Children's experiences of a participation approach to asthma education


Correspondence: Anne Trollvik, Associate Professor, Faculty of Public Health, Hedmark University College, 2418 Elverum, Norway. Telephone: +4792248907; +4762430244



Aim and objectives

To explore the participation and responses of children to an asthma education programme that was developed with the aid of children with asthma. In a larger perspective, the aim was to understand how educational approaches can be designed to help children learn to live and cope with asthma.


A literature search showed that programmes where children participate in the development of educational materials or programmes are lacking.


An exploratory descriptive design was chosen to get an in-depth understanding of the communication and collaboration between children and healthcare personnel.


Data were collected through observations, tape recordings of the conversations and notes of the interactions between the children and the healthcare personnel and analysed by content analysis.


The significance of the asthma education programme emerged in four themes: (i) children are learning from each other: in a positive learning climate, the children were able to express emotional themes that they may not have communicated before; (ii) children are learning through an interaction with the educational material: the children discussed stories and pictures in a fellow interplay: when one child expressed something, another child would recognise it and continue the story; (iii) children are learning from their interaction with healthcare personnel and vice versa: adjusting the vocabulary according to the children's experiences, they were met on their level of understanding; and (iv) children can express and discuss their understanding of asthma.


The unique aspect about this programme is that it emanates from children's perspectives. The children were actively involved and learnt from each other's shared knowledge and experiences, which is a good source of meaningful learning and empowering processes.

Relevance to clinical practice

Future educational approaches should use children's perspectives in a manner in which their questions, thoughts and daily challenges are emphasised.