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Georgia Southern: Parent Perspectives on Health and Functioning of School-Aged Adolescents with Disabilities.

Youth living with disabilities are at risk of experiencing poor health outcomes. Coordinated school health programs have an opportunity to help youth with disabilities and their families through health education, health services, and community engagement. The World Health Organization developed the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) as a framework to analyze factors related to health conditions. Georgia Southern researchers used the ICF to examine parental perceptions of health and function among students with disabilities living in rural and urban areas.

Georgia Southern surveyed parents (N = 71) using the parent-report versions of the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument and Child Health and Illness Profile. From this group, parents were asked to volunteer to participate in in-depth, individual interviews (N = 18). The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Researchers used the ICF linking rules to analyze and code the transcriptions. Emergent themes were assigned numerical ICF codes.

There were more similarities than differences among rural and urban families. Children living with disabilities face significant environmental barriers regardless of context.

Schools can facilitate education to improve the quality of life of parents and families of children with disabilities. School authorities should consider the many environmental barriers both urban and rural these families face in the community. The ICF can be used as a framework for program planning for community-based, health education for this population.

Parent Perspectives on Health and Functioning of School-Aged Adolescents with Disabilities” was recently published in the Journal of School Health.

All of the authors are affiliated with Georgia Southern University. Authors are Dr. Gavin Colquitt, Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, Dr. Ashley D. Walker, Associate Professor, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH), Dr. Moya L. Alfonso, Associate Professor, JPHCOPH, Ms. Maria Olivas and Mr. Bethrand Ugwu, graduate students at the JPHCOPH, and Dr. Theophile Dipita, Mathematical Statistician, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, an alumni of the JPHCOPH.

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Posted in Department News, JPHCOPH