Child: Care, Health and Development vol:38 issue:4 pages:490-496
Background A considerable number of children are confronted with a chronic or long-term illness in their lives. For these children, absenteeism is problematic, because education plays a major role in stimulating their cognitive development and in promoting a sense of normalcy and psychosocial well-being. In the literature, a great deal of attention has been paid to school reintegration programmes, which try to counter the barriers that these children may face when they return to school. Another way of surmounting these barriers is through the use of homebound instruction, in which the educational process for the child is continued during the period of absence. Despite the growing awareness of the necessity of education for these children, there is still little empirical research available addressing programmes that facilitate school re-entry.
Methods The major goal of this study is to investigate how parents and their children with a chronic or long-term illness perceive school re-entry after a period of homebound instruction, by using a descriptiveâexplorative, multi-informant research design. Participants were 60 children and their parents who filled in a self-constructed questionnaire.
Results Both parents and children perceived the period of homebound instruction, as well as their school re-entry, predominantly positively.Most of the children stated that they had been able to keep up with their subjects, and that they had good contact with their peers when they returned to
school. According to parents, homebound instruction made a positive contribution to the school re-entry of their child.
Conclusions The current study is one of the first to explore the school re-entry of children with a chronic or long-term illness. According to both parents and children, the school re-entry process passed off positively. However, more research is needed with regard to the quality of education and the programmes aimed at facilitating school re-entry.