys declined in language and total battery. Factors associated with higher academic achievement at 12 months in children with seizures were higher socioeconomic status, better child adaptive functioning at school, and higher parent and teacher expectations for the child's academic achievement. Findings suggest that clinical assessments for children with seizures should include both psychosocial and illness components. Future prospective longitudinal research should be conducted to explore factors that lead to changes in academic achievement, including the role of gender and illness condition variables.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 9981074; ProQuest document ID: 304599372. The author still retains copyright.
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