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ERIC Number: ED535431
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 114
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-1921-1
Examining Teacher Knowledge and Attitudes about School Issues for Children with Epilepsy: A Mixed-Method Investigation
Roux, Amy Loomis
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
Epilepsy is one of the most common diseases to affect the human nervous system, affecting approximately 0.5% of school-age children (Leppik, 2001; Kaleyias et al., 2005). Epilepsy has the potential to profoundly impact a child's adjustment to school. A large body of literature documents that children with epilepsy are at an increased risk for cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, academic underachievement, special education placement, and behavioral and emotional problems (Williams, 2004). These findings have been well-supported by numerous other studies. The importance of successful adjustment to school for children with chronic illnesses in general is also well supported by the literature, yet many children with chronic illnesses, including epilepsy, continue to experience difficulties with school adjustment, even in the absence of cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, or behavior problems (Madan-Swain, Katz, & LaGory, 2004). Among other factors, teacher knowledge and beliefs have been shown to be an important factor in determining teacher practices in the classroom. Thus, it follows that teachers' beliefs and knowledge about pediatric epilepsy could have a significant impact on their ability to positively influence the successful school adjustment in children with epilepsy. Overall, the few extant studies concerning teacher attitudes and knowledge about children with epilepsy suggest that while many teachers hold positive views about their students with epilepsy, some negative views persist. In addition, most teachers surveyed worldwide receive little to no formal training regarding epilepsy or the needs of student with epilepsy. Of the studies that have been conducted, few have assessed teachers' knowledge about how epilepsy affects student's academic achievement and classroom behavior, and rarely have teachers in the United States been studied. Additionally, while students with epilepsy are placed in special education more often than other students, special education teachers have not been studied as a group with respect to their knowledge and attitudes about students with epilepsy. Given the potential impact that teachers' beliefs and knowledge can have on the school adjustment of children with epilepsy, further research in this area is needed. Thus, the overall goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of teachers attitudes towards students with epilepsy, as well their knowledge of pediatric epilepsy and how it affects school performance. The present study focused on these questions but also explored how special educators compare to general educators when it comes to knowledge and attitudes about students with epilepsy. This study examined 316 teachers, who were asked to complete the Attitudes Towards Persons with Epilepsy Scale (ATPE), as well as a knowledge question addendum, which consisted of 7 open-ended questions. Results indicated that teacher's knowledge about epilepsy was predicted by their attitudes about epilepsy, as well as their own ratings of their knowledge about epilepsy. That is, more accurate knowledge was related to having more positive attitudes about epilepsy. Likewise, teachers' attitudes about epilepsy predicted their knowledge about epilepsy. Significant differences were not found between the attitudes and knowledge of special education versus general education teachers, based on the results of quantitative analysis. A descriptive analysis of teachers' responses, however, revealed some substantial differences in the knowledge held by special education teachers. This descriptive analysis also found significant gaps in teachers' knowledge related to seizure first aid, recognition of seizure symptoms, and effects of epilepsy on students' learning and behavior. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A